The ongoing public health crisis has made more Filipinos aware of the need for insurance, and among the companies benefiting from that heightened awareness is Pru Life UK, which was ranked by the Insurance Commission as the country’s leading life insurer in terms of New Business Annual Premium Equivalent (NBAPE), the only company to see growth in NBAPE in 2020.
Here, Pru Life UK president and chief executive officer Antonio De Rosas shares with the Inquirer the strategies that contributed to Pru Life UK’s ranking in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and what it means to be a leader at this time, especially as it was achieved to mark the company’s 25th anniversary this year.
1. What do you think were the main factors behind Pru Life UK’s achievement last year, getting the top ranking in terms of new business amid the pandemic?
I would like to express my gratitude to our PRULifers – our agents, distribution partners, and employees for their steadfast commitment to deliver our products and services with excellence. We remained dedicated to executing our business strategies: building the scale and strength of our agency channel, leveraging the distribution network of our business partners, as well as rapidly expanding our digital capabilities and offerings.
Firstly, our outstanding performance was due to the hard work and perseverance of our agents. We have the largest salesforce in the industry comprising 44,000 agents. More manpower gave us the capability to reach more customers and serve them better. Our agents, comprising the younger generations of Millennials and Gen Z, are aggressive, courageous, and ambitious. With a nimble mindset, we were able to quickly adapt to the new normal by using digital tools and going virtual to serve our customers and sell our products.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pru Life UK was the first insurer to adjust our operations and operate digitally with close to 100 percent work-from-home capability to ensure the safety of our employees. We enhanced PRUOne, our electronic point-of-sale tool through which customers can access life protection solutions and manage their premium payments, to enhance the convenience for and safety of our customers. We also extended the grace period for premium payments at the height of the pandemic to ensure uninterrupted protection for our customers.
As we continued our digital transformation, we introduced new products and services through our Pulse app, which has been downloaded 4.5 million times since it was launched early last year.
Pulse is an all-in-one app and the first-of-its-kind in Asia, accessible for free to everyone. Through AI-powered tools and personalized services, Pulse offers holistic health management to Filipinos, empowering them to take control of their personal health and wellbeing anytime, anywhere. We also offered free COVID-19 coverage to new users, and twice the coverage for healthcare workers who downloaded and registered on the Pulse app. Customers can also purchase our products and services through the app at their convenience.
Prudential’s launch of Pulse of Asia-The Health of Asia Barometer study through the Healthscape PH webinar series, provided a platform for insightful exchange of ideas among key stakeholders from the Philippine healthcare sector, outlining the current state of healthcare in the region, its challenges, and the role digital health technology can play to improve the wellness landscape.
These achievements are motivation for Pru Life UK to continue fulfilling our We DO promise of listening to and understanding our customers and delivering our products and services with excellence.
2. What are the new goals after making it to 25 years?
We plan to maintain and strengthen our leadership in the industry. With an insurance penetration rate of just 1.3% in the Philippines, we want to serve the evolving life insurance needs of more Filipinos across the nation as well as be the insurance partner of choice for more Small and Medium Business Enterprises. [email protected] will be our primary vehicle to grow our partnerships, including those with banks and small-medium enterprises and business owners, enabling broader awareness and reach via Digital Marketing rather than just traditional channels.
For our policyholders, we will continue to fortify our efforts to serve them through developing and providing products and services that are customized to meet their needs on the back of growing health awareness due to the pandemic.
We will continue to grow our major initiatives like our Pulse app, which has enabled us to reach more Filipinos helping them lead healthier and wealthier lives. Pulse also works for us in various ways: a selling touchpoint, a branding channel, and an advocacy platform.
In the pipeline, to offer our users a holistic approach to wellness, we will expand our Pulse for Experts feature on the app to include more value-add features such as telemedicine and dietary consultation services. These additional health features will further cement our commitment to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Filipinos.
This year, we have partnered with the K-Pop supergroup SuperM as part of our We DO campaign to promote wellness and encourage Filipinos to stay fit and healthy in a fun and engaging way. This includes the release of Prudential x SuperM’s latest single “We DO” which aims to motivate people to take charge of their health and wellbeing through music and dance. Pulse users can create their dance community or join existing ones to make dance a part of their routine. More exciting initiatives with SuperM will be launched in the next few months
On the corporate level, we will continue to deepen and expand our partnerships with banks and other companies, as well as support and equip our staff and agency force so they can serve more customers with excellence.
3. Of all the products that you have, which ones were the most popular last year? Why do you think that is?
Our top products in 2020 included our investment-linked products such as the PRULink Assurance Account Plus, PRULink Elite Protector Series, and the PRULink Exact Protector. The outstanding performance of these products reflect the market’s continued demand for insuravest or investment-linked products.
The Personal Accident Coverage available on our Pulse app has consistently been our top selling product. It is followed by PRUShield and our PRUWellness policies which offer protection and benefits during hospitalizations.
At the height of the pandemic last year, we offered free COVID-19 protection through our Pulse app to safeguard the users against the virus, and double the coverage for health care workersThe program was extremely well received and has provided protection to over 180,000 Filipinos.
This year we relaunched our free COVID-19 protection offering with an added vaccine coverage for our Pulse users. These products reflect our commitment to supporting the people across every life stage by protecting their health and financial wellbeing.
There has also been growing demand for our PRUDengue Medcare and PRUDengue Medcare PRO products since they were launched earlier this year. Among our customers for these products, 50% purchased them for their children.
4. What were the biggest challenges that you had to overcome to get people to still work together and achieve goals despite the lockdowns?
Perhaps the biggest challenge encountered by every business, including Pru Life UK, was the sudden and prolonged lockdown that prompted the shift to work-from-home arrangements and maintaining digital connections. We adopted new technologies and embraced digital solutions/channels to adapt to the new normal, as well as continued to provide training for our employees and organised educational webinars for our agents and customers. We also continued to grow our agency force to over 44,000 agents last year, a 21% increase from 2019.