Filipino insurance co-op supports members and communities through Covid-19 crisis

The co-op has been leading a campaign to support the nation’s hospitals

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.

Essential workers receiving supplies from Climbs

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.