It sounds morbid, and that’s why most of us Pinoys have grown allergic to talks about death and life insurance products in general.
Culturally, we stay away from or avoid bringing up the topic of death or dying in conversations because doing so would somehow, in some magical way, tempt Fate to deal with us sooner. That the very act of thinking or talking about it or making arrangements for our own passing would make it more likely for us to die sooner.
This has led to the sad situation where we buy insurance for assets such as our houses, vehicles, and properties but not for our own life, actually our own biggest asset.
Benefits of life insurance
But really, life insurance is actually not about you. It’s about showing people that you love, and who love you back, how much you care for them after you’re gone.
It is, quite honestly, your last act of selflessness.
Life insurance can actually give you and your loved ones peace of mind because it can cover the following:
Pension for your spouse
Your spouse is the one person that will be hurt the most and will suffer financial hardship when you are gone. An insurance leaves behind an amount of money that can help him or her go on living until such time he or she can recover financially.
Education for your kids
Your kids will be at the mercy of family or strangers after you pass away. An insurance ensures that their education will continue despite your absence.
If you are the breadwinner and you have dependents such as spouse, children, parents and relatives, your passing can put them in dire financial situation. Life insurance can provide them cushion so they can live reasonably until such time they can recover money-wise.
End-of-life healthcare cost
We don’t really know the manner in which we pass on from this world. However, there’s a high chance that we’ll rack up hospital bills, medical expenses, and other related healthcare costs towards the end of our life particularly when our family will bring us to a medical facility in the hope of reviving us back.
There are companies now that offer pre-need plans for funeral because, as it turns out, it can be quiet expensive ranging from about P7,000 to millions. In case you still don’t have one, your life insurance can cover for any funeral costs so your family would have less worries.
Estate tax is what you will give to the government before ownership of your assets can be transferred to someone else. And it can be surprisingly expensive to the point that some families, who are unprepared, would rather sell off the assets just to pay tax. Life insurance can potentially cover whatever is due to the government so your loved ones don’t have to make difficult decisions.
Peace of mind
It lowers the risk of bankruptcy or selling your assets in order for your family to get hold of enough money to pay off all immediate and future needs after your death. It prevents them from making necessary but difficult — even unwise — decisions in time of need, grief, and loss.
There are types of insurance plans, such as the whole life policy, that can provide long-term savings. An example is AXA’s Assure plan. The variable universal life insurance (VUL) is another kind that has an investment component.
Key features of life insurance product
Life insurance products in the Philippines are covered by The Insurance Act. The Insurance Commission is the government agency that makes sure all these products in the country are fair and conform to our laws. There are many types of life insurance products out there, but all of them have the following key elements.
- Insurer is the insurance company in the Philippines that offers life insurance products.
- Insured is you, the person whose life the insurance covers.
- Policy is simply the contract between you and the insurer. It contains everything that concerns the product.
- Policyholder is the person who owns the policy.
- Beneficiariesare the people who will receive the money after you’ve passed on.
- Sum insured is the amount of money that the insurer promises to give to your beneficiaries.
- Premium is the amount of money you pay to the insurer so that your policy is enforced.
- Period of coverage describes how long the policy is in effect.
- Riders. Riders are supplementary contracts. They can be attached or removed from the main policy, adding more options on customizing your plan to better suit your particular needs.
The insurer is the insurance company. It writes the policy, receives the premium, keeps it enforced as long as the premium is paid, and pays the sum insured to the beneficiaries when conditions of release are met.
The insured is the person whose life is covered by insurance. Meaning, when the inevitable happens and all requirements of the policy are fulfilled, the insurer would then go ahead and pay your beneficiaries.
It’s not true that anyone can be insured. People of certain age (either too young or too old), profession, state of health, and other factors who may be denied from being insured.
The policy is simply the contract between you and the insurer.
It lists down all the things that concern your coverage such as your and insurer’s duties, the insured amount, payment of premium, steps in making a claim, and other important details.
The policyholder is the person who owns the policy. Unlike the insured, the policyholder must be at least 18 years old.
If you have insured your life, then you are both the policyholder and insured. However, there are also cases where the policyholder is not the same as the insured such as when a parent buys an insurance cover for a child or employers for their workers.
Beneficiaries are the people who will receive the money from the insurer. While generally anyone can be your beneficiary, the most common are your spouse, children, family members, descendants, heirs, guardians, employers and business partners.
You can also name companies, such as banks and lenders, and charities as your beneficiary. However, there are people who are not allowed by the law to receive insurance proceeds.
The sum insured is the amount of money that beneficiaries could receive when the insured passes away.
