The concept of insurance came into the Philippines during the Spanish era. The first insurer was a London-based company, followed by a Canadian firm that introduced life insurance in 1898. After more than a century, how’s the insurance market in the archipelago? According to the latest data, the insurance penetration rate in the Philippines stands at 1.89 percent as of 2016, from the previous year’s 1.75 percent. This includes life and non-life insurance markets. The growth of the life insurance market has been impressive with premiums growing at 13.5 percent in 2016.
The continued growth of the Philippines’ insurance industry is a testament of the improving perspective on risk management and personal finance and investment. However, it could be better. There are more than 100 million Filipinos today, yet only a small population of people are insured or know the importance of insurance products. What’s holding back the common Filipino? Here are 6 excuses people should be ditching soon.
#1: “I don’t need it. Nothing bad will happen to me.”
English actor Christopher Bullock said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Everything else is a probability, including accidents, illnesses and sudden loss of income. Filipinos’ positive disposition is a notable trait, but not when it comes to risk management. Who could anticipate a car crash or a sick stomach in the middle of vacation? No one. An accident insurance is your safety net when tragedy strikes. Stop pretending that you can accurately predict your future because aside from death and taxes, the only thing you can be sure of is that life’s full of surprises.
#2: “I don’t have budget for an insurance.”
Sure. If you have money to spare for an expensive sweetened coffee, why can’t you pay for an insurance plan? For your weekly trip to the coffee shop, you’re likely spending between Php300 to Php500 – that’s an easy Php1,200 to Php2,000 per month or Php14,400 to Php24,000 per year! Do you know that for the price of a cup of artisan coffee you can insure your family for a year? Your yearly expenditure on your coffee shop trips can even allow you to start a small business or open a stock portfolio. The problem is NOT your budget but your money management.
#3: “Insurance? Maybe next time when I have the time.”
Don’t you just wish that you have a superpower that lets you suspend or turn back time? Imagine being able to escape a devastating road accident or avoiding dengue-infected mosquito. Well, the real world is not a Marvel comic book. There are no super humans and things happen whether we like it or not. There’s no way of preventing accidents because that’s what they are — accidents.
An insurance agent is probably not your most favorite person, but if you want to protect yourself from loss of income due to an unforeseen event, then you need to get an insurance coverage as soon as possible. What’s wrong with listening to an overexcited insurance agent for an hour in exchange for peace of mind? By the way, you can apply for an insurance over-the-counter so you can skip the sales talk.
#4: “I have enough savings that’ll take care of me when something bad happens.”
Why is it so important for everyone to have a good grasp of personal financial management? Because you need to distinguish “insurance” from “savings” and “investment.” Insurance is your buffer against unexpected expenses so you won’t need to spend your savings and liquidate your investments. Your savings is for short- and long-term costs including your son’s tuition fee and your dream car. Investments are boosters for your savings so you can increase your income and retirement pot.
People with no health or accident insurance are at risk of drying up their bank accounts in the event of a medical emergency. A trip to the emergency room for a simple surgery can easily cost you your month’s salary. Can you imagine how much you’ll need if you need to undergo a serious operation?
#5: “I’m sure my family and friends will help me in times of need.”
Filipinos are blessed with close-knit families and communities that offer support whenever needed. The culture of bayanihan remains alive even in this age of emojis and group chats. You can’t discount how far people will go to come to your rescue, but this doesn’t mean that they’re under obligation to always bail you out of your troubles. Don’t use their affection as a silly excuse of not getting your finances in order. They also need to pay rent, settle debts and make sure they retire comfortably. Getting yourself insured is not only for your sake. It’s also for the good of your loved ones, especially if you have dependents. It’s not fair to burden other people with matters that you can easily prepare for with proper planning.
#6: “God cannot let anything bad happen to me.”
Sorry, but we’re playing the religion/faith card here. Filipinos are deeply religious people, and that’s a good thing as long as you don’t lose your sense of reality. You’re exposed to risks everyday and someday, you’ll die — these are facts.
Your faith shouldn’t have anything to do with your personal financial planning. Getting an insurance for you and your family doesn’t mean that you trust your God less. In fact, you’re proving your love to others by not burdening them when you suddenly get ill, injured or unexpectedly kick the bucket. Don’t all religions teach the lesson of loving others including your enemies? Let’s just say that managing your earthly possession well, such as getting adequate insurance cover, is a sign of your love for others.
More Filipinos are educating themselves about personal finance and investments. This is a good indication that the nation and its people are progressing. Although customs and traditions can somehow get in the way of progress, these shouldn’t stop you from being more open about risks and facing the truths of life. Filipinos typically ask help from their kin in times of trouble, but to move forward as a nation, people should learn to take responsibility for their decisions and their lives. Managing your finances wisely is the first step.
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Patricia Evans is an interior designer, Huffington Post UK blogger, and a full time mother. She worked in Marketing before but she quit her job to pursue her true passion: interior decorating. She is also into green and simple living; she loves cooking and having tea.