With new branding, Etiqa Life and General Assurance Philippines is taking on the challenge of expanding its foothold in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) region and offering better insurance services to its clients.
Etiqa Philippines, formerly AsianLife and General Assurance Corp., was officially launched on November 5 in an event in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig in a bid to align operations with the parent firm in Malaysia.
“We are creating our future with the identity we have as Etiqa,” Etiqa Philippines President and CEO Rico Bautista said during the launch.
Amid the company’s “rebranding transformation,” Bautista vowed to continue “humanizing” insurance policies for its clients, making sure their needs are being met.
He said that making Etiqa Philippines’ identity parallel with the Malaysian parent firm meant that local clients would also have access to Asean and international markets.
“In the future, Etiqa hopes to facilitate the flow of investment into the Philippines,” Bautista added.
Etiqa Group CEO Kamaludin Bin Ahmad said that strengthening the identity of Etiqa in the Asean region could help the company cement its presence amid growing insurance market.
Ahmad is upbeat that rebranding Etiqa would make it the leading retail insurance provider in the country in the “near future.”
When Etiqa was established in the country over 40 years ago, the company only registered P150 thousand in premium, he noted, adding that it already reached P3.2 billion last year.
“This is proof of our commitment and desire to grow further, and we believe we should always work together with our partners and customers to humanize insurance by keeping things simple, delivering on our promise as well as placing people over policies,” he continued.
Ahmad promised to continue improving the firm’s offerings not only to foster company growth but to serve clients better as well.
Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa, meanwhile, welcomed the rebranding of Etiqa, challenging the firm to maintain and improve its good performance.
He added that “the future looks bright” for Etiqa as the local insurance market is robust.
Growing the business
In an interview late last week, Etiqa Chief Strategy Officer Chris Eng Poh Yoon said Etiqa is focusing its rebranding on establishing a strong presence by giving back to the community where it does business.
Recently, Etiqa held its CSR Day for its employees and advocates with Operation Smile (Mandaluyong), a free speech therapy camp for cleft palate patients.
“We want to bring expertise from other parts of Etiqa to grow the business here,” Eng said, adding that Etiqa is optimistic that the insurance market will continue to grow in the Philippines.
The growing middle class segment, a favorable demographic structure of more financially aware young population, as well as the level advancement of technology in the Philippines will be the growth drivers of the sector, he continued.
Eng also believes that the country’s low insurance penetration rate — at 1.76 percent in 2018 — is an opportunity for the market to further grow as we see there is still huge sector that can be tapped into in terms of providing insurance.
“As a responsible regional insurer, we are very excited to contribute to the growth of the economy of the Philippines, and at the same time leverage on the continuous expansion of economic activity in the country,” he said.
Eng added that Etiiqa will also take advantage of the required paid-up capital of insurance companies being implemented currently by the Insurance Commission (IC).
Under the Republic Act 10607, or the Amended Insurance Code of the Philippines, new insurance industry players are required to have P1 billion in paid-up capital, while existing insurance companies need P550 million by December 2016, P900 million by December 2019 and P1.3 billion by December 2022.
“Some of the insurers may not be able to meet the minimum requirements of IC by end of the year. We see this as an opportunity for us to continue building up our competitive advantage in the Philippines in order to keep ahead of the competition in the market,” Eng said.
He added that the regional insurer will launch its Etiqa SmilePH Mobile app to the market also in November.
The app will allow clients to access their coverage details, go card less when customer goes to provider, request for Letter of Guarantee Issuance, and monitor their benefits and availment, said Eng.
The Etiqa way
Etiqa Philippines partnered with the Craniofacial Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (CFFP) for Operation Smile, a free speech therapy camp for cleft palate patients.
Held at Craniofacial Foundation Center in Sta. Mesa, Manila, the camp aimed to help cleft palate patients to practice speech and pronounce words as they recover from their operation.
Etiqa Executive Vice President Diana Mohamad said the camp was the company’s way of giving back to the community.
“This is for our CSR (corporate social responsibility). This is where we give back to [the] community and we believe that we socially are able to give back whatever we get,” said Mohamad in an interview.
This is Etiqa’s second mission. The first was on October 17, when two cleft patients — six- and seven-month-old infants — were given free cleft lip repair and cleft palate surgeries at the same hospital with the help of volunteer doctors and CFFP personnel.
“We believe that it is our social and moral duty to act responsibly and contribute to the communities that we belong to. This initiative is aligned with to ‘make the world a better place’ guided by the Etiqa way, where we believe insurance is about helping people and we want to help them to build a better future for themselves and their generations,” said Mohamad.
Etiqa has a built solid reputation for fast, prompt and reliable service supported by over 1,400 hospitals and clinics nationwide, with 25,000 doctors and a 24/7 in-house call center.
A total of 14 children aged 3 to 16 attended the event.
CFFP President and Chief Executive Officer Yolanda Quirino-Abad said both children and parents were taught speech therapy.
“What we do, we empower the parent to be part of the recovery of the child. We teach the parents the drill because at a certain age they already know what are the letters that you have to teach,” said Quirino-Abad.
“We teach the parents to teach the child,” she added.
Quirino-Abad said teaching parents was the best way for Etiqa to help families unable to pay for a speech therapist, especially in the provinces.
“It’s different when it’s a real speech therapist who teaches. But in the provinces, we make the best of what is available,” she added.
Etiqa — a member of the Maybank Group — is offering life and general conventional insurance policies and family and general takaful plans.
Its offered plans cover endowment, term, personal accident, education, investment-linked and medical insurance, among others.
The insurance firm, which has presence in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines, has over 8,100 agents, 46 branches and 17 offices and 490 bancassurance network offering its products and services.
PHOTOS BY PAUL SUGANO