“It’s the values we share, the empathy we have for each other, for the Filipino,” says Cocolife President and lawyer Martin Loon

Amid A Crisis, Cocolife Wants to Ensure That No One is Left Behind

“It’s the values we share, the empathy we have for each other, for the Filipino,” says Cocolife President and lawyer Martin Loon.

 

When the national government declared a Luzon-wide lockdown in mid-March, Cocolife President and CEO, Atty. Jose Martin Azcárraga Loon, decided that he would keep working from the company’s Ayala Avenue office rather than from 虚拟货币交home. With him was a team that comprised the company’s skeleton staff, and together, they took up the task of ensuring that Cocolife could continue serving its policyholders, despite the limitations.

 

Even then, they acknowledged that these limitations were necessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But Cocolife’s policyholders depended on the company’s approvals for their healthcare and life insurance claims. Moreover, Cocolife had its employees to think about. The company had to keep running.

 

So for the first few days, he and his team manned the fort. They traded their dress shoes for slippers and set up camp at the office, where they would stay 24/7. This allowed them to attend to client concerns effectively, and to coordinate with other Cocolife employees who had already been asked to work from 虚拟货币交home. In this time, the team was also able to establish, for the whole company, a sustainable working arrangement befitting the new and unpredictable nature of the economy and of everyday life. It was a significant undertaking, and a necessary one, to adapt to the crisis. But Cocolife is nothing if not resilient.

 

 

“We had to make sure service continued. We had to make sure our employees were healthy and well. We had to make sure no one was left behind.”

 

 

Founded in 1978, Cocolife is the biggest Filipino-owned stock life insurance company, and as such, it has seen its fair share of crises: natural calamities; political unrest; the 1997 Asian financial crisis; and the global financial crisis in the late 2000s. The company weathered all these, but Atty. Loon—who prefers to go by just Martin—admits that COVID-19 is by far, the greatest challenge that the country and the world has faced in recent times, “because of its duration and its direct threat to human lives.”

 

“The crises and calamities we’ve overcome in the past, at least for my generation, didn’t last this long,” he says. “Also, we are affective human beings. Therefore, the inability to personally connect with each other is really a challenge. Thank God for technology.”

 

But the 33-year-old chief executive does believe that while this pandemic is unprecedented, it isn’t insurmountable. For his part, he's counting on the very reason Cocolife has been resilient through 42 years: its core principle of "Believing in the Filipino."

 

“It’s the values we share, the empathy we have for each other, for the Filipino,” Martin says. When the coronavirus outbreak worsened, he drew from these values, which have kept Cocolife strong all these years. “Our priority is to take care of our people and policyholders,” he says. “We had to make sure service continued despite the lockdown. We had to make sure our employees were healthy and well. We had to make sure no one was left behind.”

 

 

“We thought that the best way to move forward is to emphasize the faith and trust we have in the Filipino: Filipino talent, Filipino values, the Filipino dream.”

 

 

Coincidentally, these values were the very same that Martin grew up with. Early in his life, he saw his parents raise seven children while simultaneously doing work that made the country and its people part of their lives.

 

Martin’s father, retired Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin, is a recipient of the Medal of Valor, the highest award given by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to soldiers who go beyond the call of duty. His mother, Pong, raised the children and stood by her husband in their family’s most trying times.

 

Martin went to Ateneo de Manila University, which honed in him the creed of being a “man for others.” While he didn’t choose to pursue a military career, Martin developed a particular interest in law, and was guided by the belief that justice should be accessible to all and not just a privileged few. He believed, early on, that no one should be left behind.

 

So Martin took up law at the University of the Philippines, where he was a member of the Order of the Purple Feather (the UP Law Honor Society), the University Student Council, and the Sigma Rho Fraternity. Then, he went to Georgetown University and earned his Master of Laws.

 

After graduating from Georgetown, Martin would go on to build a prodigious legal career. With some partners, he set up a law firm that, in 2019, was named the Best New Law Firm in the country by the Asia Business Law Journal.

 

By then, Martin had also become the youngest member of the Consultative Committee that, in 2018, reviewed the 1987 Constitution. As part of this committee, Martin was able to work alongside some of the country's most prominent legal minds.

