MANILA -- AIA Group Limited, through its subsidiary Philam Life, is allocating PHP3 billion over the next three years to hire additional full-time professional advisors to help address the Philippines’ protection gap.

In a briefing Thursday, Philam Life Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Ang said they see huge opportunities in the country given its continued expansion.

“Given the economy and protection gap we want to have good distribution that can complement and co- exist,” he said, citing that AIA has done similar programs in other countries in the region.

Ang said the protection gap in the country is more than PHP2 billion this year alone, thus, the need to help reduce it.

He explained that the average payout for critical illness is about PHP350,000, with families of the sick left with the difficult task of raising hospitalization funds.

He said the Philippine culture, which he dubbed as family, friends and relatives or FFR, is common in Asia. However, because countries in this part of the world now have improved financial literacy, the attitude on healthcare financing is likewise changing.

People need to have their own private solution instead of relying on FFR, he said.

In 2018, the company paid PHP2.9-billion worth of protection benefits, he said.

The company targets to have additional 5,000 full-time financial advisors to help the current 8,000 full-time and part-time advisors.

“PHP3 billion, that’s the amount we need to spare to hire, to nurture, (and to) teach them from zero to become a successful adviser and to become a full time successful adviser leader,” Ang said.

The Philam chief stressed the company’s commitment to provide an affordable and comprehensive product to help address the protection gap in the country.

“We want to play this key role in distributing this product,” he said, citing that insurance protection in the country is less than two percent.

Financial literacy would play a big role in improving insurance penetration rate in the country, he added. (PNA)