• 8990 lures homebuyers with free life insurance


    MASS housing developer 8990 Holdings Inc. is providing 11,000 to 12,000 life insurance policies to buyers by the end of the third quarter.

    A company official said 8990 aims to promote financial literacy.

    Homebuyers will get low-cost insurance, with an option to access mutual funds through a partnership 8990 forged with Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc., 8990 Chief Executive Officer Januario Jesus Atencio III told reporters in an interview.

    “This is going to be offered to all the buyers. All the buyers, past, present and future,” he said.

    “We have devised, together with Sunlife, a way by which 8990 can provide this for free,” Atencio said.

    There won’t be any increase in prices of 8990 homes. The average price for a house under the firm’s DECA Homes brand is at P1.06 million.

    8990 and Sunlife expect the number of policies to rise in the succeeding quarters, driven by more homebuyers.

    “We’re going to roll out with about 12,000 … and then every quarter, we will grow it. So the idea is past, present, future clients … “ Atencio said.

    8990 sells an average of 20,000 homes each quarter, with a 20 percent annual growth.

    Homebuyers will have the option to invest in mutual funds to be offered by Sun Life Asset Management Company Inc.

    Sun Life Chie Strategy and Financial Management Officer Benedicto Sison described the scheme. “It’s a group insurance, basically, with a P500,000 coverage for every group member that is part of that group policy.”
    Atencio noted the insurance coverage can motivate homebuyers with delinquent accounts to update their payments.

    Sun Life President and Chief Executive Officer Riza Mantaring affirmed the problem of payment defaults.

    “If you look at the real estate industry, one of the problems developers have, particularly with the low-cost housing market, is the default rate is significant – just like with other financial services when they take out loans,” Mantaring said.

    Atencio said the new offers will help promote financial literacy and can help generate more wealth for homebuyers.

    “Now, housing has evolved into a wealth-creation product—where our buyers have shelter, they have protection, and they have investment,” Atencio said.

    Mantaring noted the role of financial literacy in sustaining economic progress.

    “We’re really trying to find all the avenues to reach more Filipinos, kasi we really believe that if you want economic progress to continue you have to bring the bottom of the pyramid up.

    Kasi pag hindi mo inakyat ‘yan, at some point, your financial growth is going to stop. And progress is hard to sustain if it’s not inclusive,” Mantaring said.


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