20 insurers still in hot water

Published by rudy Date posted on July 19, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – There are still 20 insurance companies whose certificate of authority (CA) had been withheld.

The CA is an annual license to operate issued to life, non-life, and re-insurance companies, as well as mutual benefit association (MBA). The Insurance Commission (IC) is the issuing agency under the guidance of the Department of Finance (DOF).

Sources within the commission said that the CAs have actually been issued but were withheld “for certain reasons.”

“Of the 20 insurance companies, less than half are life insurance firms and the rest are non-life,” the source said. “Majority have complied with the minimum paid-up capital requirement, the rest have some pending issues with the Commission’s legal office, another one or two have still to comply with the minimum capital requirement, while a minority have simply not physically claimed their licenses.”

Asked to comment, IC Commissioner Emmanuel L. Dooc confirmed that a few CAs were still with them. But he also explained that insurance companies are required by regulations to physically claim the certificates.

“The chief executive or the compliance officer of the insurance company must personally claim the certificates with the IC, and that is also an opportunity to discuss with them some issues,” Dooc said without giving details.

He also refused to name the insurance companies in question, merely admitting that majority come from the non-life sector.

The 2010 IC report shows that for the period 2010-2011, four insurers were issued a composite license (life and non-life operations), 30 were issued life licenses, 83 non-life licenses, and one re-insurance license.

“There will be dropouts this year from the 2010 list,” the same source said.

Meanwhile, total premium income of the life insurance sector grew by an outstanding 23.56 percent, or from P57.2 billion in 2009 to P70.7 billion last year. In 2008, total premiums were an anemic P56.8 billion.

It could not be determined unfortunately whether the dramatic growth was from the traditional distribution system, or from the bancassurance joint ventures. Likewise, it could not be clearly seen if traditional insurance products outperformed or was outperformed by the variables and/or the single pay products.

Available data merely zeroes in the total premium income and not differentiating the traditional from the variable income.

The top two players in terms of premium income are the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philamlife), and the Sun Life Financial Philippines.

However, the Philippine AXA Life Insurance Co. (AXA) and Prulife UK of the Philippines (Prulife) grabbed the third and fourth place, respectively. Insular Life Assurance Co. (Insular Life) slipped from third in 2009 to fifth last year.

BPI Philam Life, the joint venture bancassurance company of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and PhilamLife, fell to sixth in 2010 from fifth in the previous year.

The next four to round up the top 10 are Manulife Philippines, Grepalife Financial, United Cocolife, and Generali Pilipinas.

The top 10 insurers already account for over 80 percent of the sector’s total premiums. –Ted Torres (The Philippine Star)

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