Sun Life sees robust growth this year

Published June 3, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chino S. Leyco

Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. is optimistic that the insurer could sustain its robust growth registered in the first three-months of the year owing to investor optimism in the financial markets.

Alexander S. Narciso, Sun Life Philippines president said the group’s life and asset management units posted a 40 percent year-on-year growth in premium income from January to March this year.

“In the first quarter, there’s a lot of optimism,” Narciso told reporters on the sidelines of the 2018 Financial Independence Month Campaign launching, noting the local equities market was strong, which boosted investor confidence in taking risks.

“Usually, if the stock market is doing good, it’s an indication of a lot of optimism. And it’s something that encourages people to invest. And that’s one of the reasons why we have experienced that much,” Narciso said.

Going forward, the Sun Life official is confident that the company could end the remaining quarters of the year with strong growth figures.

“If we are going to base it on the past few years, we have a pattern, usually the second half is stronger compared to first half,” Narciso said.

“I’m more optimistic that not only we will sustain it, I think we will be able to surpass what we have done in the first quarter and deliver better and stronger results this second half,” he added.

Sun Life will also boost its agency force and number of branches this year, he said.

Narciso said the company plans to expand its financial advisors from 11,000 as of December, 2017 to about 13,000 by the end of the year.

“In terms of number of advisors it’s something that we continue to pursue because our market is underinsured and therefore you need more advisors. But at the same time, we don’t want to get anybody, that’s why we do have some selection criteria,” the official said.

Narciso also added that Sun Life plans to open three to four branches every year in key cities in the country.

“Over the past so many years, we’ve been growing consistently in GDP [gross domestic product] 6.5 percent to 7.0 percent, and therefore we anticipate there will be growing income and increase in middle class who will need the products we offer,” Narciso said.

“We’re very optimistic about what’s coming up in the future,” he added.

Aside from its usually insurance business, Narciso said that Sun Life would also invest in the government’s ambitious infrastructure programs.

In particular, the official said that Sun Life is looking at investing in two power-generation projects of the Duterte administration.

“We have a couple of projects already that are part of this infrastructure program of the government and I think both of them have something to do with power generation,” Narciso said. “I think there’s one in Visayas and another one in Mindanao.”

“We continue to be on the lookout for other projects because as you know infrastructure is a long-term type of a project and it’s perfect for life insurance companies because we do manage long-term money,” he added.