GSIS and JICA partner to enhance insurance capabilities

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held the GSIS-JICA Technical Cooperation Project Kick-Off meeting. In the photo are Amor Rollyn Dais, Asset Registry Division, Bureau of the Treasury (BTR); Shannen Chua, BTR; Vice President Rosanna “Bo” Sanchez, Insurance Group, GSIS; OIC Dir John Adrian Narag, International Finance Policy Office, BTR; SVP Valerie Marquez, Insurance Group, GSIS; AEVP Jason Teng, Core Business Sector, GSIS; Dir Takehiro Kido, JICA; Senior Rep Masanari Yanagiuchi, JICA Phil Ofc.; 2nd Secretary Kensuke SUGIMOTO, Japanese Embassy; and Takeshi Kuwabara, JICA Expert team.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has teamed up with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to enhance its insurance business and bolster disaster resilience through a newly launched Technical Cooperation Project (TCP).

The project aims to enlist specialists to help GSIS grow its insurance offerings and protect civil servants and government assets.

“This joint effort is not just about protecting the future of government assets. With a robust insurance framework, this collaborative mission is a pro-active approach in demonstrating the GSIS commitment to building a stronger and safer nation through sustainable infrastructure practices,” GSIS President and General Manager Wick Veloso said in a press statement.

Veloso, alongside JICA Chief Representative Sakamoto Takema, signed the agreement in November last year. JICA, a key player in Japanese official development aid, supports socio-economic development and stability in developing regions. This collaboration will aid the Philippines in achieving sustainable development in various sectors, including infrastructure.

The TCP is designed to enhance GSIS’ underwriting capabilities, improve the Insurance Group’s capacity to calculate replacement costs, and establish accurate insurance premium rates. It also aims to develop an effective Information and Education Campaign (IEC) strategy to raise public awareness about the importance of insurance.

Following the kickoff meeting, GSIS Core Business Sector Acting Executive Vice President Jason Teng emphasized the significance of Japan’s public insurance system.

“There is a compelling need for us in the GSIS to harness advanced systems and innovative approaches. Consequently, we are very happy and grateful to the Government of Japan and JICA for initiating this project. We believe that we can learn a lot from Japan’s best practices in public insurance and their ability to inculcate widespread consciousness towards insurance among the general public,” Teng stated.

In the first quarter of 2024, GSIS reported a net income of Php37 billion, marking a 21% increase from Php30.75 billion in Q1 2023.

The growth was driven by strong revenues reaching Php85 billion.

The state insurer’s General Insurance Premium Income (year-to-date) amounted to Php2.55 billion, a 27% increase from March 2023.

JICA Insurance Expert Team Lead Takeshi Kuwabara highlighted the benefits of the partnership.

“We believe that this partnership with the Philippine Government opens up new avenues of collaboration. We see that this will help develop the insurance industry in the country and more assets will be protected from catastrophes. This will enable us to integrate Japanese know-how and expertise with the GSIS to help build its capabilities and processes—creating better products and services for its customers. We are confident that we will help build the initiatives of the government towards a more sustainable Philippines,” Kuwabara said.

Japan, home to some of the world’s largest insurance companies, boasts one of the most mature insurance markets globally. In 2021, Japan’s insurance sector accounted for 4.3% of its GDP. Conversely, the Philippines has an underdeveloped insurance market with low penetration rates due to challenges in awareness and affordability.

Teng also announced the successful pilot test of the new GSIS Property Inventory App (PIA). This mobile application automates and digitizes the inventory process for government assets, aiding the government’s Asset Registry Project by simplifying the inventory process for Property Officers.

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