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Welcoming the year 2024

By Herminia S. Jacinto

HAPPY New Year! It is my distinct pleasure to be on this page on the first day of the year! I hope everyone had a great but safe celebration with friends and family. There is much anticipation for the various countdowns that were announced by the malls and some big establishments. In Makati, the Ayala Group has revived the big countdowns that were usually held at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue many years ago. It promises to be a happy and rousing event, which I hope we will all enjoy.

It is also at this time of the year, when we are crossing our fingers that we can finally say goodbye to the fires, typhoons, floods, earthquakes that happened in 2023 with some amazing frequency. The weather forecast for the next few days shows that no weather disturbance is expected within our area of responsibility. But fires and accidents cannot be predicted. These are the acts of man rather than acts of God. The Philippine National Police and local government units have issued directives to prohibit firecrackers in residential areas precisely to avoid accidents caused by explosions causing injury to property and persons. Statistics have shown that big fires have occurred during the long holidays, and there were some big typhoons and flooding that happened in the last few days of the year.

It is with this mindset that we again remind everyone to be protected by insurance covers on themselves, their property, vehicles and other assets and valuables. This is the time of the year to review one's coverage and check if these are still in force. Leave their residences for several days to spend vacations elsewhere with no one who can check a loose connection that may spark and cause fire. Vehicles are very mobile nowadays, as families take advantage of the long holidays to visit family and friends. Several accidents have already been recorded in the last week, mostly on the highways.

The insurance industry wants to provide protection to all, including farmers, fishermen and other small business owners through the insurance cover called microinsurance. These are sold by microlenders like banks, pawnshops, retail stores and cooperatives. The premium is limited to 7 percent of the minimum wage, and the maximum coverage can only amount to 500 times the current daily wage. Policy wordings are simple and easy to understand. The more popular products are life, accident, crop and property insurance. The coverages are designed for the minimum wage income wage earners, low-income households and informal workers like sidewalk vendors, tricycle drivers. This should destroy the myth that insurance is only for big business and for rich people.

There is insurance for everybody and their properties, businesses and other activities. There are thousands of insurance agents, advisors, intermediaries who can very well explain the coverages and benefits of insurance. They are professionally trained and have taken government examinations, just like other professions. Insurance companies, both life and nonlife companies have performed very well during the last few years, including the "pandemic" years and are financially strong to respond to the losses that may happen no matter if unexpected like natural typhoons and earthquakes. So there should be no fear at all on the part of the insuring public that their claims will not be paid. We should trust our regulators, the Insurance Commission, who is doing an efficient job of monitoring the performance of the insurance industry. Let us update our insurance coverages, be they for life or property.

Let us welcome 2024 with renewed trust and confidence in ourselves and in the insurance industry!


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