There are insurance covers, such as a term policy, where the amount of the sum insured stays the same throughout the length of the contract. On the other hand, a policy with investment can possibly have higher sum insured than what is originally written, depending on the returns of the investments.
But how much insurance do you need? You can talk to your advisor on the level of cover that you require.
Premium is the amount of money that you, as the policyholder, pay to the insurance company in exchange to be insured and for the policy to remain in effect.
Many providers offer flexible payment terms.
You can pay annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly. Making your payment is also made convenient. Depending on the insurer, you can pay through the banks and payment centers. You can even have your premiums paid automatically straight from your bank account.
There are many factors that affect the amount of premium. Usually, these are the same factors that affect your insurability that you will end up paying including age, health, profession, or even place where you live.
Types of life insurance
Life insurance is defined by the period of coverage. It is the length of time that your policy starts and ends. There are two basic types of coverage:
- Term insurance
- Permanent insurance
- Whole life insurance
- Variable universal life (VUL)
A term insurance will give you cover for a limited period of time, typically one year. An example is AXA Philippines’ FlexiProtect policy, which gives coverage for five years. After five years, you will need to renew the policy. Because it has a shorter period of coverage, it costs less than permanent insurance but, generally, it can’t be renewed when you reach the age of 70.
A permanent life insurance, meanwhile, covers you for your entire lifespan, typically until you are 100 years old. Because of its longer cover, it costs more than the term insurance with the benefit of being insured for your entire lifetime.
There are two types of permanent life insurance: whole life policy and variable universal life. They both give cover for one’s lifetime, but the difference is their savings component.
A whole life policy such as AXA Philippines’ Assure plan has guaranteed cash value. A variable universal life or VUL has a living benefit called account value and it is put into investment funds. The amount of the account value varies and is not guaranteed.
Riders are contracts that supplement the main life insurance policy. Examples are riders for critical conditions, term insurance, accidental death or dismemberment, income protection, and waiver of premium.
Top 10 life insurance companies in the Philippines
What are the top insurance companies in the Philippines according to the latest reports by the Insurance Commission? We’re going to present the updated ranking in the insurance industry based from the statistics released by the Insurance Commission in May, 2019.
Companies are ranked according to premium income, asset, net income, paid-up capital, and net worth.
Here is the overall top insurance companies in the Philippines consolidated based from all categories of premium income, assets, net income, paid-up capital, and net worth.
|Philippine American Life & Gen. Ins. Co. (life unit)||1|
|Philippine AXA Life Insurance. Corp.||2|
|Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.||3|
|Manufacturers Life Ins. Co. (Phils.), Inc., The||4|
|BPI Philam Life Assurance Corp., Inc.||5|
|BDO Life Assce. Co., Inc. (Generali Pilipinas Life)||6|
|Pru Life Insurance Corp. of U.K.||7|
|The Insular Life Assurance Co Ltd||7|
|United Coconut Planters Life Assce. Corp.||9|
|SunLife Grepa Financial, Inc.||10|
So what we did was to come up with the consolidated ranking. It’s the first time we believe that this is done this way. And we are the first one to create this comparison among life insurance companies that is sensible and fair.
Each company was first lined up from highest to lowest separately according to the five factors. Then, we summed up all the numbers of their individual ranking. Lastly, we arranged the sum from smallest to the largest. The result is a more complete and better comparison as shown below.
1. Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company
Overall, it’s the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (life unit) or Philam Life that is the number 1 insurance company in the country as it is at least on the top 5 in each category. It is ranked #1 in assets, net income, and net worth. It also number 3 in premium income and number 5 in paid-up capital.
A local subsidiary of American Insurance Association, Philam Life was established in 1947. For over seven decades, it has expanded and now included subsidiaries such as the Philam Asset Management, Inc. (PAMI) and the BPI-Philam Life Assurance Corporation, a bancassurance outfit.
2. Philippine AXA Life Insurance
Established in 1999, Philippine AXA Life Insurance overtakes Sun Life of Canada by coming in at second place. AXA’s rank speaks volumes on the company’s fast growth compared to other companies that had been operating for many years. According to Investopedia, it is the number 1 insurance company in the world. In the country, it partners with Metrobank in serving its customers.
Philippine AXA is currently:
- Top #2 on premium income
- Top #3 on net income
- Top #4 on assets
- Top #5 on net worth
- Top #7 on paid capital
3. Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc.
Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc. comes in third in the ranking of top insurance companies in the Philippines. It is number 1 in premium income, number 2 in assets, number 2 in net income, number 3 in net worth, and number 16 in paid-up capital.
