Philam Life CEO on narrowing the protection gap in the Philippines

| 05 Jul 2019

Interview with Mr Kelvin Ang, CEO, Philam Life

With 21 years of service in AIA, Mr Kelvin Ang has held various leadership roles, including Chief Agency Officer of China, where he played a key role in the success of AIA China's agency transformation, and Regional Chief Agency Officer, with AIA Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam in his portfolio, with the mission to future proof the business through digitalisation and new market expansion. He assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer at Philam Life, AIA's business unit in the Philippines, effective 1 March 2019.

Asia Advisers Network Editor Benjamin Ang sat down for a chat with Kelvin in Manila to get his views on the insurance market in the Philippines, and his priorities in the new role.

According to Kelvin, the insurance penetration rate in the Philippines is at 1.7% based on data from the Insurance Commission, and protection gap is about US$1.5 trillion.

With the large protection gap, he is excited to be in the market as he sees a great opportunity and duty for the insurance industry to step up to ensure Filipinos have sufficient protection.

He sees three ways to go about bridging the gap:

  • Product design

He recommends that insurers should have products that everyone can afford, not just the wealthy. By improving product features, policyholders would have better benefits that would appeal to more people.

He noticed that the current market has a lot of investment and savings policies, so there is a strong need to push protection products to ensure Filipinos are covered holistically.

  • Service

By using technology and digitalisation to make processes quicker and easier for everyone, many transactional and administrative tasks could become self-service and automated.

This, in turn, would free up agents’ time, allowing them to focus on better serving their customers’ needs.

  • Channel of Distribution

Mr Ang explains that there is no one specific perfect form of distribution. “One form may suit this customer, but it may not suit another customer,” he said.

Whether online or through agents, he said, “It’s about what fits the customer’s needs better, and how that distribution can reach the customer more effectively.”

Moving ahead in his new role

Taking over the baton from Mr Ariel Cantos, who announced his retirement after 35 years of dedicated service and loyalty to the company, Kelvin said he will continue to build on the past efforts of all his predecessors.

“Philam Life has been in the Philippines for 72 years, we have great branding and great legacy. The previous leadership has brought the company to where it is today. My job is to take it forward,” he said.

Philam Life will continue to emphasise closing the protection gap, investing in people and fulfilling its brand promise of helping people live healthier, longer and better lives. 

He ends the interview with his idea of a professional adviser: One who is well trained, knowledgeable, embraces digitalisation and is productive by serving customers full time.

Digitalisation and technology do not replace the human touch. Digitalisation and technology are tools to complement the adviser’s duties to better serve the community.

Asia Advisers Network (“AAN”) was in Philippines, Manila, where Benjamin spoke at the annual congress of PIFAAP.

Recommended for you:

Life insurance: Prepared for a digital future

AAG: Making history with Singapore's first "100 IDA" team

Assets Prestige Alliance Co-Founder Jaden Wang shares the keys to its phenomenal growth

Committed to raising professional advisory standards in the industry - James Yang, Asia's Top 5 Insurance Agent of the Year

Manulife Vietnam CEO: All signs point to bright prospects in the insurance industry

To keep up with all the latest happenings at Asia Advisers Network, follow us on Facebook / LinkedIn.