Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. (SLOCPI), a life insurance provider in the Philippines and Voyager Innovations, the digital innovations arm of leading Philippine telco PLDT and its mobile provider Smart Communications, Inc., have entered into a strategic partnership for the development of financial technology or “fintech” services for emerging markets, starting with the Philippines.
Announced during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona, Spain, the collaboration focuses on the intersections of digital and mobile technologies with insurance services. The partners are also looking at leveraging Voyager Innovations’ various digital platforms for combined synergies in the intersecting technology and financial services arenas.
Commenting on the strategic partnership, Sun Life Philippines President & Chief Executive Officer Rizalina Mantaring said, “We are set on redefining the insurance industry in this age of digital and we see this partnership with Voyager Innovations as a move towards being able to offer more innovative and financially inclusive insurance services through fintech.”
“Sun Life is one of the largest and most trusted brands in the insurance industry and their experience will give this partnership great depth and reach. We see the vast opportunities that the insurance business can give to our fintech initiatives, part of our mission of enabling more financial inclusion in the Philippines and beyond, through digital platforms,” said Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO of Voyager Innovations.
The partnership comes at an opportune time for the insurance industry in the Philippines. Life insurance penetration in the Philippines remains to be low. However, the Insurance Commission (IC) said that with more Filipinos buying insurance, it is possible that the industry will have 45% of the population covered by insurance by the end of 2016.
For the life insurance sector alone, IC data showed that premium income grew by 18.8 percent to P188.5 billion in 2015 from P158.7 Billion in 2014. In its landmark National Strategy for Financial Inclusion published in July 2015, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) sees insurance as an important financial product that provides financial risk protection for Filipinos.
“With booming economy, young demographics and rapidly accelerating mobile Internet penetration in emerging markets such as the Philippines, a low insurance penetration rate translates to a huge opportunity for us to be able to offer radically innovative fintech services across the market. This collaboration with Sun Life is a step towards that direction,” said Lito Villanueva, managing director for fintech, digital inclusion and alliances at Voyager Innovations.
Voyager Innovations counts fintech as among its important areas for innovations, creating platforms and services for emerging market economies starting with the Philippines. Together with the digital payments platforms of PayMaya Philippines, the market leading fintech platforms of Voyager Innovations are vital components of the digital pivot of PLDT and Smart.
Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies, a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. It has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2015, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $891 billion.