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Disclaimer: Grit PH is not affiliated with any of the insurance companies featured in this article. The sole purpose of this guide is to educate our readers on how to effectively choose life insurance policies.
In 2018, the percentage of Filipinos who have life insurance passed the halfway mark of the country’s total population.
Out of an estimated 104.9 million Filipinos, 52.07 percent are reported to have life insurance coverage.
It’s good to see that more of our fellow Kabayans are realizing the importance of Life Insurance.
But aside from the financial support to the principal’s surviving family, what other benefits can be gained from it? And what are the different types of Life insurance?
What is Life Insurance?
Life insurance is a type of insurance that compensates your beneficiaries when you die. The company will guarantee a payout for your beneficiaries (people you designate to receive the compensation) in exchange of premiums (payments you need to make). The compensation your recipients will receive is called a “death benefit.”
Here’s a quick scenario to explain the elements of life insurance.
Juan purchases life insurance from Dependable Life Insurance Company. After the assessment, his contract looks like this:
Premium: Php2,000 per month. That’s the amount he needs to pay per month during the duration of the policy.
Beneficiary: Susan, his wife. She will receive the death benefit when Juan dies.
Death benefit: Php1 million. The amount that Susan will get when Juan dies.
Insurance companies earn by investing the money you pay (premiums) for the policy.
If someone purchases a 10-year policy, the insurance company gets to earn from the interest from the premiums until the contract expires or when the policyholder dies.
However, insurance companies are taking a risk in guaranteeing a payout. If a policyholder dies in the third year of a ten year policy, the company needs to pay the full death benefit amount to beneficiaries.
This is why older people and those with health issues have to pay higher premiums since they carry significantly more risk versus healthier policyholders.
When you apply for life insurance, you will have to answer questions about your health and lifestyle and undergo a medical exam. They will then place you in the corresponding health class or risk category based on your score.
Your risk category is the biggest determinant of how much premiums you will pay for insurance.
The better health you have, the better rates you’ll get. Here are some of the most common classifications used based on risk category:
Preferred Plus – The best classification you can get. It means you’re in excellent health, your weight is normal, no history of smoking, no chronic illnesses, and no history of a family member suffering from a life-threatening disease.
Preferred – You’re in excellent health but may have minor issues on cholesterol or blood pressure (that are well-controlled).
Standard Plus – You’re in very good health but some factors like high blood pressure or being overweight prevents you from getting a better rating.
Standard – Most policyholders are tagged with this health class. You’re deemed to be healthy in general and have a normal life expectancy. A family member may have a history of life-threatening disease. You have a few minor health issues such as being overweight or have high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Substandard – People with serious health issues like diabetes or heart disease are placed on a table rating system, ranked from highest to lowest using letters or numbers. On average, you’re premiums will be similar with Standard with an additional 25% the lower you get on table ratings.
Smokers – Due to the added risk of smoking, they are guaranteed to pay more.
Aside from health class, age is also a critical factor in determining your premiums. The older you are, the more expensive your payments will get.
Benefits of Life Insurance
To give us a better idea of what life insurance brings to the table, here’s a list of its top 5 benefits.
Pays for Medical and Funeral costs
One important financial problem that life insurance helps solve is the incurred expenses for medical and funeral expenses.
Both are huge money drains if not prepared for and can cause further grief among family and relatives.
With life insurance, you ensure that your loved ones will have the necessary financial support for both hospital and funeral bills.
The loss of a family member, especially if he or she is an income provider, is a huge undertaking both emotionally and financially to the surviving family.
This could deal a huge blow to their standard of living since it severely affects their source of income.
With life insurance, the impact of this loss can be lessened as it can act as the family’s source of temporary income especially during the difficult period of adjusting and coping with the loss of a loved one.
Funding Various Financial Goals
Life Insurance offers additional benefits through the form of fund accumulation for specific future financial goals.
Principal holders can use it to help save for their kids’ college education, purchase a house, and even serve as a resource for funding a business idea.
Acts as a Retirement Nest Egg
Modern life insurance also serves as a tool that principal holders can use to get in a better financial position in the future.
Most products come with a long term maturity option, which promises a lump sum amount that can act as a hedge against financial worries during your retirement.
Related: PERA: How to Invest in Personal Equity & Retirement Account
Covers costs incurred from taxes and debt
Benjamin Franklin once famously said “There are only two sure things in life, death and taxes”. An advice that reminds us that both are a part of life.
