NEWS   Increasing Awareness on Financial Risk Protection through Online Communities

Increasing Awareness on Financial Risk Protection through Online Communities

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
by GIZ RFPI Asia
News Increasing Awareness on Financial Risk Protection through Online Communities


Date: 23 May 2017
Venue: Fairmont Hotel Makati

1. Background

In 2010/11, GIZ hosted a roadshow to raise awareness of low income households on financial risk protection in 16 cities. Around 500 Microinsurance (Mi) agents were trained.  This year, GIZ wants to keep up with its success and partners with PruLife UK and CommLinked to promote inclusive insurance. GIZ conducted a “Market and Product Development Study in Tacloban and Butuan Cities” in April – May 2017. Based on these results, an online platform will be established in the target markets. The platform will be used for trust building and education purposes as well as to sell insurance products. 

2. Purpose

In cooperation with PruLife and CommLinked, the aim is to raise awareness on financial risk protection through online communities. 
GIZ RFPI Asia II and PruLife have selected Fairmont Hotel Makati as venue for the event. The objectives of the event are the following:
  • To introduce the DPPP between PruLife, GIZ and CommLinked as a follow through on the financial literacy roadshow conducted by GIZ and the Insurance Commission (IC) in 2010
  • To share achievements on microinsurance  regulation in the Philippines since 2010
  • To present highlights of the market and product development study on promoting microinsurance thru online communities conducted in Tacloban and Butuan cities 
  • To introduce champions from Tacloban and Butuan cities
  • To introduce the online platform mock-up “Empowering Filipinos” and test user interface
  • To call for action among key players in the insurance sector to contribute to the online platform of raising awareness on financial risk protection

3. Agenda 

  • Steering Committee Members only
9:30 – 11:00 PROGRAM PROPER                
Philippine National Anthem 
Opening prayer 
Opening remarks: 
Background and rationale of the event and recognition of participants with highlights of the market and product study in Tacloban and Butuan cities
  • Dr. Antonis Malagardis, Program Director, GIZ RFPI
Asia Challenging the climate, responding to change (Video Presentation)

An address from the Pru Life UK President and CEO 
  • Mr. Antonio De Rosas, President and CEO, Pru Life UK
Demonstration of the online community platform 
  • Mr. Graham Morris, Chairman, CommLinked
The Philippine Insurance Commission in the digital age
  • Hon. Dennis Funa, Insurance Commissioner, Insurance Commission
Introduction of local community champions and their community leaders
  • Mr. Jimmy Loro, Senior Adviser, GIZ RFPI Asia
An address from the pilot communities of Tacloban and Butuan
  • Hon. Ronnie Lagnada City Mayor, Butuan City
  • Mrs. Bernardita Valenzuela, fondly called as Tita Bering, 
City Government Information Officer & City Mayor’s Spokesperson of Tacloban City
Closing remarks
  • Mr. Kenn Ramirez, Vice President, Pru Life UK
11:00 - 12:00 LUNCH and OPEN FORUM with the PRESS

4. Orientation of extended online communities

Before the official program started, the extended steering committee met, which included the local champions of Butuan and Tacloban. In this meeting the attendees shared their role on how to support the project locally. 

5. Official Program:

The event started with an opening prayer and the Philippine National Anthem. 

Dr. Antonis Malagardis, Program Director, GIZ RFPI Asia

Dr. Antonis Malagardis, Program Director of the GIZ Regulatory Framework Promotion on Pro-Poor Insurance Markets in Asia II (GIZ RFPI Asia II), delivered the opening remarks for the event “Increasing awareness on financial risk protection through online communities” addressing that the success of the project will be based on the whole insurance industry. He pointed out the uniqueness of the program as it is the first project in the Philippines that combines insurance with technology. 
In order to get some insights on the people’s needs, a study was conducted in the areas where the platform will be launched (Butuan and Tacloban). Dr. Antonis Malagardis presented the key highlights of the “Market and Product Development Study in Tacloban and Butuan Cities”. The assessment indicated that one of the top worries is health and social security. Although a high percentage of the population is covered by PhilHealth there is still a lot that has to be done, especially in the field of risk protection from natural catastrophes. 
The study also indicated that the majority has access to smartphones and the internet. Frequently used websites include social media (especially Facebook) but are rarely used to buy insurance products due to lack of trust on online shopping. 
GIZ and Pru Life UK identified local champions in the respective areas who will contribute to the content of the platform and the trust building process, while GIZ and PruLife UK will act as the facilitator. 
In conclusion, Dr. Malagardis mentioned that the awareness on financial risk protection has to be reactivated. 
After his speech, the video “Challenging the climate, responding to change” was presented which showed the impact of micro insurance after natural disasters. 

Mr. Antonio De Rosas, President and CEO,  Pru Life UK

Mr. Antonio De Rosas, President and CEO, Pru Life UK related to the two main challenges in the life insurance sector. First, the protection gap, in the Philippines which refers to unmet insurance needs due to very low penetration rate of less than one percent. Furthermore he mentioned the poverty gap which is still significant with 40 percent of the Filipino population considered as poor.
Especially after natural catastrophes, the people that suffer the most are the ones that already experience poverty. In such events, the majority loses everything. As a result, risk protection has to be improved and technology could help to reach the goal of a wider coverage with low premiums. 
Mr. Antonio De Rosas emphasized that PruLife cannot reach this goal alone, and requires the cooperation of the whole insurance industry.  