The company was established in the country through the British company H.J. Andrews and Co. After halting its business in World War II, it resumed operation as soon as the war concluded. It offers a range of financial products including but not limited to insurance and mutual funds.
4. Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Philippines), Inc.
Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Philippines), Inc. or Manulife comes in fourth on the list. For the latest yearly ranking, it is number 4 in net income, number 4 in net worth, number 6 in assets, number 9 in paid-up capital and number 10 in premium income.
The company sold its first policy in 1901 and was licensed to engage in the insurance business in the Philippines in 1907. It has recently formed a partnership with China Banking Corporation, creating the subsidiary and bancassurance firm Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Corporation.
5. BPI Philam Life Assurance Corporation Inc.
The BPI Philam Life Assurance Corporation Inc. comes next in the ranking of top life insurance companies in the Philippines. It is currently ranked number 5 in assets and premium income, number 6 in net income, number 8 in net worth, and number 10 in paid-up capital. The company is a partnership between the Bank of the Philippine Islands and the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company.
6. BDO Life Assurance Company, Inc (Generali Pilipinas Life)
BDO Life Assurance Company is in the 6th place. It is number 4 in paid-up capital, number 7 in net worth, number 8 in premium income, number 9 in assets, and number 10 in net income. As a subsidiary of the BDO Unibank, it offers bancassurance solutions to its individual and corporate clientele.
7. Pru Life Insurance Corporation of U.K.
Coming in at number 7, Pru Life Insurance Corporation of U.K. is currently number 4 in premium income, number 7 in assets, number 7 in net income, number 9 in net worth, and number 4 in paid-up capital.
Established in 1996, the company was the first in the industry approved by the Insurance Commission to engage in dollar-denominated policies. In 2001, it acquired AllState Life Philippines and ING Life Philippines in 2002.
8. Insular Life Assurance Corporation
The Insular Life Assurance Company is ranked number 8 in the consolidated list across categories. It is number number 2 in net worth, number 3 in assets, number 5 in net income, number 7 in premium income, and number 30 in paid-up capital.
Established in 1910, the company has over a century-worth of history engaging in the insurance industry in the country. It was also considered at that time as the first Filipino life insurance company. In 1943, it acquired Filipinas Life Assurance Company and in 1955, its subsidiary in Hawaii was sold to the American General Insurance Group of Texas.
9. United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corporation
The United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corporation or COCOLIFE is the top 9 in the Philippine ranking of life insurance companies. It places number 5 in net worth, number 8 in net income, number 11 in premium income, number 12 in assets, and number 14 in paid-up capital.
Established about four decades ago, its subsidiaries include Cocolife Asset Management, Direct Link Car Insurance, Ultra Security Services Inc., and UCPB General Insurance Company. The company is known to the biggest Filipino-owned stock insurance company and the first Filipino insurance company to be ISO-certified.
10. Sun Life Grepa Financial, Inc.
Placing at number 10 is Sun Life Grepa Financial, Inc. According to the latest reports, the company is number 8 in assets, number 10 in net worth, number 12 in net income, number 13 in premium income, and number 19 in paid-up capital.
Sun Life Grepa Financial, Inc. is the result of the business partnership between the Yuchengco Group of Companies and Sun Life Financial Philippines. It was also known previously as Grepa Financial. Its subsidiaries include Grepa Realty Holdings Corporation, Grepa Asset Management Corporation, and Great Life Financial Assurance.
The following shows complete reports for year 2018 from the Insurance Commission.
Philippines’ top life insurance companies based on assets
Assets are all of the things that a company owns, benefits from or has use of in generating income. The top companies in terms of assets are Philam Life, Sun Life, Insular Life, Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corporation, and BPI Philam Life. Here is the top 10 based on asset.
|Philippine American Life & Gen. Ins. Co||₱246.75 billion|
|Sun Life of Canada||₱222.23 billion|
|Insular Life Assce Co Ltd, The||₱130.41 billion|
|Philippine AXA Life Insurance. Corp||₱115.12 billion|
|BPI Philam Life Assurance Corp Inc.||₱101.37 billion|
|Manufacturers Life Ins. Co.||₱95.85 billion|
|Pru Life Insurance Corp. of U.K.||₱94.83 billion|
|SunLife Grepa Financial Inc.||₱44.56 billion|
|BDO Life Assurance Corporation, Inc./Generali||₱41.29 billion|
|Manulife Chinabank Life Assurance Corporation||₱34.64 billion|
Here is the complete report from the Insurance Commission.
