Singapore, 3 December 2021 – Gigacover, Southeast Asia’s financial health platform, today announced its expansion into the Philippines. The market entry is aimed at empowering, protecting, and supporting the Filipino informal workforce with more tailored, comprehensive and inclusive benefits through enhanced finance and insurance options tailored for the informal workers.
With an office located in Makati, Metro Manila, Gigacover’s Philippines operations will be managed by a team of 20, and will be headed by Sebastian San as Country Manager. Sebastian brings with him a track record of success and a clear understanding of the needs of the gig workforce, being personally involved in driving sustained growth for Gigacover Singapore. He will oversee all aspects of the business for Gigacover Philippines, and will also work towards doubling local headcount by the end of 2022 to support its in-country expansion efforts.
Despite the sizable gig workforce in the Philippines, support for these workers remains limited, similar to other economies in Southeast Asia. Gigacover starts its market entry on a strong food with logistics platform Gogo Xpress powered by QuadX as well as entrepreneurship and freelancing group Filipina Homebased Moms (FHMoms) as its first customers, collectively representing 20,500 workers and aiming to serve 100,000 informal workers in the Philippines by Q2 2022.
According to research conducted by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Co., the Philippines is home to the third largest unbanked and underbanked population in Southeast Asia. The informal economy, particularly gig work provided by digital platforms, currently comprises over 1.5 million Filipinos. Beyond flexible working hours and income opportunities, measures around financial and welfare protection as well as other institutionalised mechanisms to support these workers remain limited.
Working in partnership with Etiqa and Aventus Medical, Gigacover will be able to offer more inclusive insurance and healthcare options tailored for the informal work. For instance, Gigacover’s Freelancer Earnings Protection (FLEP) provides informal workers with access to paid medical and sick leaves. It covers both major and minor accidents or illnesses, aiming to provide better coverage, stability and benefits that are often associated only with regular employment.
Flexible and cost-effective group insurance and healthcare options will also be offered to employers, demonstrating how safety nets can be inclusive, flexible, comprehensive, and yet still remain affordable. In addition to its existing suite of products, Gigacover will also be launching financial services products in the Philippines in Q1 2022, aiming to increase access to capital and banking services to an often underserved yet essential segment of the workforce.
“We are excited to play a leading role in providing inclusive benefits and improving the social security of the Philippines’ gig workforce. Beyond just a typical insurance provider, Gigacover is a financial platform that works with insurance companies and financial institutions to provide benefits tailored to the gig workforce in Southeast Asia. We are honoured at the trust that Gogo Xpress powered by QuadX and FHMoms has placed in Gigacover, and will continue to work towards enhancing social protection for Southeast Asia’s gig workforce,” said Amerson Lin, Co-Founder and CEO of Gigacover.
“We are happy to partner with Gigacover and provide access to their members and policyholders medical services in our outpatient clinics. We will continue to work with Gigacover on relevant new and affordable services,” shared Racquel Cagurangan, SVP and COO of Aventus Medical Care, Inc.
Bea Mantecon, Head of Customer Success of QuadX, also added, “At Gogo Xpress, we pride ourselves in treating our rider partners as our third customer, apart from our sellers and buyers. It has been our mission to ensure that we don’t just equip our riders with the tools they need for their livelihood, but to motivate them to succeed as well by providing desired perks for their excellent performance. That is why we were so delighted to partner with Gigacover, the first company we’ve worked with that focuses primarily on perks relevant to gig workers.”
Based on the World Bank’s 2019 estimates, Southeast Asia’s informal workforce has seen a consistent 30 per cent annual growth – which was further accelerated in 2020 by the pandemic. As compared to other countries in the region, Gigacover is seeing different occupations, age groups and a diverse gender distribution in the Philippines’ gig workforce, which is made up of 30 per cent females and majority aged 65 and above. Latest data from the Philippines’ Insurance Commission indicated that the insurance industry contributed just 1.58 per cent to national GDP as of June 2021, suggesting that the overall insurance penetration rate among the population remains low. This places gig workers at financial risk – reaffirming Gigacover’s timely market entry to support this underserved segment with right-sized service offerings.