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Singlife, a Singapore-based life insurer, entered the Philippines in 2020. A newcomer in a long-standing industry, the company distinguishes itself from existing players by focusing on addressing the financial protection needs of the undervalued middle-income market with the use of the smartest technologies.
Capitalizing on Market Opportunities
Although the industry has grown with double digit numbers in the past decade, only 3.5 million of the potential market of 18 million decision makers have at least one individual life insurance policy. This alone shows the enormous opportunity that lies ahead for Singlife Philippines.
Most of the existing players find their strength in their salesforce, which is composed of advisors working as commission-based agents or bank staff who usually push for products with high premiums and long commitments to maximize their income. To support their advisors, companies construct complicated product designs with several restrictions, penalties, and other fees that are not always in the best interest of the customers.
Singlife Philippines believes that everyone should have the opportunity to take control of their finances – to be able to save for big funding goals and to be protected from the financial risks of a severe medical condition or sudden loss of income.
The company has set its eyes on the rising middle class who have long been undervalued. These hardworking parents, office employees, owners of small businesses, and young professionals aspire to build a better financial future for themselves and their families. While they live relatively comfortable lives, they are not immune to unexpected events that could derail them from achieving their dreams.
Listening to the voice of the customer
Singlife Philippines’ target customers understand the many benefits of having life insurance. The reason they do not have it is because of experiences in the past in which advisors offer complicated and expensive products, with commitments that are much longer than their confidence of the future.
Singlife Philippines recognizes this conflict and uses the smartest technologies to deliver financial tools and solutions that are understandable, flexible to changing situations, and totally fitting of customers’ budget. They can also be easily accessed and managed anytime, anywhere using only a mobile phone.
“The value of life insurance products is most apparent in the middle class,” said Rien Hermans, CEO of Singlife Philippines. “The rich have the money to survive most unexpected events, the lower income segments will be supported by the government. It is really the middle class that is most affected. Unfortunately, products currently offered to them do not fit their needs, budget, and are not flexible enough to adjust to changes that happen in their lives.”
“Clear and flexible products, 24/7 access and support, and guidance in achieving financial goals are what they greatly need—and what we aim to deliver.”
Building the foundation for growth
To reach the middle-income market in the fastest and most efficient way, Singlife Philippines concentrated on where its target customers already are - digital platforms such as e-wallets, payment gateways, and other financial services apps.
Singlife Philippines built a microservices portal that houses all its protection products and can be integrated with the frontend of any digital platform. This co-habitation setup allows a seamless user flow between two platforms without having to switch screens. Moreover, it grants customers extended access to services such as policy management, claims filings, and claims payments which are not normally offered by incumbents within the same environment.
Enabling this from Singlife’s backend are the various tech components that perform independent tasks but operate in unison with others to automatically plan for scale and sustainability. Partnerships use fewer resources and produce faster turnaround times in all stages of product implementation. Customers are rewarded with a seamless, end-to-end digital experience in getting financially protected.
As a first step into realizing this business model and to make meaningful protection products instantly available to a large group of customers, Singlife Philippines in October 2020 partnered with the country’s biggest e-wallet provider, GCash.
Singlife Philippines was already working on its entry product, Cash for Dengue Costs when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Having built a strong digital foundation, the company was able to quickly pivot from the initial product design and offer customers protection that is more relevant to present times: Cash for Dengue Costs with a free COVID-19 cover. This was soon followed by the launch of its income protection suite with a choice between Cash for Income Loss (Any Cause) and Cash for Income Loss (Accidents) – the latter, a smart alternative for those with tighter budgets or that could not be underwritten due to age or medical status. All offer the same fuss-free features that enable customers to not only buy, but also manage policies, file claims along with supporting documents, and secure payments in less than 5 minutes via GInsure on the GCash app.
To sustain the momentum, Singlife Philippines together with GCash struck a deal with major telecommunications player Globe Telecom Inc. to offer a FREE 3-month promo version of Cash for Dengue Costs with up to PHP 140,500 in total cash benefits for their subscribers. How it works is very simple: eligible customers will be provided a code that they can use to redeem their free coverage via GInsure on the GCash app. By the end of the 3-month period, customers are given the choice to avail of the full version with a coverage of up to PHP421,500 for as low as PHP700 per year.
