From travelling or purchasing a car to preparing for a wedding or buying property and even getting ready for retirement, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. wants to help Filipinos achieve every “stage-of-life” goal.

That is why Sun Life, the oldest life insurer in the country today, has set an ambitious target to increase its clients to 5 million by 2020 under a five-year plan called Rise PH, said chief marketing officer Mylene Lopa.

Although this seems a tall order, Lopa said they’re dreaming big because it is the country’s future that is at stake. Since it started operations in the Philippines 121 years ago, Sun Life still has 1.5 million clients.

Sun Life Mylene Lopa
MONEY PROBLEMS. Sun Life Financial Philippines chief marketing officer Mylene Lopa discusses findings by the SWS in a survey they commissioned. The study found that 9 out of 10 Filipinos experienced money problems within the past 12 months.

The campaign took root from a study that Sun Life commissioned the Social Weather Stations (SWS) to undertake 2 years ago. The insurance company found out that 9 out of 10 Filipinos experienced money problems within the past 12 months when the SWS study was conducted. Of those who experienced financial difficulties, the reasons cited were: housing and day-to-day activities (74 percent), school expenses (41 percent), health and medical needs (25 percent). The respondents were asked to check all applicable answers.

Financial literacy

According to Lopa, Sun Life believes not much has changed since SWS did its research and that the Filipino life is still filled with uncertainty. She added that one major reason for this is lack of financial knowledge and preparation.

Several initiatives aimed at reaching out to a broader market and further boosting Sun Life’s financial literacy advocacy are being launched under Rise PH in June, which the company has declared Financial Independence Month, Lopa said.

These include campus and mall caravans in a customized “Bus to the Future,” 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video, and the Money for Life e-planner. The VR video allows the viewer to get a glimpse of their dream life and how to go about achieving it through Sun Life’s insurance and investment products.

Lopa said the response to their use of VR to promote financial planning has been good because Filipinos love to try out new gadgets. She said they wanted to make a topic like financial planning more accessible to people, thus the use of a “cool and new thing” like VR.

Sun Life virtual reality
PEEK ON LIFE DREAMS. Sun Life used virtual reality to show people a glimpse of a dream life.

Money e-planner

Through the money e-planner, the company presents financial products like insurance and investments in a simple way, said Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. president Valerie Pama.

By logging on to, one gets an idea what life category he or she falls into: from getting started with goals like travelling or buying a car, moving up to such decisions as getting married and buying property to having a baby, preparing ahead for retirement and sickness or accidents, to leaving a legacy by maximizing retirement funds and securing inheritance for kids and grandkids.

Pama added that whatever a potential client’s life goals, the Money for Life e-planner suggests the top three Sun Life products to best achieve them.

Sun Life’s Bus to the Future, which is set to visit campuses and malls nationwide, allows potential clients to view a short VR video of life scenarios made possible through financial instruments like insurance and investments in mutual funds, stocks, commodities, and bonds. In Cebu, the Bus to the Future was deployed to SM City on June 25 after stopping at the University of San Carlos (USC) Talamban the day before.

Sun Life Valerie Pama
E-PLANNER. Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. president Valerie Pama discusses the company’s online platform for investments.

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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