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Gift of Foresight

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As urbanized lives get more stressful and complicated, people long for a more lasting and permanent legacy, for a gift that keeps on giving.

Cars. Credit cards. Club memberships. Condos.
These are the 4Cs of distinction that mark successful professionals.

But if someone were to ask upwardly mobile individuals if an insurance policy were among the things they wished to acquire, chances are the one posing the question would just get a quizzical look.

To majority of Filipinos, there is simply no strong motivation to get an insurance plan.

“The Filipino “bahala na mentality” is carried over to his attitude towards insurance,” notes Jaime Fernandez Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Beneficial-PNB Life Insurance Company or Benlife. This is quite unfortunate because getting protected against the adverse effects of an unforeseen event can be as affordable as two bottles of beer a day,” he explains.

An officer of the wholly Filipino-owned insurance company for many years, Fernandez has plenty of insight into the psyche of the local customer. He also has a deep understanding of the role of insurance in his hierarchy of needs.

The Filipino, he observes, tends to live for the moment. This explains the fascination with cars and other transient worldly matters. Hedonistic and easy-going by nature, he displays a strong inclination to leave everything to chance.

But the times, as they say, they are a-changing. Nowadays, there is a strong groundswell of desire to achieve the Filipino dream of a more stable and comfortable life for his family. This would account for the exodus of families leaving for greener pastures abroad. As urbanized lives get more stressful and complicated, there is a nascent longing for a more lasting and permanent legacy that will provide individuals with a sense of balance and future.

One of the by-products of this trend is the ascendance of the pre-need industry.

“I have never seen more young people die of lifestyle diseases than today,” says Fernandez. “The number of unexpected deaths is increasing and this makes pre-need an eventuality that can no longer be ignored,” he states.

Benlife does its share to nourish the Filipino dream by providing indemnification services to financial institutions. Simply put, the company guarantees to pay off the balance of a bank loan in case of the borrower’s unexpected death. This mechanism protects the assets of the borrower to ensure his family and loves ones will not have to go through the indignity of discomfort of foreclosing on their mortgage, car, and even credit card loans. They do not have to suffer from economic dislocation, and can continue to live in the manner in which they have been accustomed. Among entrepreneurs, the business they leave behind can still live on.

Fernandez reminds people that insurance can be used not only for protection but also for investment purposes. “People overlook the fact that insurance has a corresponding cash value.” These days, there are plenty of payment options available to an individual. An entrepreneur in his 40s, for instance, can choose to receive his endowment package after 15 years as one lump sum payment to finance travel plans with his wife or family upon retirement. Or he could opt for payment on a staggered basis or by instalment to finance seasonal needs. In other words, there are now a variety of products and benefits tailored to meet the specific requirements of particular customers.

For the average Filipino, Benlife has devised the following products:

• Money Accumulator Pension Plus
A pension and life insurance plan that provides protection even after maturity of the program

• A.C.A.D.E.M.I.C. Life Program or Assured Child’s Development and Excellence through a Managed Insurance Cover. For very affordable children’s education competitive to those offered by other companies.

• Multi-Life Protector comprehensive package. Grants complementary cover of life insurance and hospitalisation benefits.

To the 4Cs of distinction that mark successful individuals. Benlife adds another: Commitment to look after the security and well being of family, even after one has passed on. This is the essence of the Filipino dream. For those who are willing to work hard to reach their aspirations, the sky’s the limit. For what one can conceive and believe, he can surely achieve.

Source: Business Line Vol. 1 No. 3 2003

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