Which is why it’s such a huge financial problem when the deceased family member leaves behind unsettled debts and taxes.
Not only will the surviving family assume responsibility of paying them off, it could also strip them of access to any valuable resource and property that the deceased left behind since these will be used as payment instead.
Life insurance could act as protection in this type situation since the premium can be used to pay for unsettled debts and taxes.
Types of Life Insurance
As G.I Joe once said, “Knowing is half the battle”. Equipping yourself with the right information makes for better decisions. Let’s take a look at the 4 different types of Life Insurance so we can zero-in on their features.
This type of life insurance policy grants a lump sum after a specified amount of time or upon death. The policy owner is required to pay the premium for a predetermined number of years or until a specific age is reached.
- Allows for saving up for specific purposes (college fund, retirement)
- Guaranteed returns upon maturity
- Offers some form of insurance coverage
- Higher premiums compared to other types of life insurance
- Not the best option for those looking at full life protection
This is the simplest form of life insurance you can obtain. Upon death, the beneficiaries are paid the benefit.
- Low premium requirements
Strongoption for policyholders who need insurance but can’t afford whole life or endowment
- Easy to understand
- No benefits if policyholder outlives the term period set
- Premium usually gets higher upon renewal of terms
This type of life insurance provides coverage for the policyholder’s entire life or until they reach 100 years old. It acts as both protection and savings mechanism since a portion of the premium is allocated to build up cash values.
- Offers permanent protection for full life or 100 years
- Flexible in terms of payments of
- Fixed premiums
- Comes with additional features and “living” benefits
- Higher premiums
- Can be harder to understand due to complexity versus other types
Variable Universal Life (VUL)
This type of life insurance serves as both life protection and investment vehicle in one package.
A portion of the premium is allocated into various investment vehicles for the purposes of wealth creation. The contract’s earnings are based on the performance of selected investments.
- Dual purpose: Life insurance plus investment tool
- No maturity age
- Cash value is payable along with the assured sum
- Death component not limited to
- Liquidity – wherein you can access your funds in times of need (and can serve as storage for emergency funds).
- Cash values and dividends are not guaranteed
- Face amount and death benefit is dependent on investment performance
- Includes various investment fees
BTID (Buy Term, Invest Difference)
BTID is the practice of buying term insurance and investing the difference in costs of getting a VUL on your own.
As opposed to the simpler approach of VUL, where all you need to worry about is paying premiums regularly, with BTID, you can craft your own investment strategy and have your pick from various vehicles like mutual and index funds.
While doing so requires both financial discipline and ample investment know-how, this practice enables you to maximize growth potential.
- Lower fees compared to universal life insurance and VUL.
- You can choose and manage your own investments (This also saves you from certain fees like management fees).
- Ability to place money in various mutual funds and withdraw anytime you need it.
- Higher potential investment returns.
- Pricier for those opting for long-term coverage, as typical BTID premiums increase every five years.
- With BTID, you need to split what would go to your insurance and what you’ll invest every single time. This means that after paying your premiums, the money for investment can feel like disposable income instead of resources to invest with.
- Everything is DIY. Unlike VUL, you need to have ample insurance and investment knowledge. Without the necessary financial know-how and discipline, this approach is almost guaranteed to backfire.
BTID sample computation:
A whole life insurance for a 25-year-old male with a life coverage of P1,000,000, for example, will typically cost around P25,000 a year, while BTID is usually around P10,000. In this case, the difference of P15,000 can be invested in different investment vehicles.
Additionally, you can open an account to buy shares from most stockbrokers for as low as P5,000. If you’ve yet to feel comfortable in entering the stock market, you can opt to buy units in mutual funds from COL or Sun Life instead.
Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in the Philippines
As more Filipinos become financially-wise in this ever-changing economic landscape, which life insurance companies are the top go-to’s for someone looking to get a life insurance?
And now that we have an overview of what life insurance is and its various types, let’s now have a look at the top insurance companies in the Philippines offering these products.
1. Sun Life of Canada (Philippines)
Founded in 1895, Sun Life Of Canada (Philippines), Inc. is a subsidiary under Sun Life of Canada (Netherlands) and offers services a wide range of financial products: Insurance, wealth, and asset management.
These include financial services for education, estate preservation, health protection, income continuation, retirement, group life, and other insurance products.
Why Choose Sun Life?
Sun Life generated the most revenue from the total premium they charge on their policies (for both traditional and variable plans) in 2019 (at P39.5B).
