MANILA -- The government targets to place 11 million more Filipinos under microinsurance coverage in the next four years to provide protection and financial security especially in times of calamities.

“We would like to cover at least 50 million (Filipinos) by 2022… Actually, we want to go to farmers insurance,” Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Gil Beltran told reporters Tuesday night on the sidelines of a briefing on German-Philippine cooperation in shaping inclusive insurance.

Beltran said microinsurance, a product for low-income people, covered 38.9 million Filipinos in 2018 from just less than 3 million reported in 2009.

He bared a plan to transform the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) into a reinsurer instead of competing with the private sector as an insurer.

“So once this takes effect, the private provision of farmers insurance will become more competitive,” Beltran said.

“Let the private sector provide the product and let the PCIC become a more active, play a more active role as a reinsurer to diversify the risk. Because microinsurance providers, they are limited to certain areas and if a typhoon strikes and everything is wiped out, so kawawa siya (pitiful),” he added.

The DOF official also expressed hope that the passage of the fourth package of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law lowering the taxes on financial assets and removing the exceptions for some products could entice more Filipinos to secure microinsurance.

In his speech, Beltran cited a success story of microinsurance in Philippines.

He recalled that in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013, those covered with microinsurance claimed an estimated PHP500 million.

Beltran said claims were made mostly from non-banking institutions like pawnshops and remittance centers -both of which cater and were more accessible to those in the lower classes.

“These claims have been vital in the rehabilitation of survivors. This shows that beyond accomplishing the goal of financial inclusion, microinsurance also took on the role of social safety net for vulnerable segments of the population,” he added. (PNA)