Improved digital infra boosts financial literacy

By Joann Villanueva

November 19, 2021, 7:24 pm

MANILA – Further improvement of digital infrastructure, as well as the incorporation of financial literacy in the basic education system, are expected to help boost financial literacy in the country. 
In a reply to emailed questions from the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Insular Life (InLife) chief marketing officer Gae Martinez said the company backs the government’s move to reach more uninsured and underinsured Filipinos through financial literacy. 
“We laud (the) government’s efforts to strengthen our digital infrastructure because we also believe this is an important way to reach more people, especially in remote areas where financial literacy is needed. Strengthening our digital infrastructure also opens up the opportunity for more partnerships with insurtech and fintech companies that are reducing concerns on the number of unbanked Filipinos,” she said. 
Recently, Inlife announced its partnership with online health insurance marketplace in the country, Maria Health. The tie-up gives the largest Filipino-owned insurance firm a board seat in the tech firm. 
Martinez also cited the importance of incorporating financial literacy in the basic education system, noting that corporate foundations have been working with the Department of Education (DepEd) on developing financial literacy programs. 
“Financial preparedness should be deeply ingrained in our youth to ensure they are financially secure in the future,” she said. 
For one, Martinez said Insular Foundation has developed four storybooks, in coordination with Adarna House, to teach the value of savings and entrepreneurship to students from Kinder to Grade 4. 
She said they have distributed 20,000 copies of the books to public school students. 
The company’s financial literacy initiatives also cover women empowerment through the InLife Sheroes program, as well as teachers, which is being extended with the help of PLDT’s Gabay Guro program, among others. 
Martinez said Filipinos’ financial knowledge has improved, noting greater awareness of financial preparedness. 
This transpired “because insurance has become more accessible to many, and people have been buying insurance from these new channels,” she said. 
Aside from insurance agents, Martinez said people can buy insurance products through insurance firms’ websites, e-commerce sites like Lazada, Unionbank Marketplace, and mobile wallets like GCash.
“Our subsidiary Insular Health Care has also made their products more accessible to Filipinos through the sale of prepaid insurance cards on their website,” she said. 
Filipinos’ awareness of the need to have life and health protection increased during the pandemic, she said, citing a recent study by a leading professional services firm, SGV. 
Results of the study showed that around 74 percent of those who said they are affected by the pandemic are millennials or those younger than 44 years old. 
“They have expressed a desire to address their finances following their experiences during the pandemic by saving more, making emergency plans, and purchasing new forms of insurance coverage,” Martinez added. (PNA)