 

 

"It’s what the insurance business is all about: helping people capture their dreams no matter what happens, the best way we can."

 

 

At Cocolife, Martin is guided by the experience and knowledge of seasoned colleagues. With him on the board are fellow lawyers, executives, a media practitioner, an accounting expert and former Supreme Court Justices, including former Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, who is now the Chairman of the Board.

 

But Martin also relies on a dynamic new generation of leadership at Cocolife. The company’s departments are led by a mix of seasoned Cocolife veterans and new recruits from top local and international universities—many of whom Martin personally invited to join the team. In fact, all the fresh young talent has placed the average age of company management at just 30 years old. They are young Filipinos who recognize the importance of Cocolife’s role in Filipino society, and are well-equipped to carry out the company’s vision and mission.

 

 

“I want our policyholders to feel that we’re there for them, that they can rely on us even during the darkest, most difficult, and trying times.”

 

 

The coronavirus outbreak has made everyone at Cocolife adjust to a new normal, to think beyond the box, and to go an even further extra mile for their clients and their own colleagues. “We were so used to the convenience of personally being present in the workplace, coordination and meetings,” says Martin. “We depended much on personal interaction. This time, we relied heavily on technology, which took some time to get accustomed to, but after a week, Cocolifers got the hang of it. We’re performing optimally despite the work from 虚拟货币交home system.”

 

Wasting no time, Cocolife established 24/7 helplines and a special ground force to provide clarity and assistance when people needed it most. The company also made sure that customer service facilities and payment systems are available online.

 

But perhaps most meaningfully, Cocolife was quick to grant its health card members full coverage for COVID-19-related hospitalizations, subject to policy terms and regular reviews. The company has also provided hospital income benefits to affected life insurance policies, and has extended the grace period for all premium dues from March 1 to April 30, from 31 days to 61 days.

 

“I just want our policyholders to feel that we’re there for them, that they can rely on us even during the darkest, most difficult, and trying times,” Martin says. “We do our best to make sure that we take care of their needs and their situation in life. If nothing else, that’s what empathy is about, after all. You have to think of their welfare.”

 

Naturally, the same empathy extends to Cocolife’s employees. Early into the crisis, without delay, the company released its employees’ 13th-month pay and offered financial assistance packages and emergency loans, among other forms of support. "We had to make sure that everyone was okay," Martin says.

 

Cocolife turned 42 this year, and for the first time, the company cancelled all its corporate activities for the rest of the year. The amount the company was able to save will be used to address the effects of the pandemic. "The resources were diverted to helping people,” Martin says. Particularly, these resources were channeled to the financial assistance for the employees, sales force, partners, and beneficiaries.

 

Cocolife also donated to the UP National Institute of Health for the purchase of a Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machine that would help efforts for COVID-19 testing. On top of that, Cocolife has also made significant contributions to the efforts of both the government and non-government organizations in the frontlines, sending donations such as food, disinfectants, and face masks.

 

“We thought that the best way to move forward is to really emphasize the faith and trust we have in the Filipino: Filipino talent, Filipino values, the Filipino dream,” Martin says. “It’s really what the insurance business is all about. It’s about helping people capture their dreams no matter what happens, the best way we can. I am optimistic that humanity will come out of this better and kinder to one another.”

 

Access the article using this link: https://www.esquiremag.ph/money/movers/amid-a-crisis-cocolife-wants-to-ensure-that-no-one-is-left-behind-adv-con?

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN READ NEXT

  • Carrying the mark of leadership

    Monday, December 28, 2020

    Carrying the mark of leadership

    Much is expected of leaders, especially during times of crises. Cocolife President and CEO Atty. Jose Martin A. Loon had held his title for about a year before the pandemic hit, being the youngest to hold the position in the company’s history.

     

    He had done much to get this far, of course. He had graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law and passed the bar examinations in 2014. He earned his Master of Laws in National Security from Georgetown University the following year, and then accepted a slew of public and private leadership roles before becoming appointed as Cocolife’s chief.

