Smartphones use drives mobile insurance

It is one of life’s greatest ironies. Change, which is the only thing constant, is also the first that people resist. Three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the public is forced to transition and adopt the digital lifestyle, highlighting our growing dependence on smartphones and gadgets.

Indeed, data showed the Philippines’ smartphone market grew by 22.6 percent in 2021. About 80 percent of working Filipinos prefer the new hybrid, internet-heavy set-up to the traditional office.

Beyond academic institutions and offices, smartphone use shapes how we spend our everyday lives and carry out routine tasks, like accessing job opportunities, financial services, online shopping, and social networks.

Six of ten Filipinos purchase and book their trips through mobile apps. According to one pre-pandemic survey, about 55 percent of Filipino children own a smartphone — and 80 percent of them prefer to surf the internet than watch TV.


Essential to life

Not surprisingly, this dependence on smartphones and gadgets has made their operability and safety a priority for many people. The damage to an intelligent device can mean the difference in earning or losing income to breadwinners, making the grade for students, or making a needed online conversation with a family member in another country.

“A phone that has suddenly gone dark or permanently off can be a nightmare, especially when it happens on a payday weekend,” recalls Kate Paulyne Tayco, 23, Social Media Manager of an online wedding business company. Tayco dropped her device on the hard ground while vacationing in a remote town.

“During that time, I could not do my usual thing of paying my bills or doing bank transfers through my smartphones. And because the ATMs in that town had run out of cash, and the banks and bayad centers were closed, I didn’t have spare cash to repair my phone.”

The costly mobile repair costs aggravate these unfortunate events, and replacement by buying a new one can be even more expensive. Currently, a budget-friendly quality smartphone costs around P5,000, while a premium one can cost more than P50,000.

With smartphones becoming a virtual device and expensive investment, their protection through insurance has become a necessity, no longer an option. Mobile insurance provides gadget owners the coverage they need to repair a phone at the time of its damage. It can help quickly restore a phone’s full functionality in case of an accidental fall or injury. With that technical restoration comes opportunity and economic recovery.

Mobile phone insurance becomes more urgent as damage to the device can happen anytime, anywhere. Research shows that the most frequent smartphone accidents are dropping into the toilet bowl or falling from pockets.


Mobile phone protection

Etiqa Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Rico Bautista said that smart gadgets, like health, property, and other aspects essential to our lives, need consistent, reliable protection through insurance.

“Mobile devices are no longer seen as just a status symbol or used solely for work but have become a necessity, helping us to further our careers, businesses, and day-to-day activities. In securing them, the mobile insurance plans will ensure that the lives and activities of their users will continue with minimal disruption, even if these devices are damaged. This is aligned with our commitment to offering products and services to make our customers’ lives easier,” Bautista said.

Mobile phone insurance falls under Insurtech, which applies technology to the insurance industry. Technology makes online policy enrollment, checking or buying a plan, and topping up efficient, safe, and in real-time through digital platforms like GCash or Shopee. Other Insurtech examples include social insurance, data analytics to understand consumer behavior and improve customer service, and the customization of policies for specific groups and organizations.

Southeast Asian Insurtech company Igloo has developed mobile insurance plans with Etiqa Philippines to ensure coverage for the phone screen and its functionalities (Phone Screen Protection plan) or the entire device (Full Phone Protection plan). However, these plans exclude cases where the devices have been experiencing gradual deterioration, stolen, or lost; damage due to malware, repairs, and servicing is also not included.

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