The Philippine microinsurance sector continued to expand last year as premium production grew by 14.4 percent, the Insurance Commission (IC) reported on Thursday.

Based on preliminary data, the regulator said the sector’s premium production rose to P8.14 billion in 2018 from P7.11 billion in 2017.

“The mutual benefit associations (MBAs) sector continues to be the frontrunner in terms of number of premium production and number of lives covered, while the non-life and life insurance sectors posted significant growth in the area of microinsurance,” Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa said in a statement.

The non-life sector posted a significant increase in premium production of P998.97 million last year, up by 25.7 percent from P794.19 million in 2017. The life insurance sector’s premiums, on the other hand, rose by 6.6 percent to P2.58 billion in 2018 from P2.42 billion in 2017.

In terms of contribution, the MBA sector recorded P4.56 billion , up by 16.9 percent from the P3.90 billion in 2017.

Funa said the microinsurance sector also increased the number of individuals covered by 18.7 percent to 38.89 million in 2018 from 32.74 million the previous year. The life insurance sector had the highest increase in the number of lives covered by microinsurance with 11.85 million last year from 9.10 million in 2017.

On the other hand, the MBA sector covered a total of 22.75 million individuals in 2018, up by 17.6 percent from 19.33 million the previous year. Meanwhile, the individuals covered by non-life insurance sector dipped by 0.46 percent to 4.29 million last year from 4.31 million in 2017.

Funa said the latest data “only proves that microinsurance in our country continues to grow and is an effective and affordable financial product for the protection of the properties and lives of our countrymen.”