CLIMBS Life and General Insurance Cooperative started in 1971 as an experiment in mutual protection.
Lawyers Aquilino Pimentel, Sr., Mordino R. Cua and other prime movers from of the Misamis-Oriental-Bukidnon-Camiguin Federation of Cooperatives (MBC) and the Southern Philippines Education Cooperative Center (SPECC) organized CLIMBS to provide mutual protection to cooperative members that include low income farmers, fishermen, employees and laborers who cannot afford or do not have easy access to insurance products offered by commercial insurers.
At its inception, CLIMBS, with only six member-owners, served as a service unit of the MBC dealing with life insurance.
CLIMBS start with nothing – no assets, no grants but only with sheer determination to grow and make a difference in the lives of coop members, and the public in general. CLIMBS originally held office at the residence of Atty. Cua in Cagayan de Oro.
Its first set of Board of Directors was composed of Atty. Cua who was also the manager until his retirement in 1993, Fernando S. Alag Sr., Faustino H. Paraguya, Felipe Flores, Daniel Sinco, Casimiro Mansilla, Bernardino O. Ente Sr., and Charles Pangilinan, who hailed from different places in Mindanao. Manuela Pelaez was the first secretary.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges, CLIMBS was undaunted. In fact, it became more determined in promoting its ideals and aspirations as a cooperative mutual benefit services provider to cooperatives in the country.
CLIMBS over the years
Few years after its creation, member-owners of CLIMBS decided to have it incorporated as a non-stock and non-profit corporation and was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 20, 1975 making CLIMBS a separate entity. However, the incorporation placed it under the management of SPECC, now known as MASS SPECC.
On December 17, 1992, CLIMBS was registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) in compliance with Republic Act 6938 or the Cooperative Code of the Philippines. Its registration with SEC was cancelled on April 14, 1993.
Under the management of Mr. Fermin L. Gonzales, who succeeded Atty. Cua it became a Mutual Benefit Association (MBA) on April 20, 1994 by virtue of a license issued by the Insurance Commission.
On June 1, 2007, CLIMBS the MBA and CLASP the insurance company was consolidated and in 2008, CLIMBS applied with the Insurance Commission (IC) for the composite insurance license to operate as life and general insurance company.
On March 26, 2010, CLIMBS was granted by the Insurance Commission (IC) the license as composite insurance.
In 2011, CLIMBS launched its Institute for Financial Literacy.
Adhering to the principle of cooperation among cooperatives, CLIMBS established linkages with foreign and domestic cooperative institutions such as Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) and the International Cooperative Development Agency (ICDA).
The tie-up with ICDA-CCA in 1989 enabled CLIMBS to acquire the needed technical know-how and financial assistance to develop its insurance services.
In 1996, CLIMBS was affiliated with the International Cooperative Mutual and Insurance Federation (ICMIF) an association of insurers in over 60 countries in the world.
CLIMBS has also linked up with private entities and cooperatives related institutions such as the Philippine Prudential Life, Inc., CCC Insurance Corporation, Philippine Insurance Association, Inc., and National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), among others.
From a humble beginning, CLIMBS sustained its climbs to a high level of growth and strength, allowing it to expand coverage and diversify its services. It services the insurance needs of more than 800 cooperatives and more than 1 million people who own these cooperatives. Its services include group term life insurance, individual life and non-life insurance and Natural Catastrophe insurance product in partnership with the largest insurance company in Germany, MunichRe.
Today, CLIMBS is already a billion insurance company in assets. It already has its own 3-storey building on a 5,056 square-meter lot it owned in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City which also housed its Training Center and its 5-storey commercial complex at the city proper. It has its Branch office in Quezon City, area offices in Davao City, Cebu City, Naga City, Baguio City and Iloilo City.
On hindsight, CLIMBS’ achievements became possible due to the tenacity of its leaders who doggedly moulded a fledgling organization into a viable, service-oriented grassroots insurance institution. The support it received from cooperative in the country, the presence of open-minded, dynamic, aggressive and result-oriented leadership and a management style that always seek common grounds are important factors that brought CLIMBS to its present status.
In the meantime, CLIMBS continues to forge mutually beneficial arrangements with coops, coop banks and coop federations with the end in view of becoming an important component of a dynamic integrated coop financial system