2017 Financial Inclusion Survey

The 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey is a national survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) every two years to collect financial inclusion data. It is now on its second run with the baseline conducted in 2015. Its general objective is to measure financial inclusion in the Philippines.

Data is collected through face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (defined as 15 years old and above) across the country. The questionnaire used was formulated by the BSP Inclusive Finance Advocacy Office and approved by the Philippine Statistics Authority. IFAO also serves as the secretariat of the inter-agency Financial Inclusion Steering Committee, of which the Insurance Commission is a member. The 2017 survey was conducted by Nielsen Philippines, a leading market research company in the country. This latest survey was conducted from December 2017 to February 2018. The full survey report may be downloaded from BSP’s web site.

Demographics would show that, out of a population of 101 million Filipinos, 68.6 million are adults. In terms of marital status, 64 percent are married, 29 percent are single, 1 percent are separated and 5 percent are widowed or widower. In terms of employment figures, a surprising 54 percent are nonworking, while only 46 percent are working. In terms of socioeconomic class, ABC1 comprise a mere 2 percent, C2 6 percent, D 55 percent and E 37 percent.

Insurance ownership survey

When asked if a respondent personally owns insurance, 18 percent of the adult respondents or a mere 12.3 million of our adults answered positively. Conversely, it means that 82 percent of the adult population do not have insurance. Actual data and statistics, though, from the Insurance Commission would show a higher number in terms of insurance ownership. In terms of socioeconomic class, age, educational attainment and marital status, insurance acquisition is higher for the ABC class, aged 30 to 39, college graduates, married and working adults. This would seem to be the market for life insurance.

Note that the same survey shows that a mere 3 percent of adults invest in stocks, bonds, Unit Investment Trust Funds mutual funds and other managed investment schemes. The 2014 Consumer Finance Survey shows that only 0.4 percent of households have investments (mutual funds, UITFs, stocks, bonds or any other type of managed investment account aside from pension or insurance plan).

Low insurance awareness

Financial awareness seems to be a key area of concern. There is a very low awareness for insurance agents (13 percent), as compared to awareness of banks (70 percent), automated teller machines (61 percent) and pawnshops (52 percent). Similarly, in terms of access points, Filipinos are more aware of remittance (52 percent), payments (51 percent) and cash in/cash out (46 percent) services. They are least aware of more sophisticated products, such as insurance (22 percent), foreign exchange (17 percent), investments (13 percent) and loading of e-wallets (13 percent). Interestingly, of the 6 percent that encountered problems transacting with access points, 95 percent did not contact the regulator for the reason that they did not know that the regulator can be contacted (40 percent).

In terms of socioeconomic class, ABC class owns the most insurance at 39 percent, followed by D class at 19 percent and only 12 percent for E class. In terms of age, insurance acquisition seems to start at age 30 with 29 percent of insurance being bought by those aged 30 to 39. Insurance ownership seems to taper off at age 40 to 49 with 22 percent, and age 50 to 59 with another 22 percent. Insurance was also acquired more by those who had gotten married at 23 percent (including those separated at 24 percent), as opposed to those single at a mere 7 percent. As for educational attainment, those that completed college degrees own the most insurance protection at 43 percent than those that merely completed elementary (14 percent) and high school (17 percent).

Awareness of insurance products

AS for the types of insurance products purchased, life insurance is the most acquired at 38 percent. This is followed by health insurance (which includes health-maintenance organizations) at 30 percent, and microinsurance at 26 percent. For the nonlife sector, accident insurance is the most purchased at 13 percent. This is followed by the motor-vehicle insurance at 8 percent. Clearly, life and health protection are in the minds of the insuring public. Motor-vehicle insurance has been included perhaps because of its compulsory nature.

Barriers to insurance

Based on the survey, an astounding 82 percent of the adult population or 56.3 million Filipinos do not have insurance. A significant barrier seems to be financial with 66 percent of our adults saying that they simply do not have the money to buy insurance. A second and third barrier seems to be the lack of understanding of insurance, with 30 percent saying that they do not need insurance, and 23 percent saying that insurance is expensive. Others say that insurance provides a slow return (5 percent), and 4 percent say that they do not trust the providers, while 3 percent cited unemployment. A significant exposure of Filipinos to investment is through the Social Security System (80 percent), Pag-IBIG fund (30 percent) and Government Service Insurance System (5 percent).


Dennis B. Funa is the current insurance commissioner. Funa was appointed by President Duterte as the new insurance commissioner in December 2016. E-mail: dennisfuna@yahoo.com.




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