Our history

Sun Life Philippines History Sun Life Philippines History

Trusted for generations

From world wars to building a nation, Sun Life in the Philippines led an illustrious history that bore witness to the struggles and triumphs of Filipinos.

It was in 1895, three years before the Republic of the Philippines was officially founded, when Sun Life first set foot in the country with the mission of giving Filipinos the opportunity to enjoy the humanitarian benefits of insurance.

It was not an easy task. When World War II happened, it became even more daunting

But Sun Life’s love for the Filipinos pushed the company to be there for its clients no matter what, even if it meant running underground operations during the Japanese Occupation. Sun Life was the only life insurance company who paid post-war death claims amounting to S1.3 million even without documents attesting to the validity of the claims. In the end, all claims were found to be legitimate.

Through the years, Sun Life flourished even as the country faced economic crises and Martial Law. The company’s commitment to the Filipino people remained firm and unsullied.

By the end of the century, Sun Life was motivated to do more and be more as it prepared for a major organic change under the process called ‘demutualization’ - transforming from a branch of a mutual company offering a single product, life insurance, to a wholly-owned subsidiary of a publicly-traded stock company.

And that happened in March 2000 when Sun Life Financial shares were traded on the Philippine stock Exchange for the first time. It had the biggest number of shareholders at the local bourse that year with 194,000 shareholders during initial listing.

This most important milestone provided opportunities for Sun Life Philippines to expand its product offerings even further.

On top of the list was the launching in April 2000 of Sun Life’s mutual funds business with the creation of its first subsidiary, the Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. that offered the biggest family of mutual funds in the country then. Following this development shortly was the launching of its 2nd subsidiary, Sun Life Financial Plans, Inc. which offered the industry’s first participating pre-need plans.

As these two subsidiaries took shape, Sun Life pioneered new business strategies and enriched its financial literacy advocacy with the launching of its first multi-media campaign called “it” Time!” – a breakthrough advocacy in the industry. This campaign was complemented with efforts to increase the reach of Sun Life through its provincial expansion and aggressive recruitment activities.

The pursuit of excellence was a never-ending journey for Sun Life Philippines.

Sun Life finally took the top spot in premium income in 2011, overtaking its leading competitor who reigned for over 60 years. Sun Life’s rise to the top was the culmination of wholehearted and collaborative efforts of all the members of the Sun Life family.

It was also in 2011 when Sun Life Financial signed a joint venture agreement with the Yuchengco Group of companies for the creation of Sun Life Grepa Financial, Inc. that marked Sun Life’s entry into the bancassurance business.

As it celebrated its 120th anniversary in the Philippines in 2015, Sun Life sustained its strength and prominence despite a more challenging environment.

In 2015, the company successfully completed and achieved all the goals under its 5-year growth plan (crafted in 2010) called “Route 5” which served as the company’s driving force to attain 5 Billion in Net Income, 5 Billion in AFYP, 50 Billion in mutual funds AUM and 5,000 advisors, all done in five years. The year culminated with Sun Life receiving the ‘Life Insurance Company of the Year’ award at the 19th Asia Insurance awards in Singapore, and the distinction of being the ‘Employer of the Year’ given by the Management Association of the Philippines.

Beyond the numbers and the accolades, however, Sun Life is never remiss of its duties as a good corporate citizen, consistently lending a hand to those in need through the Sun Life Philippines Foundation. It is a task that the company does with much passion.

In celebration of Sun Life’s 120th, the Foundation mounted the ‘120 Rays of Giving back’ program that extended assistance to various underprivileged communities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Assistance came in the form of fishing boats and school buildings and supplies for calamity victims, and the provision of health care and basic needs like electricity and water systems which helped alleviate the livelihood of the underserved Filipinos in far flung areas, among others.

The journey is not over. It is a continuing endeavor to always see Sun Life clients, advisors, employees and the communities rise to the challenges of the times. It is when they shine that Sun Life feels most fulfilled.

And it is this legacy of love, passion, and commitment, that the company aims to uphold.

As it continues its journey onwards... for a brighter Philippines!