The promo delivered an attractive number of leads which gave Singlife Philippines the opportunity to test out the scalability of its systems. Having experienced issuing close to 10,000 policies in a day, with customers receiving their policies almost instantly, the company’s confidence increased that what it built is future proof.
Charging ahead with full force
2021 will witness Singlife Philippines move from promise to proof of unlocking the potential of money for everyone. Steadfast in its belief that protection for one’s now and future should be available to all, the company will continue to innovate on all fronts to realize 3 key points in its strategic agenda.
First, Singlife Philippines will complete its full suite of protection products on GCash by launching Cash for Medical Costs, which provides coverage for high medical bills due to hospitalization and critical illnesses including COVID-19, cancer, and heart disease, among others for as low as PHP500 per month. Also slated for release in the coming months is Cash for Later, which allows customers to kick off their investing journey to help build up funds for future needs like education for children and retirement.
The completion of this line up will offer customers a smart way of protecting themselves and their loved ones, giving them control over how they build or strengthen their financial armor without having to leave the GCash app.
Second, Singlife Philippines will look for 2 new digital network partners who would also benefit from the plug-and-play proposition of its microservices portal. Hermans explained: “We are always on the lookout for partners that can offer our products in their digital platforms. Ideally, there should be a significant overlap between our target market and their customer base. Further, it is essential that the partner believes in what we believe in – putting customers in control of their finances through technology, offering meaningful benefits at a fair price, and delivering an exemplary customer experience every single time.”
The company is actively engaged in various stages of discussions with potential partners, so customers can look forward to availing protection products from other digital platforms they are already familiar with, very soon.
Third, Singlife Philippines will launch its direct-to-customer initiative based on the successful Singlife Account that was introduced to the Singapore market in 2019. Called the Singlife Plan & Protect app, it empowers customer to take charge of their finances by helping them have a better understanding of their financial needs and by providing them with solutions to achieve their desired financial goals. The more they take control of their finances, the more Singlife unlocks the potential of their money for them.
“We believe that finances are too important to be placed in the hands of someone else. It is only by giving control back to the customers can we truly unlock the potential of money for everyone.”
About Singlife Philippines Inc.
Singlife Philippines is a majority-owned subsidiary of Singapore Life Pte. Ltd. (65%) with partners Di-Firm (20%) and Aboitiz Equity Ventures (15%). The company offers innovative tools & solutions to unlock the potential of money for everyone, helping people be in control of how they save and get protected with just their mobile phone. Visit www.singlife.com.ph for more information.
About Singapore Life Pte. Ltd.
Singapore Life completed its merger with major life insurance player, Aviva Singapore end of 2020. The combined business of the entities is valued at S$3.2 billion, the deal marks one of the largest in the insurance sector in Southeast Asia.
The merger will bring Singlife’s mobile-first savings and protection solutions to Aviva’s 1.5 million strong customer base, while being able to offer existing Singlife customers a significantly deeper product range and advisory capabilities. Visit www.singlife.com for more information.
Di-Firm is a Singapore-based private holding company. It is made up of entrepreneurs across a wide spectrum of verticals such as telecommunications, financial services, IT, retail, F&B, real estate, property management and utilities, along with subject matter experts in personal finance.
About Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.
Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. is the public holding company of the Aboitiz Group with major investments in power, banking and financial services, food, infrastructure, and land. Today, AEV is recognized as one of the best-managed companies in the Philippines and in the region, consistently cited for its commitment to good corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. With five generations of Aboitiz Group business successes behind it, AEV continues to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities.
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ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Hi, I'm Ralph Gregore Masalihit!
An RFP Graduate (Registered Financial Planner Institute - Philippines).
A Personal Finance Advocate. An I.T. by Profession. An Investor. Business Minded. An Introvert. A Photography Enthusiast. A Travel and Personal Finance Blogger (Lakbay Diwa and Kuripot Pinoy).
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