Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company
Cornelius Vander Starr |
|Headquarters||15/F-18/F Net Lima Bldg. 5th Avenue cor. 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig|
Edmund Tse (Chairman of the Board) |
Jose Cuisia (Vice-Chairman of the Board)
Ariel G. Cantos (President and Chief Executive Officer)
|Products||Insurance, annuities, mutual funds|
|Revenue||PH₱29.4 billion (2011)|
|PH₱ 7.3 billion (2011)|
|Total assets||PH₱ 207.3 billion (2011)|
|Total equity||PH₱ 66.4 billion(2011)|
The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (also commonly known by its trade name, Philam Life) is an insurance company based in the Philippines. It is currently the largest life insurance company in the Philippines in terms of assets, net worth, investment and paid-up capital.
Philam Life was founded in 1947 by Cornelius Vander Starr, the founder of AIG, and his partner Earl Carroll. Despite it being a relatively new player in the insurance in the Philippines, it quickly became the number one insurance company in the Philippines by 1949.
It has since received various awards such as the Asian Management Award for General Management, Asian Management Award for Financial Management, and the Reader’s Digest Platinum Trusted Brand Award. In addition, it also received the Presidential Citation from the Philippine government in 1994 for the company’s "invaluable contribution to nation-building and service to the country."
Another milestone for the company was made in 1961 when the Philam Life Building in Ermita was inaugurated, which soon became a landmark structure as well as being a center of culture and the arts in Manila. The building would serve as its headquarters until 2013, when the company moved its headquarters to the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
Philam Life was part of the American International Group (AIG) until 2008 when the company, along with other AIG subsidiaries, American International Assurance (AIA) and ALICO were placed under the administration of a special purpose vehicle in exchange for a bailout by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. On November 3, 2009, the American International Assurance (AIA Group) bought 99.78% stake of Philamlife after approval of government regulators. On November 27, 2009, the new Philamlife bought a 51% stake in Ayala Life and formed a joint venture with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). Ayala Life was renamed BPI-Philam Life Assurance Corporation (BPI-Philam) in 2010.
As a member of the AIA group, Philam Life has earned the distinction of being AIA’s Top Performing Company out of 17 countries in the AIA Group, having won the AIA Champion’s League Gold Cup and the Premier League Champion Cup in 2013.
The Philamlife Building in Manila was the former headquarters of the company. Designed by Carlos Arguelles, the building was one of the first structures built in the international style of architecture. It was completed in 1962.
From that initial project, the Philamlife Corporation gave Arguelles his first big office-building commission — the Philamlife headquarters. This he shaped into one of the first international-style buildings in Manila. The medium-rise block was a rectangularly-planned structure with a centralized core that allowed some 20,000 square meters of office space to be naturally daylighted through the use of wraparound ribbon window glazing and aluminum sunshades supported by pipes and mullions. Sculpted concrete formed entrance canopies and a roof for the complex’s auditorium. Arguelles also used the artwork of Filipino artists like Galo Ocampo and Manansala to enhance the clean, spacious and brightly lit interiors.
The banding of the aluminium imbued the building with its extraordinary look. This horizontal definition countered the bulk and height of the building, allowing it to blend with the design context of the low-rise district of Manila.
The building was known better for its Auditorium, whose acoustical profile is highly suitable for classical music. Known for its excellent acoustics, Philam Life Auditorium on United Nations Avenue in Ermita is a 780-seat theater whose acoustics were done by Bolt, Beranek and Newman, which also did the acoustics of the Sydney Opera House, United Nations Assembly Hall in New York, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Cultural Center of the Philippines and Baltimore's Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Many musical icons made their mark at the Philam Life Auditorium. In the early ‘70s, opera icon Renata Tebaldi, reportedly a rival of the equally great Maria Callas, figured in a memorable recital at the Philam Life Theater and cracked in a Manon Lescaut aria. Instead of being booed, she was showered with "Bravas."
The great black contralto, Marian Anderson, also sang at Philam Life. The first Filipino winner of a voice competition carrying her name, tenor Otoniel Gonzaga, also sang there with soprano Camille Lopez Molina.
On Jan. 22, 1969, eight-year-old piano prodigy Cecile Licad made her orchestral debut at the Philam Life with the University of the East Student Orchestra under the baton of Col. Antonino Buenaventura, now a National Artist for Music, playing Avery’s Concertino Based on Familiar Tunes. Licad went on to reap honors, including the prestigious Leventritt Gold Medal that launched her international career. Another recipient of the Leventritt Gold Medal, violinist Pinchas Zukerman, also performed at the Philam Life Auditorium in the ‘90s.
So was the iconic and much-cherished Philam Life Auditorium, which will be demolished after serving for 52 years as the venue of the most memorable performances the country has seen. “Elegantly Brahms” is the last major musical event to be held at the Auditorium. Its parent company, Philam Life, the country’s premier life insurance company, is moving to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Mall of Asia starting April.
It was also the current home of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
In 2013, Philam Life has moved its headquarters to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and has sold the Ermita site to mall developer SM Development Corp. (SMDC). Although many expect the site to be turned into a shopping mall, SMDC hasn’t actually decided what to do with the Auditorium.
The company also owns the 14th tallest building in the Philippines, the Philamlife Tower along Paseo de Roxas Avenue in Makati City through its real estate affiliate. The building was inaugurated in 2000.
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- "Ranking of Life Insurance Companies according to Investment at Cost as of December 31, 2010" (PDF). Insurance Commission. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
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- Alcazaren, Paulo (August 30, 2008). "Requiem for a Master Architect". PhilStar.com. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- Santiago, Katrina Stuart (April 5, 2013). "Heritage and the Quest to Save the Philam Life Theater". GMA News Online. GMA News. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- "RP renews musical ties with Italy". VERA Files. Retrieved 1 June 2012.