Mr. Graham Morris, Chairman, CommLinked

Mr. Graham Morris, the Chairman of CommLinked, demonstrated the online community platform. He explained the concept to develop a community, which is divided into three main steps: (1) Identifying people who have a specific common interest (2) Enrollment of members in the community or club (3) Further development by analyzing data and feedback. This leads to a continuous development of the communities where the content adapts to the current needs of the members.
The online platform “Empowering Filipinos” will be developed as special interest communities and local communities. Local communities will be organized and special interest communities will be developed for the four main target groups: teachers, retirees, microfinance institutions and MSMEs in Butuan and Tacloban Cities. Mr. Morris invited the participants to go online by using the following link:, at the end of his speech.

Hon. Dennis Funa, Insurance Commissioner,  Insurance Commission

Hon. Dennis Funa, Philippines Insurance Commissioner, discussed “The Philippine Insurance Commission in the digital age”. He mentioned his long term vision for every Filipino to have access to insurance. He cited data from the Insurance Commission which showed 3.1 million individuals with risk protection in 2010 which grew to 30 million in 2015.  To achieve the goal of providing insurance access to every Filipino, the Philippine Development Plan presents three main pillars: (1) concern (2) change (3) continuous change. These pillars will integrate strengthening social funding; reduce inequality and maximization of growth. In order to achieve this, a sustainable macroeconomic environment is essential. A stable macroeconomic environment is possible along with an expanded insurance and micro insurance program. He mentioned that two key words are apparent for the expansion of insurance: (1) literacy and (2) technology. 
In 2010, the Insurance Commission published a roadmap for financial literacy. This roadmap had two notable achievements: it was able to create multistakeholder involvement and influenced consumer behavior which created enormous growth in insurance policy holders. But the Insurance Commission is also aware of the requirements to reach their vision. Continuous population growth and inaccessibility to insurance products indicate the need for financial literacy (education on insurance and its benefits). Using digital platforms increase agent effectiveness in introducing insurance.  
In conclusion, Commissioner Funa congratulated PruLife for partnering with GIZ and CommLinked to utilize the online insurance community to increase awareness of financial risk protection.

Mr. Jimmy Loro, Senior Adviser, GIZ RFPI Asia

Mr. Jimmy Loro, Senior Adviser, GIZ RFPI Asia, emphasized that information is emerging as a valuable commodity to date. He related that timely data will depend on enrolment to the online communities. Mr. Loro then introduced the local community champions and their leaders who will assist in the enrolment of members.

Hon. Ronnie Lagnada, City Mayor, Butuan City

Hon. Ronnie Lagnada, City Mayor, Butuan City, started his speech by thanking the German Government and GIZ for supporting the Philippines with various projects; and PruLife for supporting microinsurance development. He shared that the project “Empowering Filipinos” increases the awareness on financial risk protection. The project helps those who are economically struggling, not to fall deeper into poverty and those who have broken out of poverty and reached the next level, will avail of “safety nets”. Access to finance, access to social protection, access to technology and access to the market will improve the lives of the people living in the city of Butuan. Mr. Lagnada invited the participants to visit Butuan City at the end of his speech.
A video about the future development of Butuan City was presented, which showed the city’s exposure to natural catastrophes and its current issues with its crime rate.  It also highlighted the economic potential and encouraged people to invest in the city.

Mrs. Bernardita Valenzuela, City Government Information Officer & City Mayor’s Spokesperson   of Tacloban City

Mrs. Bernardita Valenzuela, fondly called “Tita Bering”, City Government Information Officer & City Mayor’s Spokesperson of Tacloban City, represented the city mayor of Tacloban City and started her speech by addressing her gratitude to the German Government in supporting Tacloban City. She highlighted the importance of insurance by sharing her own experiences during super typhoon Yolanda. Furthermore, Tita Bering outlined the development of Tacloban after Yolanda with her observation that its gross income has doubled after the super typhoon. 
She proposed four steps to establish a successful online community:
  1. create attention
  2. be interesting
  3. convince
  4. sell insurance products
Furthermore, Tita Bering expressed her honor to be part of the project because she associates insurance with the following words: Safe, Sure, Secure. This will also be her message to the people of Tacloban for supporting the project.

Mr. Kenn Ramirez, Vice President, Pru Life UK

Mr. Kenn Ramirez, Vice President of Pru Life UK, highlighted the generousness of the previous speakers and outlined that this creates hope for all community advocates and encourages them to go ahead. Furthermore, he inspired advocates to put more effort into the project in the face of obstacles to banner their respective cities. The online communities is conceived to provide a place where the people’s needs are heard within their online communities.
Mr. Ramirez invited participation in the project. He urged the attendees and the local champions to provide their support in the enrolment to online communities.  

6. Press Conference

After the official program, a press conference took place.
Some highlights of the press conference:
  • From the online communities, Microinsurance E-agents may be developed to promote and sell microinsurance and other products.
  • 30,000 individuals are expected to be enrolled in the online communities in the next 6 months.
  • Issues on User Privacy and Security were asked by Ms. Pauline Nayra, a local Champion from Tacloban City. Mr. Graham Morris proposed policies to govern use, which will be discussed in the Steering Committee. 
  • The Insurance Commission conducts Microinsurance Literacy activity twice a year and is proposing that Insurance be included as subject in College, not just in Law.
  • The City Government of Butuan is partnering with the academe on Financial Literacy.