Philippines life insurance firms can meet COVID-19 demand: industry head

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2020 03:32 PM

A rainbow appears along Commonwealth Ave. on March 22, 2020, as the Philippines' biggest island group goes into a 1-month long coronavirus quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS CBN News

MANILA -- Life insurance companies in the Philippines have enough capital to ride out the coronavirus epidemic, the head of an industry group said Thursday, as he advised consumers to check what benefits come with their current policies.

Insurance companies could "take a hit" should the pandemic escalate, said Benedicto Sison, CEO of Sun Life Financial Philippines and President of the Philippine Life Insurance Association. He could not immediately provide estimates.

"I am very confident in saying the life insurance industry is sufficiently capitalized to serve claims of this epidemic," Sison told ABS-CBN News.

"There is heightened anxiety among people, and understandably so. It is critical to reassure our clients, that even under irregular situations, we are able to serve them and fulfilled our obligations because we are adequately capitalized," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire country under a state of calamity and Luzon, home to half the country's 100 million people, is on lockdown until April 12 to arrest the spread of COVID-19.

Sun Life can cover death and hospitalization due to COVID-19, he said.

Sison said strict stay at home orders during the lockdown will dent insurance sales as agents can't meet clients face to face.

"Thankfully there is technology and there are now ways to avail of insurance such as the online channel. But we have to admit the use of online channel is not yet widely in place," he said. -- report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News