Peace of mind for all mankind: How Standard Insurance takes on the challenge of Filipino NatCat

'You just want to be able to sleep at night, knowing that someone's got your back,' says CEO Patricia Chilip

July 10, 2023

‘The Philippines gets about 18-24 typhoons a year. We sit at the Pacific ring of fire, so we also have earthquakes. We have flooding. And with climate change, they’re more and more frequent,’ says Patricia Chilip, chairman and CEO of Standard Insurance, one of the Philippines’ leading non-life insurance companies. She explains how the business manages all that built-in risk, balancing customer needs with shareholder expectations, and how the company is working to become one of the world’s top 10 general insurers.

In the second half of this interview she explains how Standard Insurance is channelling its growth back into the community, to help bring Philippine excellence to the world.

Patricia Chilip: The Philippines gets about 18-24 typhoons a year. We sit at the Pacific ring of fire, so we also have earthquakes. We have flooding. And with climate change, they’re more and more frequent.

On the ground that feels like a lot of, sort of, distress, when the event happens. You know, life can come to a standstill.

It happens every year, so, we’re kind of used to it. But you just want to be able to sleep at night knowing that someone’s got your back.

It’s really our life purpose to be there for them, when they need us the most.

World Finance: Patricia Chilip is Chairman and CEO of Standard Insurance – a leading general insurance company in the Philippines, with a mission to bring peace of mind to all mankind. But what does that mean in practice?

Patricia Chilip: Peace of mind for all mankind is really our hope for everybody, what we wish for everyone: happiness, a sense of contentment, a sense of security. We really want to make sure that our clients can sleep well at night knowing that their assets are covered properly, that they have what they need. That’s what we hope for everyone.

Our job is really to be on the ground, to answer those calls when they need us. We have branches in 65 provinces nationwide, so we have somebody on the ground to help you tow your car, or help you assess your damages, or just pick up the phone and answer all your questions. Because we want them to sleep well at night knowing that they’re covered with us.

One of the challenges we face is that when an event does hit, they realise they haven’t updated their values in 10 years. Even three years ago – you know, after COVID, construction costs have gone up 30 percent, 40 percent.

So it’s so important to update your values, because if you haven’t updated your values then it’s going to be a struggle when you make a claim. Because even if you get totally paid out, you’re like: oh, it’s not enough to reconstruct my house.

That’s our campaign for 2023, to make sure that our clients have updated their values that their property’s insured for, so that when a big event hits, they’re really covered properly.

World Finance: That must be incredibly challenging as a business – taking on and managing all that risk.

Patricia Chilip: Well you know we have a really good team of underwriters. We also have all the technology behind us – we have a catastrophe risk monitoring system, a CRMS, which, you know, you can plot a GPS point and it gives you whether a place is high risk for a typhoon or flood or earthquake, and it helps us advise our clients as well, in terms of how to rebuild or mitigate their risk.

Of course we have excellent reinsurers. We have a couple of decades of relationship with them, and they know our underwriting, and they always respond so quickly. We have some of the best ones in the world. So, that kind of helps us respond to Philippine cat.

World Finance: So how do you find that balance between your customers’ needs and your shareholders’ expectations? How do you grow a successful, sustainable business?

Patricia Chilip: Well, we grow organically with our partners. We’re happy to be partners with the biggest banks in the Philippines, and the biggest automotive companies in the Philippines. And because we share a customer base, if they grow we grow.

So we’re grateful that people have approached us for partnerships, like travel regionally, pet health globally, and now we have a new partnership for automotive collision in the US. So we’re very excited about all these like, global initiatives.

You know, we find that if we put one foot in front of the other then things will take care of themselves. We do our best every day, and we find that if we do a small job well, bigger jobs come.

People in the Philippines are big on social media, so if you do a good job everyone knows. And if you do a bad job everyone knows as well. So it keeps us on our toes. And it aligns our customer expectations with our shareholder expectations. If the customer is happy, the shareholders are happy.

World Finance: Your vision for 2035 is to become one of the world’s top 10 finest general insurers. How do you earn that position and acclaim?

Patricia Chilip: You know, the customer experience has to be great. Our customers are millennials and Gen Z. And they want everything faster, everything digital. Everything seamless. So we want to be a 21st century insurer, on the cutting edge of technology, able to respond to customers’ needs. Because they need us constantly.

We want to be part of their lives. We want to be someone who makes life less stressful. And if – God forbid – a typhoon happens, we want to be there for them as well.

Our vision for the Philippines is to see a country that is prosperous, a country that is abundant, a country that is resilient from all of these nat cats. And everything we do is working towards that. Being there, to help our countrymen build and rebuild.

By taking care of them, and taking of their needs, we will find our way to becoming one of the world’s finest insurers.