Insurance co-operatives in the Philippines are supporting members during the Covid-19 crisis.
The sector was quick to adapt to a new working environment after lockdown was imposed in Metro Manila and central and southern Luzon provinces in mid-March. On 11 March, Climbs Life and General Insurance Cooperative set up a Covid-19 taskforce to create a Crisis Management Plan and Crisis Communications Plan.
The co-op, which dates back to 1971, says it has primarily focused on increasing awareness, supporting members and those in vulnerable communities, and leading a campaign for solidarity.
Climbs was set up to provide mutual protection to low-income farmers, fishermen, employees and labourers who could not afford or did not have easy access to insurance products offered by commercial insurers.
The co-op has mobilised its sales team to check members’ welfare, especially in regions affected by the outbreak. It has also given policyholders an extra 60 days – to a total of 90 days – to pay their premiums. In terms of claims documents, members were granted an additional 30 days for both the 30-day claim notification and the 90-day deadline to submit them, a measure which came into effect on 25 March and which will last until the government declares that Covid-19 has been contained.
To ease logistics limitations, submission of scanned documents through emails are being accepted.
Under the tagline “more than just protection”, the co-op launched a Community Action Response and Emergency Services (Cares), which aims to assist communities affected especially in the distribution of potable drinking water and for sanitation purposes. Climbs runs its own Covid-19 hotline, which is open to members and as well as the general public.
Furthermore, the co-op has started the Adopt a Hospital campaign, which focuses on providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)s and hot meals each Friday to frontliners in Covid-19 medical centres. An initial £32,137 was allocated for this programme. Climbs has also committed £15,882 to support Philippine General Hospital, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and Southern Philippines Medical Center.
“It is our desire that many co-operatives will respond to this call for solidarity, living out long-held co-operative principles especially that of Co-operation among co-operatives and Concern for Community,” said in a joint statement the co-op’s president and CEO, Noel Raboy, and its chair, Fr. Elmo P. Manching.
So far, the Philippines has had 8,488 Covid-19 confirmed cases and 568 death casualties.