     

     

    Martin during his 2015 graduation at Georgetown University

     

    When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Martin, along with all the other leaders of the world, had to bring all this skill and experience to bear. Dubbed as the biggest global challenge since World War II, COVID-19 has decimated parts of society all over the world, killing millions and putting so much more out of work. Many businesses crumbled under the weight of the pandemic, and being in the health and insurance sector did not help ease the pressure off of his shoulders.

     

    “From the very start, the priority has always been the safety, financial security, and peace of mind of our people in these uncertain times. We have made huge strides as a company to ensure that our clients and stakeholders will continue to have timely access to our services at a time when they need us the most,” Martin said in an interview.

     

    Fortunately, before the crisis, Cocolife had already begun the streamlining and digitalization of its internal processes to enable its entire workforce to continue working efficiently from 虚拟货币交home. In fact, in response to the call of government to reduce the processing time of all COVID-19 related claims, the company had successfully ensured that its hotlines remain accessible 24/7 to approve requests for medical procedures and hospital admissions.

     

    Additionally, working closely with the company’s established network of hospitals across the country, Cocolife has ensured that they would have enough financial resources for the procurement of new medical equipment, PPEs, and support their expanded operations.

     

    “Our various initiatives for our clients, employees, and the Filipino people through our donations to COVID relief efforts have enabled our company to live up to our ideals and to confidently claim that we have played our role well – that we have not shirked away from our commitment to our clients and to the Filipino people to be there for them in their time of need,” Martin said.

     

    “We continue to believe in the resiliency and ability of the Filipino to bounce back from seemingly insurmountable odds, in the same way we know that the choices we have made as a company has already set us on the path to recovery.”

     

    Even before this, Martin had been committed to enacting sweeping systemic changes to Cocolife. He spearheaded reforms within the company to institutionalize good corporate governance – emphasizing the importance of integrity, transparency, efficiency, and ethics to streamline internal processes and comply with external regulatory requirements. He also led efforts to transform the operations of the old and outdated company to be at par with global standards, recently receiving zero audit findings from its latest ISO Audit for the first time in its history.

     

    Martin shifted the paradigm of the employees from a day-to-day work mindset into a value system centered on service, sacrifice, and people’s welfare, aiming to inspire their workforce to believe in their capacity to serve the people and be aware of their role in nation-building as providers of life insurance.

     

    He had to conquer numerous challenges in his short time as Cocolife’s CEO, and this time he was facing his biggest challenge yet. Looking back, he recalls how he took inspiration from his mentors and from how his parents had raised seven children while juggling work “that made the country and its people part of their lives”.

     

    Martin in his early years with his mother Pong Azcarraga-Querubin

     

    “Being among the young CEOs in the corporate world, I find myself blessed to have mentors whose response to the pandemic has set a clear example of how the business and private sector can become a reliable partner of the government in crisis management and nation-building,” he said.

     

    The training he had gained from Georgetown University was also extremely valuable in that it guided him in his approach with the crisis.

     

    “I constantly found myself reverting to my training on ‘scenario building’ and led the management discussions to focus on analyzing and understanding the current trend in health and insurance claims, possible changes in direction of government policy, consumer behavior, and employee morale. This then enabled us to have a clear picture of possible future scenarios and to develop and identify possible pathways toward the direction and initiatives we wanted to take as a company,” he added.

     

    Doing so allowed Cocolife to establish and maintain well-paced operations that is poised to deliver within their expected output for 2020, overcoming the setbacks and challenges of the pandemic. All while ensuring the continued employment of all Cocolife employees with “no one left behind”. Cocolife will also provide free COVID-19 vaccine for all its employees and their families once vaccine is already available.

     

     

    The challenges are far from over. “I believe that in 2021 and perhaps even a few years after, we would feel the full impact of COVID-19 and eventually reap the consequences of the decisions that we have made to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” he said.

     

    “Life will definitely not get any easier and we need to be ready for more complex challenges that we have to face head on. This year has shown that the best-laid plans and strategies can easily be thrown out the window by black swan events – or those that no one could predict or could fully comprehend the impact. Complacency does not have a place in our time. In approaching 2021 and the coming years, it would be important for me to deal with problems immediately, while being continuing to be flexible, innovative, and daring but always remaining grounded by my core values.”

