While insurance penetration (premiums as a percentage of GDP) fell by 5.4% in Asia (excluding Japan), the Philippines along with Vietnam, Laos, Sri Lanka, and India registered double-digit growths. This is according to the Allianz Global Insurance Report prepared by Allianz Research.
Allianz Research is projecting a 9.4% growth per annum over the next decade in Asia, excluding Japan. Around 60% additional premiums are expected to be generated in the region. In the Philippines, a market growth of 12.3% is foreseen (13.5 in life and 8.3 in p&c).
“Allianz’ strong performance in the Philippines reflects the country’s economic growth and strong macroeconomic fundamentals, and we are looking to leverage on the continuous expansion of economic activity in the country,” said Alexander Grenz, newly appointed president and chief executive officer of Allianz PNB Life.
Premiums in the Philippines grew by 17.7% in 2018, way above the regional average. In fact, 2018 marked the best year since 2013. Life insurance, which accounts for more than 70% of the premium pool (without health), had a growth rate of 20.4%. It grew almost twice as fast as property-casualty (+11.1%).
For 2019, Allianz Research foresees a slowdown to around 10% premium growth, still well above regional or global averages. It noted that the Philippines’ insurance market has still plenty of room to grow: Premiums per capita stood at Php3,000.00 in 2018 (at par with neighboring Indonesia), penetration at 1.9%; it is, for example, already 3.7% in China. Insurance premiums in property-casualty and life are expected to grow by 14% this year and 12.3% over the next decade.
Allianz PNB Life is still the fastest-growing life insurance company in the Philippines, according to the report of the Insurance Commission. Its premium income grew by 69% in 2018 and its annualized premium income for 2018 stood at a historic high.
Grenz, who previously served as the chief operating officer of Allianz PNB Life, said that as today’s business environment goes through rapid changes, the company is hands-on to build a more diverse business model.
“We all know how fast-paced the insurance industry is; the pressure and expectations are high from all sides “ our customers, our investors, our regulators, and among ourselves. Late last year, for instance, we have seen changes in reserve requirements for banks to address the spike in inflation. This resulted in liquidity shortage in the Bancassurance industry. Even though we are still performing better compared to our competitors, we definitely need to catch up in the second half of the year,” Grenz said.
Grenz has more than 15 years of experience in global Insurance and Asset Management. He has a multinational track record in the areas of Finance, Insurance and Asset Management and has held various executive positions for Allianz in different countries.
As he heads Allianz PNB Life, Grenz said he plans to focus on simplifying insurance for the customers. “Simplification of insurance will be our priority. We will simplify the language of insurance to make it understandable to more customers and make it easy to access with the superior technology Allianz can provide,” he explained.
Grenz is, likewise, moving to tap Allianz’s global investment fund managers from PIMCO and Allianz Global Investments (AGI) to provide superior technical solutions and investment strategies.
“Our goal is to have a well-defined output that should create value for our customers. It’s the customers’ perception, which counts and defines our success. With PIMCO and AGI, customers are assured they have access to superior product solutions and technical advise,” he said.
Furthermore, Grenz is steering the company toward a digital future. Recently, the company opened its Allianz Digital Studio, which will pioneer the next-generation of innovation and solutions and make the delivery of insurance products and services faster and more efficient for both its internal and external customers.
“Our digital and customer-centric initiatives in the pipeline are geared toward enhancing the Allianz customer experience and differentiate us in the market,” he concluded.