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Working Together for a Better Normal - 2021 Chairman's Report

By Mr. ALLAN R. SANTOS Chairman, Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association

Good afternoon dear PIRA members. It is my honor to present to you our Association's accomplishments for 2021.


A year and nine months in this COVID-19 pandemic, I am happy to note that PIRA has adjusted well to the new ways of doing business. Zoom and other video conferencing applications are already part of our daily routine.


But I have to say that every day of doing these virtual meetings only makes me yearn more for the moment when we can finally hold our activities again in person.


This is the second time I am making an online Chairman's Report, and I hope that our next General Assembly would finally be face-to-face.


A BUSY AND PRODUCTIVE 2021


Here is a rundown of our key activities and achievements in 2021:


We began the year by collaborating with the Microinsurance Intermediaries and Practitioners Association for their Insurtech Summit in January with almost 300 participants.


In February, we had a kickoff activity for PIRA's partnership with the Earth Security Group. PIRA over the past two years has been working with the Earth Security Group to develop insurance mechanisms to protect Natural Assets such as Coastal Ecosystems, which serve as natural protection against climate risks. PIRA’s support and partnership with the Earth Security Group has collectively moved insurance industry stakeholders to be cognizant of this initiative to incubate novel solutions to address prevalent risks.


In March, PIRA partnered with BusinessWorld for an Online Forum about Insurtech. This event focused on leveraging digitalization and technology to allow insurers to better reach and help individuals and families protect themselves and their assets.


In the same month, we saw several online events where our Executive Director, Mitch Rellosa, was invited to speak. Among these events was the forum on Disaster Risk Reduction organized by the German Agency for International Cooperation or GIZ. The forum sought to highlight the economic benefits of disaster risk reduction measures and explored how insurers could integrate such measures into the pricing of insurance premiums.


The month of April saw another major online activity for PIRA related to Disaster Risk Reduction, and this time it was a virtual presentation of ARISE – a private sector alliance led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, where PIRA is a member and our Mr. Rellosa is the Philippines chairperson.


It was also in April when our Association held the “de-tariffication” forums followed by a referendum, which led to a position paper proposing freer rating regimes for the Fire, Motor and Surety lines. Our position paper is now under consideration by the Insurance Commission (IC).


In May, upon the behest of the IC, we created the Philippine Catastrophe Insurance Facility (PCIF) Technical Working Group composed of representatives from all PIRA member companies. Since then, the technical working group, which is chaired by Deputy Commissioner Erickson Balmes and joined by technical experts from the World Bank, GIZ and global reinsurance brokers, has been meeting at least twice a month to craft the details of the PCIF, which will then be brought to the PIRA general membership for acceptance next year.


April and May were also busy months with the preparation for the International Financial Reporting Standards 17 or IFRS17. In partnership with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), we conducted an IFRS17 Impact Assessment Study to understand the effects of this new global accounting standard and how our members can deal with them. We had a series of learning sessions and multi-level consultation meetings with our member companies through the months of June, July, and August. By September, we were able to submit to the IC our position paper on the issues and concerns about the implementation of IFRS17 and our recommendations for a smooth and practical transition.


Another major project that we have embarked on this year was the move to update and amend the Insurance Code. We have tapped Atty. Denis Cabucos, formerly from the IC, for this. I am also happy to note that there is now the Senate Bill 2411 authored by Senator Lito Lapid, which among others seeks to keep our minimum net worth requirement at 900 million pesos, as well as allow insurance companies to sell HMO-like medical insurance products. The Bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies in September this year. Your Association is now preparing a position paper to support and rationalize the Bill.


In August, PIRA coordinated and met with the Land Transportation Office headed by Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante about the issues and complaints of PIRA members on the alleged non-acceptance of authenticated CTPL Certificates of Cover upon registration of the vehicle at certain LTO branches. This is a work-in-progress and would require further followups to eventually come up with a system that would ensure acceptance of all authenticated COCs in all LTO branches.


Other milestones we had this year include our collaborative work with the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) for the Spectral Acceleration Maps Atlas for possible use by the Department of Public Works and Highways, local building officials, the academe, building developers, and the insurance industry.


This year we also participated in the Manila Times Forum 2021 that focused on the Insurance Industry Outlook for this year and beyond.


In September and October, we had several activities with the ASEAN Insurance Council meetings which were again held online and hosted by Singapore.


Among these activities was the World Economic Forum during the online ASEAN Insurance Summit which our Executive Director Mitch Rellosa moderated.


October saw the online Insurance Consciousness Week celebration. Part of this was the video contest where insurance industry employees were asked to submit videos where they talked about the value of insurance to their lives.


And finally in November, PIRA participated in the annual Financial Education Expo of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which was held online.


As you can see, 2021 has been a truly productive year for PIRA. And this would not have been possible without your utmost support.


OPTIMISM FOR 2022


Two weeks from now we will be closing 2021 and welcoming 2022.


The word grateful perfectly describes how I feel today. I am grateful most of all to our Almighty God who made all things possible for us amidst all the limitations brought by this pandemic.


I am grateful to our Board of Trustees for their genuine leadership, governance, and support.


And I am grateful to each of you -- from our Secretariat led by our Executive Director, our General Manager, our PIRA employees, and our committee heads and members who have generously contributed their time and talent for the benefit of the industry.


Because of your efforts, we have achieved most of what we have set for this year. While there are still challenges and hurdles in the horizon, I am hopeful that 2022 will be a year of recovery and bouncing back, especially with the ramping up of vaccinations and the national elections in May.


My prayer is for this pandemic to end soon, and for peaceful and honest elections where we will have servant-leaders who will work for the greater good, and who will put importance on insurance as a tool for nation-building.


In the meantime, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for the privilege to be your Chairman for the last three years. I am truly honored to have served you and I am excited to seize the opportunities 2022 will bring side by side with you.


May God continue to protect, guide, and bless us all.


Maraming salamat. Have a truly merry Christmas, and a bountiful and safe New Year!



View the full report here.

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