Financial institutions like banks have served the needs of middle and high-income classes – the moneyed classes, but often leave the low-income ones, especially those in remote areas, underserved, if not totally unserved.
Most of these low-income families also do not have access to government’s social security agencies and have no healthcards to help them out during emergencies. Thus, when misfortune hits them hard, these poor households find it hard to cope with and manage the risks they face and get mired in debt from relatives and friends, left with no means to rebuild their damaged properties, or face death unable to afford expensive medical treatments.
Cebuana Lhuillier saw this need to provide the Filipino masses with quality and affordable insurance protection when 15 years ago, in 1999, it established its microinsurance arm, the Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions (CLIS) to further fulfill its chosen mandate of bringing financial inclusion to the Filipino masses through financial products and services backed up by the country’s major and most reputable insurers.
CLIS General Manager Jonathan Batangan said, “We are committed to our promise to provide relevant and responsive micro-insurance products and services for Filipinos. We want to assure them peace of mind knowing that they will be assisted financially in times of emergencies.”
The company primarily serves the needs of the low income sector which is the most vulnerable to risks and hazards like death and injury, sudden illness, and loss of lives and properties from natural and man-made calamities, to name a few.
With fifteen years of service in the micro-insurance industry, CLIS has introduced a variety of unique insurance products, programs, and services that aim to secure every facet of their lives at the most affordable premiums.
Cebuana Lhuillier has recently offered not only traditional insurance products but also products customized to the needs of specific groups like TODACare for transport operators and drivers, TanodCare for community volunteers, StudentCare for students, BuildersCare for construction workers, EmployeeCare for employees, SecurityCare for security guards, among others.
To date, CLIS’s micro-insurance products have covered more than 15 million Filipinos. Last year, its premiere microinsurance product, the Alagang Cebuana Plus (ACP), sold 14 million certificates covering more than 5 million Filipinos making it one of the most successful microinsurance products in the country today.
Expanding micro-insurance product portfolio and reaching out
After introducing micro-insurance products and services made more accessible through the country’s largest pawnshop chain, CLIS expands its affordable insurance offering with a wider variety of products for the poor and the marginalized and bringing these products to where the target customers are.
“We want to be known as the company that pioneered in “pawnassurance”– an initiative to promote micro-insurance on a nationwide scale , using our pawnshop branches as distribution channels. We have also reached out to various communities by visiting barangays and other far-flung areas to sell these products with our “Microinsurance-on- Wheels” and “Barangay Cebuana” initiatives. It is our way of championing the financial inclusion of the Filipino masses, who have long held that insurance can only be afforded by the privileged,” Batangan said.
He echoes that the low insurance penetration rate in the country is attributable to Filipinos’ inability to squeeze insurance premiums into their monthly budget, aside from their lack of insurance awareness.
“This inspires us to leverage micro-insurance as our way of empowering more marginalized Filipinos toward financial security. Micro-insurance products help Filipinos to be protected from the unexpected through insurance products that are very light on the pocket. This is in line with Cebuana Lhuillier’s mission and advocacy of providing financial protection opportunities for all,” he said.
CLIS’s retail micro-insurance offerings will soon include Alagang Cebuana Plus Gold with micro-life insurance cover , another variant of its flagship product, the Alagang Cebuana Plus (ACP) . ACP is sold in over 1,700 Cebuana Lhuillier pawnshop branches nationwide, giving as much as Php20,000 accidental death or dismemberment coverage and Php5,000 fire assistance for only Php25 with coverage valid for four months.
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