They also topped the list for NBAPE (New Business Annual Premium Equivalent) – outranking 29 other listed life insurance companies in the country.
And remained the most profitable by having the highest net income out of all the listed insurance companies (earning P8,210,981,224 last year).
All these solidify Sun Life’s ability to take care and grow your hard-earned money.
2. Pru Life Insurance Corp. of U.K.
Pru Life Insurance Corp. of U.K. was founded in 1848 and has headquarters across the world, with its main in London, UK.
They offer a wide range of retail financial products and services, and asset management services in Asia, which has a strong presence in the Philippines.
Aside from life insurance products, they also offer health and protection services and have partnered with a long list of banking institutions.
Sample Pru Life Insurance Quotes:
*Rates are for informational purposes only and are subject to change:
|20||P2,000 – P3,500/month||P3,500 – P5,000/month||P5,000+/month|
|30||P4,000 – P5,000/month||P5,000 – P6,000/month||P7,000/month|
|40||P6,000 – P7,000/month||P7,000 – P8,000/month||P8,000+/month|
|50||P7,000 – P8,000/month||P8,000 – P10,000/month||P15,000+/month|
Why Choose Pru Life?
Aside from providing the most affordable premiums in the market (for VUL policies), they also ranked #2 in NBAPE (valued at P7,670,306,621 in 2019).
Minimum Investment (Term Insurance): P750 per month
- Sum Assured/ Death Benefit: P1M depending on the age
- Total and Permanent Disability: P100,000 – P500,000 depending on the age
- Accidental Death and Disablement: P100,000 – P500,000 depending on the age
- Critical Illness: P100,000 – P500,000 depending on the age
Minimum Investment (VUL): P1,500 per month
- Sum Assured/ Death Benefit: P1M depending on the age
- Total and Permanent Disability: P200,000 – P500,000 depending on the age
- Accidental Death and Disablement: P200,000 – P500,000 depending on the age
- Critical Illness: P200,000 – P500,000 depending on age.
3. Philippine AXA Life Insurance, Corp.
Founded in 1962, Philippines AXA Life Insurance Corporation is a major player in the insurance industry.
Their products range from educational, health, income protection, investments, and many others. The company is headquartered in Makati City.
Why Choose Philippine AXA?
Philippine AXA has been a steady player in the Insurance Commission’s top 10 lists over the past few years, earning:
- rank #3 in Total NBAPE – P5,497,228,940
- rank #3 in Total Premium Income – P26,236,763,146
- rank #4 in Net Income – P3,388,641,553
- rank #4 in Assets – P127,551,783,462
- rank #6 in Networth – P8,285,050,497
- rank #7 in Paid-up Capital – P1,000,000,000
4. Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company, Inc.
Founded in 1947, Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company, Inc. specializes in life insurance and investment products which include: protection, health and accident, savings, education, and investment plans, as well as wellness programs and financial plans.
Their main offices are located in Taguig.
Why Choose Philam Life?
Philam Life still has the highest networth (at P87.7 billion) and have the most assets (at P290.2 billion) out of all the registered life insurance companies in the Philippines.
5. BPI-Philam Life Assurance Corporation
Established in 1933, the company used to be known as Ayala Life Assurance Incorporated. It operates as a subsidiary of Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company, Inc.
6. BDO Life Assce. Co., lnc. (Generali Pilipinas Life)
Originally called Generali Pilipinas Holding Co. Inc., BDO Unibank Inc. acquired the company in 2016 and is currently operating as a subsidiary of BDO Unibank, Inc.
They offer a host of financial and investment services that range from insurance, health, education, and other financial services.
Why Choose BDO Life / Generali Life?
Aside from being run by one of the biggest banks/corporations in the country, they’ve also had immense growth over the past year (ranking within the top 10 on all key categories):
- Total NBAPE (6th) – P3,676,916,026
- Total Premium Income (7th) – P14,875,396,349
- Net Income (7th) – P2,225,365,775
- Networth (5th) – P9,007,078,835
- Assets (8th) – P56,516,354,142
- Paid-Up Capital (4th) – P1,593,132,400
7. Manulife Philippines
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company Philippines, Inc or more popularly known here as Manulife, is a financial company that specializes in pension and education, investment, medical, employee security, corporate, student personal accident, credit life, and other insurance plans.
Their Philippine arm is operating under Manulife Financial Asia Limited.