     

    Martin noted that he remains committed to transforming Cocolife for better in the years to come, intending to lead the company through whatever other crises looming on the horizon by sticking to their core values and helping more Filipinos.

     

    “Cocolife plans to further strengthen its digital servicing even better by establishing efficient customer portals for its policyholders and potential clients. We have already initiated and worked on the needed updates in our core system and we’re looking at going full speed with the technological improvements by 2021,” he shared.

     

    He added, “With our enhanced product development efforts, we also aim to launch more products and services that are responsive to the changing landscape and consumer needs.”

     

    Read the full feature on BusinessWorld here.

     

     
  • Cocolife releases “Tuloy Pa Rin Tayo” featuring Kiefer Ravena as tribute to the Filipino People

    Friday, December 18, 2020

    Cocolife releases “Tuloy Pa Rin Tayo” featuring Kiefer Ravena as tribute to the Filipino People

    Cocolife has released their latest music video, “Tuloy Pa Rin Tayo”, in time for the Christmas season. The inspirational song was composed as tribute to the hardships of the Filipino people this 2020. It features everyday Pinoys who were displaced by the recent Taal Volcano eruption, as well as those who were affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

     

     

    In January, 2020, Taal Volcano erupted unexpectedly, leaving many Filipinos in the Calabarzon area under a state of calamity. Although casualties were low, many people were forced to evacuate from their 虚拟货币交homes. It also had a big impact on the economy.

     

    Amidst the panic from the natural calamity, people from all over the world started to focus on an emerging infectious disease. On January 31, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was officially recorded in the Philippines. Since then, the whole country has been acclimating to the new normal. The pandemic has affected every facet of Filipino life.

     

    Throughout these hardships, Cocolife continues to serve and inspire Filipinos. They started a donation drive and formed the Taal Relief Operation Team to help those who were displaced by the eruption. The company also donated an RT-PCR machine to make mass testing more available to the people. They also organized relief operations for those who were affected by the recent Supertyphoon Ulysses.

     

    Cocolife’s new music video, “Tuloy Pa Rin’ Tayo”, is another effort to inspire hope in the Filipinos during this trying time. It features real people who have overcome adversity – COVID-19 survivors, breadwinners, and families who were affected by calamities. It also shows current Cocolife President, Atty. Jose Martin Loon and PBA star Kiefer Ravena in action as they distribute much-needed relief goods to the needy.

     

    Watch the music video here: 

     

     

    Read the full feature here. 

  • 5 adulting tips Kiefer Ravena swears by to stay on top of his game

    Friday, December 18, 2020

    5 adulting tips Kiefer Ravena swears by to stay on top of his game

    There are millennials who take adulting in a breeze, while there are some still struggling to get a grip, especially in this time of pandemic. Whichever of these two you resonate with, here’s a tip: preparation is always key.

     

    Take a cue from PBA star Kiefer Ravena, who plays point guard for NLEX Road Warriors and was appointed team captain of Gilas Pilipinas earlier this year. That, aside from being the brand ambassador of financial services and insurance provider Cocolife.

     

    Ravena keeps a good balance between his responsibilities on and off the court by doing small practices today that would gear him up for the demands of tomorrow.

     

    To inspire you, the 27-year-old athlete lists down pointers that would help you win the real-life game of adulting at any point in your life.

     

    Tip #1: Prioritize your health both for yourself and the people around you.

     

    Keeping fit is vital not only for your health but also for the welfare of the people you live and work with. Ravena explains, “I continue to work out, eat healthily, and stay healthy. As a professional athlete, may responsibility kami to our professional team na ready kami, nasa kundisyon kami, just in case anything comes up.”

     

    His workout routine includes planks, bench press, and 10-kilometer stationary bike exercise, which he does every day even during the quarantine.

     

    Ravena continues, “Prioritize it (health) kasi we might be at the comfort of our 虚拟货币交homes, but sometimes we forget that our health is also important. So as much as possible, we must try to work out and sweat it out. Watch our eating habits.”

     

     

     
     
     
    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena15)

     

    Tip #2: Look after your mental health, too.

     

    Aside from keeping you in shape, Ravena recommends exercising regularly because it can also do wonders to your mental health and more so, turn us into capable adults.

