Standard Insurance: ‘It’s our life purpose to really be there for you when we’re needed’
Patricia Chilip explains how Standard is supporting the Philippine community through its tireless service and strong advocacies
When COVID hit the Philippines, the islands shut down. The country instituted one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns, resulting in a GDP contraction of 9.6 percent in 2020. But for Standard Insurance it was – uncomfortably – one of their most profitable years. Patricia Chilip, chairman and CEO of Standard Insurance, explains how the company has been performing since the country reopened, how Standard is channelling that growth back into the local community, and how it is leveraging technology to be there for its customers through difficult times for another 65 years.
In the first half of this interview Patricia explains how Standard takes on the challenge of Filipino NatCat.
Patricia Chilip: I don’t think anyone was ready for COVID. Nobody knew what was going to happen the next year, or the next day. Our first response was really to make sure that the employees were okay, make sure that everyone wasn’t sick, or if they were to get them to the hospitals.
But actually, my brother, who was running the company at that time, had a year before put all the systems on the cloud. Which meant we could issue policies, and deal with claims. So in that sense, we were actually ready.
World Finance: When COVID hit the Philippines, the islands shut down. The country instituted one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns – meaning that in 2020, the Philippines’ GDP contracted 9.6 percent. Nobody was going anywhere or doing anything – so for the non-life insurance sector, sales plummeted – but so did claims. For Standard Insurance, it was – uncomfortably – one of their most profitable years. I met with Chairman and CEO Patricia Chilip to find out how the company has been performing since the country re-opened.
Patricia Chilip: From 2022 we’ve been seeing like double digit growth, 15 percent, sometimes 20 percent. You know, there’s like pent-up demand because nobody bought anything during COVID. So now like, people are buying new cars, and people are travelling again because they haven’t travelled in two years. So it’s a surge of growth, and we’re using technology to keep up with it.
What’s exciting for us now is all the AI. We’ve been using that for our claims. We’re using chatbots to be able to answer frequently asked questions, ocular character recognition to be able to read receipts,. As well as doing some things for our value based adjudication of our claims.
Customers also engage with us now through fintech. So, we meet them digitally and we like to be present in all those platforms, whether it’s through fintech payment systems or online banking – we try to be at every touchpoint.
World Finance: When you’re seeing the kinds of success you’ve described, how important is it that you put some of that growth back into the community?
Patricia Chilip: Well it’s very important to us, you know. We are a Filipino company, and our customers are Filipino, and we want to give back to the Philippines.
We have a lot of advocacies. Our group chairman, my father, is a big supporter of the Philippine coastguard. We’ve donated speedboats to be able to patrol the Manila Bay, as well as make sure that the coast is clean.
We support a lot of scholars, young violinists. We make sure that they are educated in the best schools, like Giuliard, or in Vienna.
We’ve also supported nutrition for children and mothers. We’ve supported kindergartens for kids from three to five – that’s my favourite one, because that’s really when the brains of the kids are sponges, so we partner with MoveEd, and they teach as well as feed the kids at the schools.
For me personally because I care about the environment, I love that we planted 12,000 trees for our 60th, and we hope to plant more now that we’re 65. You know, you plant a tree… it’ll benefit the generation after us. So that’s what’s important for me. But everything we do is really for the development of the Philippines.
One of the values of Standard Insurance is really a passion for excellence. So all our advocacies make sure that the community has what they need to be able to have that passion, so you have to have the right nutrition, the right education, the right avenues, if you want to grow and excel. So that is really our passion, to bring Philippine excellence to the world.
World Finance: Finally, 2023 marks Standard Insurance’s 65th anniversary – how are you working to ensure that the company enjoys another successful 65 years?
Patricia Chilip: I’m happy to be here. Helming a company that has been of service to the Filipino for 65 years. And I’m just grateful for the officers and for the employees who have taken us this far. Really they are the heart and soul of this company.
Our people really have a compassion to help, you know. It’s tireless service. every day they wake up, Respond to claims, respond to clients in need. They make sure our systems are all working. And now it’s 24 hours, I mean service is 24 hours. So they really are there for you, they’ll pick up your call when you’re like stuck in Madrid, or you’ve freaking had a heart attack, we will pick up the phone and take care of you. Really somebody got hit by a bus in Italy, and I swear this team didn’t sleep for like two weeks, to make sure that she came back to Manila okay. So that’s really how we do it.
It’s our life purpose to really be there for you when we’re needed. we’re here in difficult times, whether it’s typhoons, catastrophes, or whether you had a medical emergency abroad, I’m proud to be working with employees who will pick up the phone at any time at night to help a customer in need. And if we keep doing this for 65 years then, then our company will evolve and change and still be a relevant one that responds to all the customers needs.
So that is really what we’re here for.