More and more Filipinos, made financially and emotionally vulnerable by the pandemic, are buying insurance policies, with coverage for life, accident, and health as their top three priorities.
COVID-19 has made Filipinos aware that they are unprepared for the financial consequences of contracting the virus, such as hospitalization and related medical expenses, unemployment and the incapacity to work, or even death.
According to a 2021 Nielsen Consumer Study, the number one insurance product that the respondents purchased was life insurance (63%).
Tied for second place at 38% are accident and health insurance policies, and coverage for hospitalization and related medical expenses.
The study also revealed that these purchases were motivated by overwhelming feelings of insecurity and uncertainty caused by the lingering pandemic.
Succumbing to a severe medical condition, and not just COVID-19, is the primary concern of Filipinos today, according to the Nielsen report. They also have to manage higher levels of stress and bouts of depression, with their financial and mental health statuses closely connected.
Lower income earners have suffered unemployment and/or salary cuts, and are resorting to loans just to meet basic requirements like food. Meanwhile, those in the middle class, who still have sufficient income, are worried about the depletion of their resources and the loss of opportunities that can increase their revenues.
“The Philippines as a market has always been highly underinsured, especially when it comes to medical insurance. Almost 50% of the medical expenses in the Philippines is out-of-pocket (OOP), which means that Filipinos have no insurance to cater to that kind of medical expense. COVID has only further brought this particular concern top of mind for our customers, and that’s what we realized in the last two years,” AXA Philippines CEO Rahul Hora said.
The threat of medical impoverishment has increasingly compelled Filipinos to invest in insurance, or at least consider it.
“As an industry in general, we are going the extra mile to serve more Filipinos,” Hora said.
“Many Filipinos are beginning to understand that insurance can shield them from the devastating financial and emotional consequences of hospitalization, a breadwinner’s untimely demise, or a car crash on the road. We will be here with them during this crisis and other adversities that might come,” he added.
To make insurance more accessible and understandable, AXA, Hora said, offers “more favorably priced protection for more Filipinos, especially the large number of those who see the importance of insurance, but who still find most insurance products too expensive.”
AXA has designed insurance coverages for certain specific situations that the underinsured or uninsured Filipino might not even realize they need
“Because the elderly people are more likely to die of any disease, some of our health insurance solutions cover policyholders up to the age of 75, with one even extending coverage up to 100 for critical illnesses, although most health plans cap at age 65,” Hora said.
AXA’s personal accident insurance also provides monetary compensation for policyholders who lose their lives or suffer permanent bodily disablement because of an accident for a very affordable price.
“Nobody wants to think about an accident happening to them but they can occur, inside or outside your home,” explained Hora.
“If it causes the death of the breadwinner, an accident insurance policy can prevent destitution to their loved ones. Now if it causes the loss or major damage of a bodily part, such as limbs, hands, feet, and eyes, the policyholder can still be shielded from the financial blows that come with these kinds of injuries.”
Another form of protection that AXA offers is the home and condo insurance.
“We are shifting to a work from home or hybrid situation. In these times especially, if disaster strikes a home, it does not just mean loss of property, but possible lengthy loss of income as well. A home is often the culmination of lifelong hard work, which makes it for many irreplaceable, and insuring it essential,” Hora said.
The award-winning Emma by AXA PH app also enables policyholders to immediately access and make transactions on any of their insurance policies, such as make payments, make top-ups on investment funds, or simply keep a copy of their policy. The speed and convenience by which the app provides important information can make a difference in how the policyholder weathers a crisis such as an accident or a medical emergency.