Sound investments over hiked capitalization

- Rey Gamboa () - November 11, 2006 - 12:00am
In the light of the recent mishaps that threw a bad light on the insurance industry, somebody finally woke up to the reality that some shaking up was needed in the industry. Unfortunately, addressing the problem is not as simple as a one-step remedial measure, not when it affects a whole sector of the industry.

The most badly hit, of course was the pre-need sector, and up to now, claimants are still waiting for their day in court. The bail-out money given, hefty enough in another context was unfortunately just enough to nip the tip of the iceberg when claims came in a deluge. That’s how much money is involved when one takes on an insurance company. Still, it was a show of good faith, though the claimants themselves know it hardly wet their tongues.

Now comes a new measure from the IC or the Insurance Commission which, I presume, was conceptualized precisely in the wake of this fiasco. The head at IC has now raised the capital ceiling for all insurance companies, both life- and non-life. The increase is not insignificant, let me tell you, enough to make the smaller insurance companies holler. The big boys, however, have not raised a whimper because, being global companies, the increase in the ceiling, when converted to dollars and pounds, becomes just another casual collateral damage.

Now, the local boys are again left in the cold. What of the smaller insurance companies who are hard put to come up with the hefty new capitalization? Most of these companies have been in the business for decades now, and have had sterling records of claims disbursement. The IC should be in a better position to review these companies’ performance to know that they too have earned their slot in the industry. There is a niche for these smaller insurance companies, and it would be unfortunate if the big boys in the industry should just gobble them up. In the long run, if only the big boys are left to run the show, the consumers will be left as the biggest casualty of this war, because competition will be spread out among a very select few, giving us little or no choices at all.

What is material in this consideration is a sound investment portfolio. Not just a huge investment portfolio, because what good would that do to you and me, the consumers, if this big investment, originally there as a cushion for the business, is diverted elsewhere? On paper, the company may look sound and healthy because the primary funding looks impressive, but look again in a few years time and see where these capital investments have gone.

I heard, however, that the Insurance Commissioner has at least listened to the serious local boys, those who plan to stay on for the long haul because they have been in business for a very long time. They have relented and put the new law in the freezer for the time being. This gives the local insurance companies a breather, for how long, I do not know, but putting it in abeyance until further studies have been made cannot possibly hurt anyone at this point.
A satisfyingly meaty Sunday
Like most Filipinos, I take pride in the fact that the biggest mall in Asia can be found right here. But, believe it or not, my first time to go to the Mall of Asia during the day was last Sunday. The first time was to attend the launch of Honda’s "people’s bike", the Bravo. But then it was at night and I didn’t have the time to look around. And as for the rest of the family – a first sight.

We finally got to visit the Mall of Asia because we have been looking forward to a juicy, succulent steak lunch all week, and since we have fond memories of the Tagaytay Highlands Steakhouse which we would get to visit in succession only in the summer months, we decided that the next best thing was the Highlands Steakhouse at the Mall of Asia.

I guess many of you have been there, but for those who have not dropped by, the place looks and smells exactly the same as the original Tagaytay place. The pinewood feel, the antler chandelier, etc.

Anyway, it was a Sunday lunch we have been salivating for a week. We all settled for the prime rib roast, and only my wife, Babes settled for the 10-oz variety. Nothing less than 14 ounces for the rest of us – my daughter Kristine Patricia and son Ray Louis included. When it came, we were delighted to find it perfectly cooked, over-sized as we expected, aromatic as grilled good meat should be, and with good accompaniments. All of us had mashed potatoes and boiled corn, but some of us even had side orders of rice pilaf, and bottomless iced tea to boot. Oh well, it was a Sunday lunch, almost sacrosanct to foodies like us.

The meat came as you wanted it. I ordered for a medium rare one, and it came just perfectly pink on the inside, the juice still running out as you sliced it. My son had the same, and he declared it to be the best he has tasted in a long time. From a foodie’s son who is also turning out to be one himself, that is saying a mouthful for the steaks at Highlands Steakhouse.
Business & Lifestyle TV Magazine
evening next week at 10 o’clock on Shop TV (Channel 13 on Sky Cable), Business & Leisure, your weekly "window to the world of business and guide to the good life" we will have the youthful and dynamic Rep. Gilbert Remulla on the "hot seat", so called because in these interviews of the show’s segment, Profiles, we try to draw out the persona behind the personality. The informal chat comes out with fresh insights into this very young but insightful representative of the 2nd district of Cavite who used to be a rising TV journalist star at ABS-CBN before politics claimed him.

Then we have the indefatigable Ms. Lilia de Lima of the Philippine Export Zone Authority on Biz Watch. Ms. De Lima shares with us the good news about the rising investments at the PEZA.

My co-host for next week, Ida Hidalgo, one of our mainstays, will usher in the features of the Leisure side of the show, among them, the Emerging Bands segment will have 18th ISYU, and Eric Mendoza, a successful furniture maker from Cebu who has made a name for himself in the export market with his excellent designs and consistent craftsmanship in our feature on Strictly Business. Don’t fail to watch.

!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

For comments: (e-mail) businessleisure-star@stv.com.ph

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