     

    “Kaya sinasabi natin na kailangan ang healthy lifestyle kasi hindi lang physical health ‘yung natutulungan natin, pati mental health din,” he says. “Every time you workout and you stay healthy, your mental health comes with it, nae-excercise din ‘yan, we become mentally sharp, mentally ready, and mentally present.”

     

    The basketball player also recommends sticking with people who would “keep you sane,” especially amid the global crisis.

     

    “Talk to people, [as] it also exercises our brain. Kahit ‘yung mga random things na nare-realize natin, importante ‘yan na meron tayong mga taong natatakbuhan para maikwento ang mga bagay na ‘yan,” he notes.

     

    Tip #3: Find ways to grow money outside your day job.

     

    Chances are, you have probably spent most of your salary this quarantine in online sales and food deliveries. But who could blame you if there are just too many irresistible deals, right?

     

    Ravena, for one, admitted that he used to be guilty of hoarding rubber shoes. “Ang hirap pigilan kasi kapag may bagong [lumabas na] sapatos, parang mapapabili pa rin kahit binibigyan ka na ng libre. So doon ako nagi-guilty,” he reveals.

     

    While there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while, a responsible adult should also learn to do away with living paycheck to paycheck.

     

     
     
     
    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena15)

     

    One way of doing that is by finding ways to earn money besides your 9-to-5 job “kasi we don’t have to be stagnant, we have to evolve, and we have to do different things, hindi lang puro basketball,” Ravena says.

     

    To get started, the Gilas Captain suggests, “Look at the current news, talk to business people if you can. ‘Yung mga friends na may small businesses dyan, marami din tayong matutunan sa kanila. Nage-expand and nagiging wide ‘yung knowledge kung ano ‘yung mga do’s and don’t’s in terms of putting up a business. Swerte na tayo kasi everything is online, we can listen to people online, manood ng webinars para ma-increase din ‘yung network natin, marami din tayong makilalang iba’t-ibang tao.”

     

    Tip #4: Make small and smart investments.

     

    After you have beefed up your knowledge about finances, Ravena recommends making “small and smart investments.”

    “The return might not be that high initially but if you are consistent , sigurado kang may babalik sayo,” he says.

     

    And just like the PBA star, you don’t need to go farther than your own network in finding a good investment.

     

    He elaborates, “I’m involved with [sports] teams that are managed by my friends. We are trying to make an events group that could cater to different sports events. Kami ‘yung mag magma-manage. Naputol lang dahil sa pandemic so ngayon puro planning ang nangyayari.” 

     

    He adds, “I’m trying to be involved sa Women’s Basketball League kasi I am an avid fan of women’s basketball and I believe that it’s about time to put up a league for the women ballers para meron din silang nilu-look forward to after college, hindi lang nage-end ‘yung sports career nila sa college. We want to help, hopefully, it would work out in the future.”

     

    Aside from those, the PBA star would also like to pursue an investment in e-sports.

     

     

     

    Tip #5: Seek the advice of experts.

     

    Once you have decided to get into investments, Ravena recommends that you learn how to calculate your risks.

     

    “[Dapat] malakas din yung pigil mo kasi some investments might be enticing pero sa umpisa lang. ‘Pag dating sa dulo, mas malaki pa pala ‘yung talo mo,” he says.

     

    “Consult professionals and experts para matuto ka and maging sigurado talaga. Actually madali naman maglabas ng pera, wala naman problema ‘yan, pero dapat sigurado ka na may babalik sayo,” he concludes.

     

    To aid Ravena in achieving good returns, he consults with his trusted financial adviser Cocolife. 

     

    Cocolife offers FLEXI SERIES plans which are payable in five to 20 years that give you the freedom to design your plan based on your goals in life. Take your pick from various options: FLEXI-Investment helps you grow your money for major purchases, FLEXI-Education supports the education of your children, FLEXI-Retirement would take care of your funds in time for your retirement, and the FLEXI-Protection will provide you and your family with funds if you get sick or incapacitated.

     

    Find out which FLEXI SERIES plan suits your lifestyle here:

     

     

     

     

     

    Read the full feature here.