Malayan Insurance: Nine decades, new normal, new CEO

MANILA Philippines — Just like the changing of the seasons, Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. has persevered to offer timely protection for the Filipino people, while celebrating 91 years of service this 2021.

Last year, many businesses suffered the ill-effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with Malayan Insurance being no exception.

The leading non-life insurance company still provided relevant products and services, as the battle with the pandemic rages on.

On its 91st anniversary, Malayan Insurance will implement more enhancements, thus holding true to its promise of protecting the Filipino people.


Standing the test of time

Don Enrique T. Yuchengco established China Insurance and Surety Co., Inc. in 1930.

During that time, China Insurance had an authorized capital of P500,000 under a five-member board presided by Don Enrique. The company was authorized to handle fire and marine insurance and fidelity and surety bonds.

With more than a handful of non-life companies operating in the country back then, Don Enrique continued to push forward along with around 12 insurance agents.

But things changed when World War II broke out in 1941, when Japan invaded the Philippines. This left China Insurance at a loss along with the other businesses of Don Enrique. He too experienced hardships during this time as he himself was imprisoned for his participation in the war of resistance against Japan.

When things were looking up, he had China Insurance process war claims of policyholders, even those that were not within the scope of the conditions of the policy. He believed in palabra de honor; meaning he had high regard for the people engaged in his life, from family to his policyholders.

Just like the country’s fight to rebuild itself after the war, China Insurance also saw a rebirth as Malayan Insurance Co., Inc, registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 16, 1949.

Malayan Insurance appeared in the list of insurance companies operating in the country as of June 30, 1950 and was authorized to do fire, marine, fidelity, accident, and motor car insurance.

In 1953, Don Enrique passed away. His son Alfonso assumed overall management of Malayan Insurance.

Like the father, the son was an exemplary business person. He valued dedication, dynamism, honest dealings, and above all, compassion for his work fellows and public.

With Alfonso at the helm, total business of Malayan Insurance rose to P4.3 million, an increase of more than 300% in just two years. This prompted him to expand the company and forge partnerships along the way.

Alfonso tried his hand in the international market between 1955 to 1976, helping Malayan Insurance become the first insurance company based in Southeast Asia to become multinational.

The company was able to form partnerships with institutions namely Swiss Reinsurance, Munich Reinsurance, Zurich Insurance Co. of Switzerland and Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.

By mid-1980s, father Alfonso had passed on the stewardship to his daughter Helen. Like the father, Helen is a persevering and purposeful leader.

With Helen Y. Dee at the helm, Malayan Insurance undertook dynamic modernization programs through innovative developments in manpower training, computer technology and insurance products and services.

Malayan Insurance networked all its systems and computerized its processes. Today, Helen sits as Malayan Insurance’s chairperson.

In 1995, elder sister Helen handed over the baton to younger sister Yvonne.

Yvonne S. Yuchengco began on a quest to raise the standards of insurance protection and service quality in the Philippine non-life insurance industry. Yvonne is currently the vice chairperson of Malayan Insurance.

In 2019, Paolo Y. Abaya became the president and chief executive officer of the company. Abaya was seen as a leader who will consolidate the company’s strategic efforts in servicing the millennial and Gen Z markets.

Both these segments thrive on an always-connected digital lifestyle, which coincides with the goal of Abaya in digitizing the processes and service of Malayan Insurance.

“Only the ones who adapt to change often survives. Our commitment to service, as well as the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC) core values, will continue to be the defining aspects that separate us from the rest. Speed to adapt to the new normal, speed of transformation to digital, and speed to market new general insurance solutions for new needs and opportunities are key to resilience,” said Abaya.

Starting from the vision of wanting to provide helpful insurance products to the Filipinos, the many leaders of Malayan Insurance, along with the company’s shifts through the years, has helped Malayan Insurance grow stronger throughout 91 years.

The small company back then grew to be one of the heavyweights today because of its resilience, integrity and strong stewardship.

Tried and tested

Alongside the company’s rich heritage, Malayan Insurance also garnered, and continues to collect accolades as a testament to being top of its class in the local insurance industry.

AM Best, the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source, gave the Yuchengco-led insurance company a B++ (Good) in its financial strength rating (FSR) and a “bbb+” for its long-term issuer credit rating (Long-Term ICR).

Furthermore, Malayan Insurance continues to lead in terms of gross written premiums (GWP) with P12.249 billion as of 2019, based on latest data from the Insurance Commission (IC).

Innovation is key

The non-life insurer approached the country’s “new normal” by developing new products and making its off-the-shelf packages more affordable, to continue providing relevant insurance protection and satisfactory service. Malayan Insurance’s restructured Business Protect insurance is more affordable, to protect the vulnerable micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the effects of the pandemic. Business Protect premiums are now as low as P1,000 with no minimum sum insured, while providing property insurance, comprehensive general liability (CGL) and accident insurance. It has also been fortified with a free business concierge service that is unique to Malayan Insurance.

A new product, which is the Renter’s Protect, provides coverage for dormitory dwellers, co-living space renters and condominium/apartment lessees. It is available for a period of three, six, or 12 months affordable variants.

Malayan Insurance also obtained Insurance Commission approval and endorsement of its travel insurance product, Travel Master, with the COVID-19 risk protection, Travel Master provides medical expense cover and hospital cash benefit of up to 14 days for confinements due to COVID-19 . Malayan Insurance has also launched VitalCover, a personal accident insurance policy with COVID-19 and dengue cash assistance, as well as a hospital cash allowance per day up to 14 days.

Malayan Insurance also offers Motomax, a “sachet” insurance cover for total loss of motorcycle units and motorcycle drivers accident insurance, as more and more Filipinos start using motorcycles as a means of transport and deliveries.

Finding more ways to adapt to the new normal, the company also made claims notification easier for its customers, via its online claims notification form available in its website,

As more and more unique insurance products are made available for online issuance and premium payment in Malayan’s ecommerce website,, the insuring public is invited to browse, get quotations for various insurance products, and do direct purchases and premium payments to get their insurance policies through Malayan’s ecommerce site.

“People are forced to stay home and conduct most of their daily transactions online. In the non-life insurance business, it would be best if we can provide our clients a satisfying end-to-end customer experience,” said Malayan CEO Paolo Abaya.

Full speed ahead

For 2021, digital transformation will be expedited by further incorporating the use of portals, API’s, infrastructure modernization and information security hardening in its processes.

This will be done to better provide convenience and ease of transacting to its customers. Abaya pointed out that the increase in online businesses, which are potential new clients, can benefit from insurance products made digitally available, and accessible through Malayan’s digital platforms. “Digitization can fundamentally change the way we operate, help our agents and partners produce, serve our customers, engage our employees and adapt in the new normal,” Abaya said.

With the future holding a lot of possibilities, Filipinos can rest assured that Malayan Insurance will continue to provide relevant protection through efficient, seamless and convenient technology-driven services, no matter what the seasons may bring.

Article Originally Posted on Philippine Star

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