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As Easy as Buying Shoes: SM Stores to Sell Affordable Insurance Products

Initial options available include travel, health and third party liability insurance
By Elyssa Christine Lopez |
As Easy as Buying Shoes: SM Stores to Sell Affordable Insurance Products

Taking its motto of “having it all” to a higher level, the SM Store, the department store of the country’s largest shopping mall operator, has started to sell “sachet” insurance policies for its shoppers in its business centers nationwide.


“Insure@ME, or Insurance Made Easy at SM Store aims to make insurance more accessible for shoppers at the SM Mall,” BDO Insurance Brokers Inc. General Manager and Senior Vice President Tracy Tan said in an event on Wednesday, September 6. “It would be like buying shoes at SM, you can buy it over the counter.”


BDO Insurance Brokers, Inc. (BDOI) and the SM Store, both of which are under the conglomerate SM Investments Corp., tapped Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp. to create consumer-specific insurance products. These include Safetrip for travel insurance, Medicash or a health insurance for dengue, and compulsory third party liability (CTPL) insurance for vehicle owners.


Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp. is the country’s largest non-life insurance provider in terms of net worth, as it ended 2016 with Php14.46 billion, according to the Insurance Commission.


Safetrip may be availed for as low as Php199, which covers those who will take domestic flights for one to three days, to as much as Php9,999 for travels outside the Philippines lasting as long as six months. Benefits range from as low as Php2,000 for a six-hour flight delay to as much as a million pesos if the insured person gets hurt in an accident.


Meanwhile, Medicash has a standard price of Php350 but it only covers Php10,000 worth of medical cash assistance in case the insured is diagnosed with dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease that usually requires hospitalization once the individual experiences high fever.


The CTPL, a requirement of the Land Transportation office for those who wish to register their vehicles, may be availed for as low as Php608, for private cars.


“We’ve always said that the market out there for retail insurance products is about 80 million Filipinos. To date, we’ve enrolled around 18 million Pioneer customers, so with these products, we’re hoping to attract a lot—by the millions,” said Pioneer Life Inc. Chairman Lorenzo Chan Jr.


Unknown to most, select SM Business Centers have been offering travel and health insurance products since 2012 but with a different insurance partner. Meanwhile, Insure@ME aims to be readily accessible in all SM Business Centers nationwide, which now number at 58.


These centers started as mere added services offered inside the malls’ department stores. It grew from offering money exchange to accepting payments for basic utility bills, even selling concert tickets. Some SM Malls have even allocated separate locations, outside the department store, for the business center.



SM’s move to offer insurance products inside its malls, while traditional and bite-sized, signals the growing market potential of the industry, as more corporations attempt to take a slice of the pie. One of the country’s largest pawnshops, Cebuana Lhuillier, had long offered microinsurance products to its customers. It also has Pioneer as a partner.


“With BDO and SM as the country’s leaders in their respective industries, we hope to blaze the trail for this program,” Tan added.




Elyssa Christine Lopez is's staff writer. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz

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