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The business of protection

By Herminia S. Jacinto

SUDDENLY it is 2021! What happened to 2020? Did it pass swiftly because we enjoyed the year or because we just wanted it to be over? There was such anticipation for the coming of 2021 and the positive developments that it will bring. I cannot blame us — we need some good news and we wanted to be part of making that good news!

The numbers for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have become better and better in the last few months. Deaths resulting from this much dreaded disease were not as many as in the first few months that it affected our population. The good news is that our medical experts have found the effective way of treating it but not before many trials and a lot of disappointments. We are praying that this will continue until we finally find the light at the end of the tunnel.

The economy is gradually recovering from the slump that was felt during the series of lockdowns which affected production of goods, mobility of people, especially workers, and procurement of food and others staples. The government, minus the many lapses we all know by now, and the private sector were one in imposing and following the much needed protocols, which is slowly bringing us back to normal.

There are so many lessons learned and still being learned during this one-year period. The year 2020 was a blockbuster; a record year for these events — the Taal Volcano eruption, the pandemic and the several typhoons and flooding which happened in the last quarter of the year. Early December last year, we thought that there would be no Christmas!

We survived the “annus horribilis”! Very difficult and with much prayer and effort. We cannot even claim success yet. We are not back to normal, not even the new normal! But we are getting there — slowly but surely!

How did we do it? What are we doing to achieve this modicum of success that we are currently enjoying? Mainly because we followed the rules on how to protect ourselves and our properties and belongings. The operative word therefore is protection. It has become a mantra for survival but I have a different take on the word. Let us make it our business — the business of taking care of ourselves, our family and friends and our properties too!

Protection is following the protocols. Wearing the masks and the face shields and observing strictly the physical distancing guidelines. Protection is not going to the Quiapo Church no matter how fervent is our devotion to the Mahal na Poon! He is omnipresent and can hear our prayers and petitions wherever we are! Protection is safeguarding our health and strengthening our immune systems to fight Mr. Covid! Protection is taking care of oneself by avoiding partying with strangers even if they were introduced by well-meaning “friends.” My dear father used to tell me: “Do not court danger; you might marry it.”

Protection is getting the much awaited vaccine as soon as possible to create the “herd immunity” that will protect the rest of the population of our country. Protection is covering ourselves and our properties with insurance which will bring us back to where we were before the happening of the event insured against. The Philippine insurance industry is more than ready to provide the right protection that we need. Insurance policies are being reviewed with the intention of covering events like the pandemic which heretofore was not part of the risks covered. Let us pray that they find the right formula and support for this change in policy conditions. The insurance companies have made a lot of changes to improve their service to the people. Protection is seeking the advice of professionals like insurance agents, brokers and financial advisors on the kind of coverages needed by your family. Protection is trusting our insurance industry.

Wishing our readers a kinder and better year 2021. And may I repeat. Let us make protection our personal and business mantra for the year.

The author is president of the Insurance Institute for Asia and the Pacific.


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