Preneed firms told to leverage technology into new products

The Insurance Commission (IC) is encouraging preneed companies to capitalize on the technological advancements of the digital age to further improve their products and services.

Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa is asking preneed companies in the country to innovate and capitalize on new technologies by offering better preneed products and services for Filipinos.

“While the insurance and preneed industries have different business models, they share one thing in common. They are vital instruments in promoting financial inclusivity. As such, the use of technological advancements in order to offer and render services applies not only in insurance but also in the preneed industry,” Funa said at a public forum hosted by preneed companies on Thursday at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Elmer M. Lorica, president of the Philippine Federation of Pre-Need Plan Cos. Inc. (Pre-Need Federation), likewise urged the preneed companies to continuously innovate and respond to the needs of the public.

“Despite the setbacks suffered by the industry in the past, demand for preneed plans remains significant because of the Filipino’s desire to provide for the present and future needs of their families. We will continue to be their reliable partners. It behooves upon us, as a federation of preneed companies, to continuously innovate and respond to their needs,” Lorica said.

The Pre-Need Federation is the umbrella organization of all preneed companies in the country. Under Presidential Decree 52 issued in 2001, the first week of the month of February of every year was designated as “Pre-Need Consciousness Week” to increase awareness and appreciation of the preneed industry and its role in securing the future.

According to data from the IC, the preneed industry posted net income of P595.2 million as of June 2016. This was 98.7 percent more than net income of only P299.6 million in the same month in 2915.

Industry total premium income expanded 8.2 percent to P7.9 billion in June 2016, from P7.3 billion in 2015. This translated to 357,794 preneed plans sold, or 5.6 percent higher than the 338,798 reported in 2015.