By Michael F. Rellosa
I AND many others have written about how insurance is a tool for sustainability and survival, as it allows one to pick up the pieces and carry on after a disaster or some other insured event. What I want to bring to the fore is what the government can do to make it easier for the insured to afford and avail themselves of insurance.
In a recent article in another newspaper, the former SSS president and insurance commissioner lawyer Manny Dooc underscored the need for the country to rationalize its taxes especially for micro-insurance. This is in line with the government's aim to protect the poor and vulnerable groups. The current tax structure however puts a damper on this, as it effectively makes even micro-insurance unaffordable for those who really need it. This move also supports what the insurance industry has been trying to communicate for the past five administrations either through position papers and during public hearings at both houses of Congress — the fact that insurance in the Philippines for all classes of insurance, micro and traditional, are one of the highest in the world and is a major barrier for its development as a tool for sustainability and survival.
With the rationalization of these taxes, Filipinos will be better equipped to face the future fraught with events that are exacerbated by climate change. Mind you, the Philippines is now considered the most vulnerable to catastrophic events given its location within the Pacific Ring of Fire, and the bowling alley of typhoons and other weather disturbances. The industry welcomes Dooc's initiative and will collaborate with him to help make this a reality.
On a related note, the industry and the country celebrate Insurance Consciousness Week from Sunday, Oct. 16, to Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, with the theme "Insurance: Navigating the Road to the New Normal." At the start, the industry threw its support to the Philippine Crusade for the Defense of Civilization as it spearheaded a Rosary in the Public Square through its Philippines Needs Fatima Campaign at a rosary rally held yesterday at the Washington Sycip Park in Makati. This was followed by the actual launch at a Mass and gathering of industry executives to be held at the Insurance Institute for Asia and the Pacific, also in Makati. Coinciding with the ICW, is the Philippine Fintech Festival (Oct. 17-21, 2022) with which both the Life and General Insurance Associations (PLIA and PIRA) are heavily involved. Recognizing the need to tech up the industry, both associations together with Digital Pilipinas, have agreed to explore the setting up of an Insuretech Association to hasten the journey.
Another noteworthy activity, this time in collaboration with Arise Philippines, is a webinar titled "The Importance of Insurance vis-à-vis Climate Change." This webinar scheduled for October 20 at 2 p.m. is meant for MSMEs to allow them to understand how insurance can assist them post-calamity.
Another webinar organized by the PIC on "Insurance as a Response to Cybersecurity" is slated for Friday, October 21.
Other events are being hatched by the organizers and we invite you to check out the web and Facebook pages of the Philippine Insurer's Club (PIC); the Insurance Institute for Asia and the Pacific (IIAP) and the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association (PIRA) for more details and the actual registration links. This year's ICW celebrations are a collaboration between the three main associations of the industry as well as its partners.