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Insurance and 'revenge spending'

By Herminia S. Jacinto

ALMOST three years after the first lockdown was announced, we like to think that things are back to normal. Schools are now conducting face-to-face classes and may soon discontinue the hybrid and online methods. Business is back with a vengeance. A new phrase has been coined — revenge spending! Restaurants and vacation places are operating at full capacity and sometimes have to turn away patrons to keep to social distancing norms. Malls are fully decorated and will be open until 11 p.m. during the holiday season. It will be a Merry Christmas for everybody! Wearing of masks is now optional even inside buildings except for some, like seniors and those with comorbidities.

In addition to the pandemic, there were the typhoons and floods, the strong earthquake in the northern provinces that caused a lot of damage to property and even lives. We are now looking forward to a period of recovery and prosperity. Much is expected from the new government which seems to have the right intentions although plagued with the usual birth pains.

These events should have reminded us to always be prepared for such eventualities. The pandemic was totally unexpected, so we had to start from the ground in coping with it. It took some time to diagnose it correctly and develop the vaccines and correct medication to treat those afflicted with Covid. But typhoons and floods are regular events in our country. So by now, we should have installed the procedures needed in handling the aftermath of these events. Predictions for earthquakes have been regularly issued by experts and indeed, several have occurred already during the three-year period of the pandemic.

How do we protect ourselves from these catastrophic events in addition to the relief operations that normally happen after they occur? This is the time to review what protection we have for ourselves and for our investments in properties like our homes, businesses and motor vehicles. As we reinforce our residences to weather a strong typhoon, we should also update the insurance cover for them. Are you protected for the natural perils like typhoons, floods and earthquakes, in addition to fire and lightning risks? Have you reviewed the amount of insurance cover that you have as a result of improvements to the property and normal inflation? Your insurance company or insurance agent can do that easily for you. We have seen in the last typhoon "Karding" that water came so fast people had no time to bring their appliances and vehicles to higher and safer places. Cars were seen floating and filled with water for about a day, which was long enough to render them beyond repair. Did you include a cover for "acts of nature" for your beloved SUV? I have always told my friends that if one can afford to buy an expensive car, one can definitely afford to pay for the extended cover of insurance!

And what about you and your family? This is the time to review life insurance protection for everyone. Those connected with companies which provide medical and hospitalization benefits for their employees are lucky because they have that protection. But what about their families? Are they included in the benefit or should the employee purchase additional cover for them? The insurance industry, life and nonlife, has paid over P20 billion of Covid-related claims. The response from the industry was fast and efficient. Now is the time to talk to your favorite insurance agent or financial advisor.

The insurance industry was quick in making adjustments in its operations so they could provide the same efficient service to their clients. These adjustments have become part of their operating systems which allow them to provide cover or pay claims online. As operations return to normal and employees return to their places of work, client servicing has become even more efficient. Indeed, your insurance industry is back to normal! I just hope that they will think of medical insurance covers for senior citizens who are most vulnerable to illness and accidents.

This column is a gentle reminder to everyone to include the updating or purchase of insurance protection in your list of "revenge spending" this year and the years to come!


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