By Jay Ledesma

 Ignite: Passion, purpose, persistence

HAPPY Easter to all! Easter Sunday is considered by us Christians, as the most important and sacred Sunday of the entire year. It commemorates the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to heaven. Without this very important part, Jesus simply dies and that's it. But his resurrection represents something more powerful and significant: the renewal of faith, and strengthening of hope. 
Amidst the darkness, frustrations, and sadness brought by the second and more aggressive wave of the pandemic, Easter should bring and give us the renewed hope, courage, and determination to continue our battle and triumph against this unseen enemy.
This was also the underlying theme and message of the 14th Philippine Life Insurance Congress (PLIC), held last March 18-19, organized by the Life Underwriters Association of the Philippines (LUAP). 
“Entitled IGNITE: PASSION, PURPOSE, PERSISTENCE, this year’s PLIC aims to IGNITE anew the PASSION that drives all the Life Insurance Professionals in doing this noble business, to be reminded and to focus on their PURPOSE of securing the lives of the Filipinos and to have the PERSISTENCE in reaching for their dreams”, said LUAP National President Christine Paula Duran.
“As we unfold to another year, we would like to reignite the fire in each one of us. The year 2020 may be a tough one for most of us but we believe 2021 can be a better one for everyone”, Duran added. 
The local life insurance industry was not exempted from the adverse impact of the pandemic on our business sector.  While their insurance companies work on their digital platform, our life insurance professionals have to adjust, adopt and adapt to the new ways of doing their insurance selling. For most, it required a total paradigm shift...something that they have to do in order to thrive and continue their mission. 
The industry still has a gargantuan task to fulfill. The insurance penetration rate is still at a low of 1.69% as of 2019. The penetration rate is the ratio of insurance premiums to gross domestic product. On the other hand, the estimated protection gap in the country is about US dollar $500 billion. The protection gap refers to the difference between the amount of insurance that one must have and the actual amount of insurance he has. The huge amount of out-of-pocket medical expense that our COVID-patients have to shoulder is also proof of the low insurance penetration earlier mentioned. Obviously, our Financial Advisors have a lot of homework to do. And they are serious to deliver.
“Our membership is always looking for ways to better themselves so we can be more effective in doing our mission of saving lives and protecting dreams. Last 2020, during the height of the pandemic, we had our first virtual Life Insurance Congress where we had about 1,300 attendees. Encouraged by the support we got, we decided to start the year with the 14th PLIC. We’re very happy to note that our attendance grew from last year’s 1,300 to 2,013 this year. This shows that barring any pandemic, many of our members still value personal development and our organization is here to provide them the opportunity”, according to LUAP National Secretary Christina Trinitas M. Maciba. 
As in the past, the Convention organizers again wowed the audience with the roster of speakers. “They are definitely the highlights of the convention! They brought to life, through their sharing and testimonials, the real meaning of the word Ignite. You hear stories of how even adversities, challenges, and life circumstances were not able to stop these inspiring men and women from reaching their goals and purpose in life. Through courage, persistence, passion in their crafts, and simply not giving up, they were able to achieve success in their respective fields. Considering the situation we are in, their sharing is very relevant and relatable and very empowering”, as shared by Convention Chair Mr. Willison Yu. 
As the Convention coincided with the celebration of International Women’s Month, they brought in local and international empowered women speakers. These women shared how they led, conquered challenges, and uplifted the lives of other women. They surely inspired many as we continue our fight against COVID-19. 
As shared by one of the attendees MDRT Grape Chua, “What struck me the most was Ms. Mallory Weggemann’s story. The way she chose to fight and continue her passion even under the most devastating circumstance in her life. The way she set her mind not on winning but on the things that she needs to do in order to win. And I quote: Success is not about the outcome. It is about the journey. It’s about the fight...”
Chua continued, “PLIC has been very helpful to the advisors like me even pre-pandemic for the learnings that we get from each of the speakers they have featured. But more so now, because I have been assured that I am not alone...that these achievers have gone through the same dilemma as mine and still succeeded. It has uplifted my spirit more to continue what I have been doing, saving lives”. 
It is a reality that in the Philippines, life insurance is still sold, not bought. We still cannot expect the majority of Filipinos to seek and buy insurance coverage. Still, we need someone to bring up the matter and be very persistent and persuasive just to even make us listen. We need our professional Financial Advisors to help us race against the risks of life. 
It’s good that LUA-P is making sure that amidst the backdrop of this health crisis, its membership is reignited on its passion, purpose, and persistence to help more Filipinos achieve financial independence. 


About the Columnist

Image of Jay Ledesma

Ms. Jay Ledesma writes about local tourism and business bits that delve on investments and insurance.