FWD Life aiming to build on its first-year success in Cagayan de Oro

FWD Life Philippines, the fastest growing life insurance company in the Philippines today, sees the continued emergence and development of Cagayan de Oro as a strong indication that it will continue to significantly contribute to the company’s presence and business performance in the country. 

FWD Life Philippines, the fastest growing life insurance company in the Philippines today, sees the continued emergence and development of Cagayan de Oro as a strong indication that it will continue to significantly contribute to the company’s presence and business performance in the country. The company, the first life insurer to have been granted a license to operate in the Philippines under the new Insurance Code, opened its business hub and Customer Connect Center in CDO in May 2015. The office located at the ground floor of the East Annex building in Limketkai Mall was FWD’s first expansion area outside of Metro Manila.

Dubbed by the UN Habitat as an “emerging city of tomorrow” in 2014[1], CDO boasts strong fundamentals that only serve to strengthen its case as the emerging business leader in Mindanao. “We are very bullish on the growth prospects for our business in Cagayan de Oro. It is a strategically important geography for FWD Philippines and it carries the distinction of housing our best-performing Agency Sales team nationwide in our first year of operations,” says FWD Life Philippines President and CEO, Peter Grimes. “CDO is emerging as the economic and financial center of Mindanao primarily because of its positive peace and order situation, stable power supply, steady stream of capable human resource, government efficiency, appropriate infrastructure, and the continued surge of investors in the area.”[2]

The commitment to integrate technology as a pillar of progress is one of the things that FWD proudly shares in common with Cagayan de Oro. “The rapid modernization of the city’s telecommunications and technology infrastructure has enabled us to more effectively reach larger numbers of clients in the region,” Grimes adds. “This, in turn, has resulted in FWD’s CDO Agency sales team successfully contributing almost a third of our new business Annualized Premium Equivalent (APE). Furthermore, we now have approximately 200 Financial Wealth Planners (FWPs) located in the thriving Northern Mindanao hub, as well as FWD Financial Solutions Consultants (FSCs) located in Security Bank branches locally and across the Philippines.”

Addressing the challenge

While a lot of attention has been focused on addressing the needs of the great unbanked sector, the truth is, the number of under-insured or uninsured Filipinos has increased over the years with the protection gap growing ever wider.

Insurance penetration in the Philippines, at present, stands at around 1.8% with the ASEAN markets average a little less than double that. Within this group of uninsured Filipinos are millennial-mindsetted individuals who use technology extensively to make better financial decisions and become more efficient in managing their financial resources.[3] Today’s expanding crop of Filipino achievers are highly experiential and place increasing importance on products, services and convenience that let them enjoy their individuality and pursue their passions worry free. Tech-savvy, driven, and renowned as some of the world’s most avid savers, these individuals use an array of available technology platforms and data sources to live their lives efficiently, including making better financial choices. Armed with the latest devices, they harness the knowledge and information that technology brings them to establish financial security and wisely decide on where to allocate their financial resources.

This is exactly why FWD is continually improving its user friendly technology and is committed to creating a portfolio of products that people see as relevant, intuitive, and affordable.

Cancer statistics in the Philippines, for example, are a genuine cause of concern for all, as 75% of Filipinos who succumb to this disease are under 50 years old. Northern Mindanao, specifically, has recorded the fourth highest number of cancer cases in the Philippines.[4]

“This is why we created “Fight Plan”—a cancer plan that covers all types of cancer,” Grimes shares. “Our end-view for this product is simply that no forms of cancer should be excluded because even early detection treatments cost real money and can actually pose a financial burden to Filipinos with different circumstances.”

“We will continue to introduce new health and protection products this year as we need to offer a broader range of products that address protection needs to compliment savings and investment goals; the industry is sometimes a little too obsessed with wealth creation only in my opinion, but not enough focus is placed on health and wealth protection.”

Increased momentum

Knowing that Filipinos need greater access and convenience to products and servicing in order to make transactions easier and more intuitive, FWD also continues to build its momentum and distribution reach by strengthening its Bancassurance partnership with Security Bank. “2015 was also a banner year for our excellent partnership with Security Bank and we will see continued growth in this area with the introduction of new products, expanding distribution reach, and almost doubling the number of branch-based advisers in 2016,” adds Grimes.

At the end of its first full year of operations in 2015, FWD Life—with its customer base nearing 10,000 policyholders, of which more than 10% already hail from CDO—has achieved close to Php2.4 billion in total premium income.  “With this level of production in 2015, our first full year of operations, we would expect FWD Life’s market ranking to be close to being a top 10 life insurer.  Our aim is to break into the top 10 in 2016,” Grimes shares.


[1] “Who Are The Filipino Millennials And What Are Their Spending Habits?,”  eCompareMo article dated April 2015
(HTTPS://WWW.ECOMPAREMO.COM/INFO/WHO-ARE-THE-FILIPINO-MILLENNIALS-AND-WHAT-ARE-THEIR-SPENDING-HABITS/)

[2] “CDO: Emerging business leader in Northern Mindanao,” Philstar.com article dated March 2014
(HTTP://WWW.PHILSTAR.COM/BUSINESS-USUAL/2014/03/10/1299126/CDO-EMERGING-BUSINESS-LEADER-NORTHERN-MINDANAO)

[3] “Who Are The Filipino Millennials And What Are Their Spending Habits?,”  eCompareMo article dated April 2015
(HTTPS://WWW.ECOMPAREMO.COM/INFO/WHO-ARE-THE-FILIPINO-MILLENNIALS-AND-WHAT-ARE-THEIR-SPENDING-HABITS/)

[4] “Cancer cases in Northern Mindanao rise,”  Manila Bulletin article dated February 2014
(HTTP://WWW.MB.COM.PH/CANCER-CASES-IN-NORTHERN-MINDANAO-RISE/)