Congrats to Insular Life on its 99th anniversary

BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET - Wilson Lee Flores () - November 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek. —Mario Andretti

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, the Philippines’ biggest and most profitable, oldest and highly respected homegrown life insurer, Insular Life, turns 99 years old. It continues its unrelenting commitment to excellence, and begins the countdown to its momentous 100th anniversary in 2010. Congratulations!

The Philippine STAR recently had a chance to talk to the senior management of Insular Life to ask for some of their success secrets and insights into what makes a 100-year-old company, and this will be shared with our readers on Nov. 25 through a special feature on this great company here in The Philippine STAR.  The feature articles on Nov. 25 will be written by Lifestyle assistant editors Ching Alano and Tanya Lara, and columnists Krip Yuson and RJ Ledesma.

More than other enterprises, life insurance firms need impeccable track records across time to reassure the public about their credibility, durability, financial strength and timeless values. Insular Life is not only most profitable and largest, it is also a mutual firm, meaning all customers and policyholders are shareholders in the company. Insular Life is an inspiring success story in the history of Philippine business.   

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Congratulations also to Lucio Tan, Dr. Alfonso Uy, Ambassador Francis Chua and other officials of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) for bringing honor to and promoting the Philippines by successfully hosting the biennial World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC) at Henry Sy’s SMX Convention Center from Nov. 19 to 22.

The young, ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs’ group of Anvil Business Club will also soon schedule top business leaders such as Philippine STAR president Miguel Go Belmonte, Insular Life president Mayo Jose B. Ongsingco and others to speak during separate private dinners with Anvil officers and members and share their success secrets.

 The 1991 inaugural WCEC convention of entrepreneurs and taipans from the overseas Chinese diaspora was first hosted by Singapore and with statesman Lee Kuan Yew making a speech citing the importance of Confucian values for business success, which include thrift. Lee said, “There are about 25 million ethnic Chinese outside China, Taiwan and Hong Kong… You have been successful in overcoming difficulties and disadvantages facing you in different countries. I am confident that if you compare notes, you will confirm that thrift, hard work, emphasis on education, community trust and mutual help — in short, the core values of Chinese culture — were factors for your success.”

A basic requisite of success and financial independence for families, professionals and most especially for entrepreneurs is the indispensable virtue of thrift. Even nation-states need high savings rates to build up long-term capital for socio-economic development and infrastructure. Life insurance is one of the important forms of savings.

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This writer learned that one of the big promotions that Insular Life will launch for its policyholders is the “Cash Handog Centennial Edition.”  All the policyholder has to do is call or visit any of the Insular Life offices and update his or her information in the company’s database and he will get the chance to win in the daily, monthly, and grand raffle draw.  So, to all of you out there with in-force insurance policies at Insular Life, just call or visit their offices, give them your updated information and you will have several chances to win valuable gifts and cash prizes.

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We continue our Q&A series, thanks to the public-service partnership between The Philippine STAR and Insular Life:

Question 1

Roselyne Cua, housewife, dog breeder and show exhibitor, freelance photo-videographer and graphic artist: How are planholders secured from a plans company? Parang planholders are at the mercy of such companies. When it’s time to pay, they only have two months’ grace period,but when planholders need money, they can’t even get 90 percent of their invested money! And where can we call for such advice against premature redemptions, or if a company changes ownership? Thanks for bringing up this topic in your interesting Philippine STAR columns. I wish nga planholders would have the right to their investments and not become like CAP, Pacific Plans or Legacy victims. The hard-earned money invested in these kinds of companies by planholders should also be given protection by government agencies.

Answer 1

Thank you, Roselyne, for your comments and questions.  I was once CEO of a pre-need company, and though my company was never embroiled in any controversy, still we could not help but commiserate with the plight of those planholders who were adversely affected.  The controversies and issues that surfaced from these developments have become the focus of government to seek firmer safeguards for the public in general and planholders in particular.  From what I have been told, stronger measures have been incorporated into a Pre-Need Bill that will regulate further the trust funds of pre-need companies, increase the surrender values of plans that are discontinued, and provide more planholder protection.   Hopefully this will finally become law soon.  And since it is the Securities and Exchange Commission that oversees the pre-need industry at present, you can make inquiries directly to them or even to the company itself.

Jesus Alfonso Hofileña

Executive Vice President & Head

Sales & Marketing Group

 Question 2

Edward Simon, 34 years old, father of two kids: My cousin has three children and he is a victim of CAP because they failed to pay for his kid’s education despite their obligation. Is there still hope for his case and other victims of pre-need insurance? A lot of people have a negative impression of life insurance because of companies like CAP and Pacific Plans, etc.

Answer 2

Edward, in the case of CAP planholders, I believe the issue of unpaid claims is now with the courts.  I cannot speak authoritatively on this matter, but hopefully there will be legal remedies that will benefit your cousin and others who are in the same plight.  Allow me to again reiterate that life insurance and pre-need are not one and the same.  They are two separate industries with different rules, regulators, business models and products.  While I understand only too well the negative perceptions the pre-need controversies have caused, I hope you and the readers will not indict the entire life insurance industry as well because that would not be fair since our institutions are faithfully meeting our obligations.  Thank you.

Jesus Alfonso Hofileña

 Question 3

Sara Black, photographer: I don’t believe in life insurance. I think it’s a waste of money. I had a very negative experience when a life insurance agent came to visit me to sell; when I declined to buy life insurance from her, she told me, “What if you have cancer and then you die?” I hate that mentality! Don’t scare me into that. After that horrible experience, I don’t believe in life insurance anymore.

Answer 3

Sara, we understand where you are coming from and we deeply regret your sad experience.  We can only hope you can one day give life insurance another chance to be of service to you and your family.  In the meantime we will continue to vigorously pursue our advocacy of providing financial security and peace of mind to those in need.  There are many professionals in our industry who sincerely explain the importance of risk management in a rational and satisfactory manner.  We condemn the use of “scare tactics” as you do, whether inadvertently or deliberately.   

Jesus Alfonso Hofileña

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 For more inquiries, or if you want to schedule a Wealth Management Forum for your group, call Insular Life’s Brand Marketing Department at 582-1818  loc. 1850 and 5124, e-mail brand@.insular.com.ph or visit www.insularlife.com.ph . 

E-mail questions to willsoonflourish@gmail.com or to my Facebook account, thanks so much!

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