Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company is opening a twin-tower center in Cebu City next week to mark the company’s 70th anniversary in the country.
Philam Life chief executive Ariel Cantos said the 16-story center would serve as the company’s headquarters in the Visayas. It would also be rented out to other tenants. The company earlier budgeted over P2 billion to build the facility, with Megawide Construction Corp. as the main contractor.
Cantos said Philam Life was expanding its reach in the country, by strengthening its distribution network and introducing new products such as Vitality, a science-based wellness program.
“As we look forward to the next 70 years, we will leverage on our financial strength, constantly creating and innovating new relevant propositions to meet our customers’ needs,” said Cantos.
He said the company aimed to help fill the large insurance gap in the country, where insurance premium accounted for a measly 1.75 percent of the gross domestic product. “We are trying to fill the gap that is very real in the Philippine context,” Cantos said in a news briefing in Makati City.
Cantos said Philam Life was also looking at investing in infrastructure projects. “We are interested in infrastructure projects. We are just waiting for government guidelines,” he said.
Cantos said Philam Life had invested in infrastructure projects in the past such as Coastal Road in Parañaque City and helped finance the power projects of AC Energy Holdings Inc. of the Ayala Group.
He said Philam Life regained its position as the country’s largest life insurance company, with total assets of P256 billion, capital base of P1.39 billion, P38.5 billion in premium and P52 billion in assets under management in 2016. It had 8,000 agents, 700,000 individual policyholders and over 2.5 million insured group members.
Philam Life is a member of AIA Group Limited, the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. AIA Group Limited president and chief executive Ng Keng Hooi and regional chief executive Jacky Chan, who are based in Hong Kong, visited Manila to attend Philam Life’s 70th anniversary celebration Tuesday.
“We have done very well since the IPO [initial public offering]. Our new business profit grew on a compounded basis at 28 percent since IPO in 2010. That’s an unprecedented performance in the whole industry when you look at Asia,” Hooi said.
AIA is now an independent Asian company, with market leading positions in 18 markets.
“We are successful in these 18 markets. We have a very strong distribution platform. We are the biggest in terms of agency [network], the biggest and strongest in Asia. We are a strong brand in Asia. We have market leading products which are attractive to customers. The most important thing is having good people in the company,” said Hooi.
“The market is exciting. The Asian market continues to grow,” he said.
“We are very Asian. Our decision making is a lot faster. The first thing we did after the IPO was change the business model. We want to put the customer at the center of what we are doing. We emphasize a lot on people and people development,” said Hooi.
Chan said the Philippines is a key market for AIA. “It is the fourth oldest market, after China, Hong Kong and Singapore,” he said.