Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Written for an internal newsletter, October 27, 2008.

It is very difficult to talk with clients who have been victims themselves of the past pre-need fiasco. Given their past experience in some pre-need institutions, they now have their conclusion that Philam will end up with the same situation. Many thanks to some news media who helped aggravate the growing misconception of clients, that task to convince them that we will not end up the same as the other defunct pre-need companies became much more difficult.

In order to properly address a policyholder’s concern, one must look through the policyholder’s eyes. Being a Philam policyholder myself, I had my own share of questions and made it as a guide to properly explain the situation to policyholders. The bottom-line of all these is the question, “What will happen to my money if something happens to Philamlife?” That was precisely the main thought of most of the people I talked with during my stint in the conservation team. I was stationed at Cubao RO, where I saw lots of people flocking the business center to either take out a loan, or surrender, primarily because of the news that Philamlife is for sale. I was part of a team composed of people from Philam Call Center, OFW Marketing, and Customer and Area Marketing Office.

I was able to convince a couple who wished to surrender their Pension Builder policy.
The conversation started out with both of them very much angry with the most recent news about AIG divestment and Philamlife’s “for sale” status. Their ire got even worse when they saw in the news that owners of the infamous pre-need company are planning to buy Philamlife.

I started my two-cents worth with a bit of history about the pre-need fiasco. I told them the fact that since most pre-need companies sold educational plans that were open-ended, they found it very hard to keep up with the rising tuition fees. This, coupled with laws that deregulated tuition fee increases, developed problems for pre-need companies in terms of liquidity.

I told them that Philamlife, being a leader in the life insurance industry, has no similar problem. I boasted our strong asset figures of more than P170 billion as of December 2007. Aside from this, I explained the concept of liquidity reserves, which we have accumulated to at least P76 billion. I told them that Philamlife is not closing down, but is simply being sold. The change in ownership will not affect their policies since whoever the new owner will be, the company is bound to fulfill all contractual obligations to the policyholders. The Insurance Commission has very stringent regulations to make sure that the company will honor its commitment to give the policy benefits due each Philamlife client.

To convince them further, I reassured that Philamlife is being sold not because it is going bankrupt—but rather we are considered as one of AIG’s prized assets which makes our company very attractive for prospective buyers. I added a few facts about our parent company, AIG’s current situation and the reasons why we are being sold. I strongly stated that we are not being sold because we are bankrupt, but because we are one of their strongest assets.

Then, the man asked me, “What happens if all of them withdraw?” I answered, “Then we shall give them their cash surrender values. As I have previously said, the IC attests to the fact that we can pay for all present benefits due.

The couple then added a few more minor questions on my employment status and our current situation in the company. After that, the couple’s frowns turned into nods and smiles, indications that they were somehow assured that Philamlife is not going bankrupt, but simply changing its ownership. The husband then gave me a pat on the back and jokingly said, “Okay, we believe you. Make sure you don’t close down okay?”

And I jokingly replied, “I wouldn’t be here in front of you if we are going bankrupt. I’d better be off in the streets looking for a new job.” Then we separated with smiles on our faces.


marya said...

Hi! I hope this post still holds true. We are also quite worried because we took an educational plan for our son and we have paid 2 years already and about to pay for the 3rd year. It is quite a sum so we are torn between giving it up and losing the 2 years worth of premiums or continuing and risking 5 year-worth of premiums of which neither option is not a happy one.

Jurb said...

Hi Marya!

You need not worry about your insurance policy with us. Maybe you have already heard the latest developments within the company. These developments show you that the company is stable amidst the crises. In fact, we have new products to show that Philamlife is here to stay. :)

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