Philippines’ top life insurance companies based on premium income
Now, with individual ranking. Premium income means the total amount of collections that were paid for all policies by the policyholders. The table below shows the total of both traditional and variable universal life (VUL) insurance policies, whether single-pay or regular-pay contracts. Here are the top 10 companies in terms of premium income.
|Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.||₱37.39 billion|
|Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp||₱29.44 billion|
|Philippine American Life & Gen. Ins. Co.||₱22.36 billion|
|Pru Life Insurance Corp. of U.K.||₱22.03 billion|
|BPI Philam Life Assurance Corp. Inc.||₱18.29 billion|
|Manufacturers Life Ins. Co. (Phils), Inc., The||₱16.38 billion|
|Insular Life Assce. Co. Inc., The||₱13.95 billion|
|BDO Life Assurance Corporation/Generali||₱11.86 billion|
|Allianz PNB Life Insurance Inc||₱8.98 billion|
|Manulife Chinabank Life Assurance Corporation||₱8.59 billion|
Below is the latest report from the Insurance Commission.
Philippines’ top insurance companies based on net income
Below is the ranking life insurance companies according to net income which is total earnings of the company, after deducting all expenses and taxes.
|Philippine American Life & Gen. Ins. Co.||₱9.79 billion|
|Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.||₱6.76 billion|
|Philippine AXA Life Insurance. Corp.||₱2.74 billion|
|Manufacturers Life Ins. Co. (Phils), Inc., The||₱2.59 billion|
|Insular Life Assce. Co., Ltd., The||₱2.30 billion|
|BPI Philam Life Assurance Crop., Inc.||₱1.70 billion|
|Pru Life Insurance Crop. of U.K.||₱840 million|
|United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corporation||₱626 million|
|Philam Equitable Life Assurance Co., Inc.||₱528 million|
|BDO Life Assurance Co., Inc.||₱473 million|
You can check the report below.
Philippines’ top insurance companies based on paid-up capital
Paid-up capital represents the actual contribution of all shareholders in the company had given in exchange for stocks. And the top 7 companies are:
|FWD Life Insurance Corp.||₱2.30 billion|
|Generali Life Assurance Phils., Inc.||₱2.22 billion|
|East West Ageas Life Ins. Corp.||₱1.79 billion|
|BDO Life Assce. Co., Inc.||₱1.59 billion|
|Philippine American Life & Gen. Ins. Co.||₱1.39 billion|
|Cooperative Insurance System of the Phils.||₱1.26 billion|
|Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp.||₱1.00 billion|
|CLIMBS Life & General Insurance Coop. (life)||₱983 million|
|Manufacturers Life Insurance Corporation, Inc.||₱930 million|
|BPI Philam Life Assurance Corporation, Inc.||₱749 million|
Philippines’ top insurance companies based on net worth
Net worth means the value of all the assets of the company after all liabilities have been deducted. The top 7 companies on this category are:
|Philippine American Life & Gen. Ins. Co.||₱78.87 billion|
|Insular Life Assce. Co., Ltd., The||₱37.02 billion|
|Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc.||₱25.40 billion|
|Manufacturers Life Ins. Co. (Phils), Inc., The||₱14.43 billion|
|United Coconut Planters Life Assce. Corp.||₱10.99 billion|
|Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp.||₱8.55 billion|
|BDO Life Assce. Co., Inc. (Generali Pilipinas Life)||₱7.70 billion|
|BPI Philam Life Assurance Corporation, Inc.||₱6.28 billion|
|Pru Life Insurance Corporation of U.K.||₱3.25 billion|
|SunLife Grepa Financial Inc.||₱3 billion|
What is the process of opening a life insurance policy?
Insurers do not directly sell products to you. Instead, they hire insurance agents or financial advisors. These are people who are licensed by the Insurance Commission and then authorized by insurers to reach out to you to discuss your insurance needs.
Here are the steps in opening a life insurance policy in the Philippines:
Talk to a financial advisor. Look for someone who is licensed with Insurance Commission and a good-standing member of a reputable insurance company. Check his or her social media accounts or website so you can gauge his or her competence. You can also attend a financial seminar so you can meet an advisor you can trust.
Needs analysis. The talk is a chance for you to describe your current financial situation and your priorities. You can be familiar with the products that can address your needs.
Application. This is the part where you have determined the right life insurance product. Usually, insurers require identification cards and payment of the first premium.
Underwriting. Underwriting is the step where the insurer checks your fitness to be insured. There might be additional requirements such as a medical examination, documents from physicians if you have pre-existing health conditions, and others.
Policy issuance. When all goes well, the policy can be issued. You should receive a written contract delivered to your address.