8. FWD Life Insurance Corporation
FWD Life Insurance Corporation, also called FWD Insurance or FWD Life, is one of the fastest-growing insurance firms in the Philippines. Launched in 2014, it has the highest paid-up capital among life insurance companies in the country. FWD Insurance allows its customers to manage their policies on their mobile devices through an app called Tapp.
FWD Insurance has an array of life insurance and health insurance plans as well as life insurance with investment products.
Among its unique offerings
Why Choose FWD Insurance?
Despite being relatively new in the Philippine market, FWD has been very aggressive in growing its customer base over the past year.
FWD Insurance also raised the most money from shareholders in exchange for shares of stocks (receiving P2.3 billion in 2018).
9. United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corporation
Founded in 1966, UCPB Life Assurance Corp specializes in life insurance underwriting. They also offer services for non-life, healthcare, mutual fund products – covering protection, education, pension/retirement, and memorial insurance plans.
10. Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd.
Founded in 1910, Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd. provides saving plans for education and retirement; accident, health, disability, and payer’s protection plans; and investment plans for Filipinos.
They also offer health, group protection, and retirement plan services. They have strong connections with the country’s 2,868 hospitals, outpatient facilities, and dental clinics. Their main headquarters is located in Muntinlupa.
Bonus: Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Corporation
Founded in 1998, the company used to be known as Prumerica Life Insurance Company, Inc. After getting acquired by Manulife in 2006, it changed its name to Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Corporation and offers financial services to China Bank customers.
The list below is based on last year’s (2019) submitted unaudited quarterly statistics for each insurance company.
Here are the Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in the Philippines based on New Business Annual Premium Equivalent [NBAPE]:
|wdt_ID||Insurance Company||Total NBAPE|
|1||Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.||P9,613,968,994|
|2||PRU Life Insurance Corporation of U.K.||P7,670,306,621|
|3||Philippine Axa Life Insurance Corporation||P5,497,228,940|
|4||Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.(Phils.), Inc., The||P4,358,045,029|
|5||BPI-Philam Life Assurance Corporation||P3,903,271,770|
|6||BDO Life Assurance Company, Inc.||P3,676,916,026|
|7||Philippine American Life & Gen. Ins. Co. (life unit )||P3,475,138,508|
|8||FWD Life Insurance Corporation||P2,936,592,061|
|9||United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corp.||P2,175,946,553|
|10||Insular Life Assurance Company, Limited, The||P1,913,216,661|
How to find the best life insurance company and policy for you
Deciding on which insurance company to entrust your hard-earned money is key essential. After all, you’re not doing this for yourself, you’re doing this mainly for your loved ones.
On this section of our guide, we’ll provide you with tips on how to choose your insurance company and how to compare insurance policies.
Qualities to look for in Life Insurance Providers:
Companyshould be listed as a licensed insurance firm (check out the Insurance Commission’s list to verify)
- Check the company’s background in the insurance industry. Ideally, you should pick one with an outstanding reputation.
- Check the company’s financial performance. High net worth and high premium income may be good indicators (refer to the list of the top insurance companies we’ve listed above).
Tips on how to compare Life Insurance policies
1. Reach out to agents from different insurance companies so you can get an overview of the products they offer
2. Request for copies of their brochures and other paperwork to get a detailed overview of their benefits and premiums.
You can also Google these online if it’s available on their website.
3. Make a comparative analysis of their benefits and riders.
Decide on which ones you want to make a priority and which one you can deal without
4. Make a comparative analysis of their premiums.
No one insurance company or product are the same. Some may offer more benefits and features for the same premium price.
Like a smart shopper, balance out each product’s pros and cons and determine which one fits your needs best
5. Make sure you understand and review the contract before signing up.
Some important factors to note are insurance charges and overall fees.
Remember, you’ll be paying on a regular basis so knowing how your money is being used for your insurance is crucial.
6. Be thorough and ask questions.
Most agents are more than happy to discuss their products with you. Take this as an opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of what they offer.
If you find something difficult to understand, have them explain it to you in the clearest way possible. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, mind you, it’s your money.
Knowing if you’re choosing the right insurance and insurance provider is essential to getting the most out of your investment.
How to Avail Life Insurance Online
The traditional way of getting life insurance coverage in the Philippines is through insurance brokers.
Representatives from various insurance companies typically conduct a sit-down session with the potential policyholder to discuss their options and come up with the best matching policy for their needs.
