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Sterling Insurance seeks to triple business volume in Mindanao
[January 15, 2007]

Sterling Insurance seeks to triple business volume in Mindanao

(Business World (Philippines) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Cagayan de Oro City - Sterling Insurance Co., Inc. is making Mindanao a lynchpin in its bid to vault into the Top 20 general insurance firms of the country.

Rafael K. Del Villar, senior vice-president, announced on Thursday the appointment of Roberto A. Ilisan as district manager for Mindanao Region charged with attaining a total business of P100 million for 2007 and a fivefold increase in the number of accredited agents to 500 by the end of the year.

"We consider Bob Ilisan the key person in attaining these targets, which together with other key areas where we will expand our business, will hopefully bring us to the top 20 by the end of this year," Mr. Del Villar said.

Mr. Ilisan, who recently retired from Perla Compania de Seguros as its branch manager for Cagayan de Oro and where he had worked for 39 years, will be charged with directly organizing and supervising the expansion of Sterling's Mindanao offices in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Ozamiz, Davao, Pagadian and General Santos.

"We will use our existing offices as jump-off points from which we can expand our business to other areas in Mindanao in line with Sterling's thrust of regional expansion," Mr. Del Villar said. "For instance, our Cagayan de Oro office which just used to serve the city and Misamis Oriental, will now expand its business to nearby provinces and cities like Iligan and Bukidnon."

From its traditional products of fire and motor vehicle insurance, Mr. Ilisan said Sterling will now seek to tap the vast potential market in Mindanao for its other products and services such as general accident, personal accident, marine insurance and bonds.

"We only made something like P30 million in Mindanao last year, mostly from traditional lines of fire and motor vehicle insurance," Mr. Del Villar noted. "But I believe we can easily hit P100 million with property related business."

Mr. Del Villar is optimistic the planned investments in the Arroyo administration's Mindanao Super Region plan would "pump prime" the island's economy, a situation which has traditionally resulted in the expansion of the infrastructure and property development sectors.

At a presentation held on Thursday at the Mindanao Polytechnic State College auditorium, Secretary Ricardo A. Saludo said the National Government would pour in P59.32 billion in Mindanao to fund identified strategic projects that would promote economies of scale, enhance functional linkages and boost its market potentials under the super region concept.

Mr. Saludo said budgeted projects within the 2007-2011 time-frame include P11.035 billion for ports and airports, P13.596 billion for roads and bridges, and P24.45 billion for agricultural support. These include the Cagayan de Oro Port, P181 million; Laguindingan Airport, Misamis Oriental, P5.386 billion; Dipolog Airport, P731 million; Ozamiz Port, P86 million; Butuan Airport, P1.3 billion; Zamboanga Airport, P257 million; Pagadian Airport, P517 million; and Cotabato Airport, P2.5 billion.

Despite the opportunities presented by these developments, Mr. Del Villar said the expansion plan and attainment of targets would still rest largely on Mr. Ilisan.

Sterling started doing business as the First Continental Assurance Co., Inc. and was renamed Sterling Insurance Co., Inc. when the Professional Investment Group led by the present board took over in 2001 and infused the required P50 million mandatory paid-up capitalization in 2002.

Copyright 2007 BusinessWorld (Philippines). Source: Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Intelligence Wire.

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