Applying via the Insurance Company’s website
Nowadays, you can look up insurance companies online to view their offerings.
However, the option to actually purchase a policy completely online in the Philippines is quite rare as most insurance company websites will require you to connect with an actual representative/broker first.
In the US, direct-to-consumer term life insurance companies have grown in numbers in the last few years because of the way they have made the usual painstaking process (of acquiring life insurance) so much more easy and fast.
Companies like Haven, Ladder, Bestow, Ethos, and others leverage the latest advancements in AI and Big Data to completely change the way US citizens get their life insurance coverage.
To be clear, however, these DTC Insurance companies abroad essentially serve as the “front-side”, focusing on creation, distribution, and administration of insurance products through their advanced methodologies.
For the actual “insurance” part, they have partnered with traditional and well-known insurance companies to provide the actual benefits and claims.
In the Philippines, a couple of companies have started to establish themselves locally to provide a similar service. Check out our list below for more details on these up-and-coming InsureTech companies.
What is InsureTech?
InsureTech is short for “Insurance Technology”, a segment of FinTech (Financial Technology) that focuses on making the process of acquiring insurance faster and more convenient.
Some InsureTech companies are focused on the distribution stage, employing methods for making it easier for consumers to get life insurance policies.
Others are software/algorithm-focused companies that create software for aiding policy administration of actual insurance companies.
InsureTech companies coming to the Philippines
The following are InsureTech companies that will be establishing their services locally. Their goal is to provide a more convenient and digital-centric experience for life insurance products and services.
SingLife has partnered with the likes of ATRAM (asset management firm), UnionBank, and GCash to provide a direct-to-consumer, mobile-first platform for purchasing and managing an insurance policy.
Saphron’s goal is to increase financial inclusion in Southeast Asia and make insurance easily accessible to all.
Their aim is to build an enterprise solution for insurance providers (among others) and provide a digital experience that facilitates the purchase, payments, and claims processes.
It’s an upcoming online insurance marketplace that aims to provide a platform for Filipinos where they can purchase different types of insurance products (travel insurance, health insurance, life insurance, car insurance, etc.,) from various insurance firms.
How to File an Insurance Claim in the Philippines
Filing an insurance claim is a pretty straightforward process. Here are the usual steps required.
STEP 1: Obtain the requirements
The first step will be to determine what type of documents you need to present for the claim.
These requirements may vary depending on the type of claim and insurance company. See the requirements section below for additional info on the types of documents you may need to submit for each claim.
STEP 2: Submit the requirements
Once all requirements are gathered, submit them via the insurance company’s official website or by handing it over to your financial advisor.
Frequently Asked Questions on Life Insurance Claims
How can I submit the required documents?
Most insurance companies nowadays allow you to upload the documents via the website. The best thing to do is to visit the site and check if there’s such an option.
If there’s none, you can always reach out to your insurance agent and have him or her assist in submitting the requirements. Lastly, you can visit and submit the requirements at the insurance company’s nearest branch.
How long does it take to process a claim?
It depends on the type of claim and the claims process/timeline of each insurance company. In general though most insurers can release the payout within a few business days to a few weeks.
How will I receive the payment?
Most insurers will either issue a cheque or send the payment directly to your enrolled bank.
General Requirements for Death Claims
- Official Claimant form
- Policy number
- Death Certificate of the insured (issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO). If death occurred abroad, death certificate must be authenticated by the Philippine embassy/consulate in the place of death)
- Valid IDs
General Requirements for Other Types of Claims (Medical, Pre-need, Accident, etc.,)
- Claimant statement form
- Valid IDs
- Attending Physician Statement Document
- Hospital bill receipts (medical reimbursements)
- Police or incident reports (if caused by an accident)
- Certified True Copy of Operating Room Record (for hospital claims on operation/surgery-related issues)
- Complete medical records
- Marriage Certificate – when the spouse is the beneficiary
- Birth Certificate of the child – when the child is the beneficiary
- Affidavit of Legal Guardianship – when the beneficiary is a minor
- Judicial Bond obtained by the surviving parent or other Legal Guardian and approved by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) – If the share of the minor is greater than Php500,000
- Birth Certificate of the Insured – when the parents of the policyholder are the beneficiaries
- Joint-Affidavit of Two Disinterested Persons – If there are discrepancies in the names of the Insured or beneficiary/ies
- Police Investigation Report –for deaths caused by accidents
- Autopsy report
- Toxicology report