Motor vehicle imports negatively impact General Insurance sector
‘The import of motor vehicles had a detrimental effect on the General Insurance sector, which had a negative growth of 1.3 per cent towards Gross Written Premium (GWP) of LKR 99.5 billion in 2020. The first half of 2021 too recorded a negative growth of 0.3 per cent, president, Insurance Association of Sri Lanka Iftikar Ahamed said.
The Insurance Association of Sri Lanka celebrated National Insurance Day on the 1st of September 2021. Insurance Month will be commemorated to spread awareness about the importance of insurance and its relevance at present. As all industries in the country undergo continuous challenges and changes during the global pandemic, the insurance industry too has been dynamic in its approach to customers in providing timely policy solutions ,an IASL press release said.
.It adds: Iftikar Ahamed, the President of IASL provided a look inside the insurance industry, detailing the changes in the industry landscape and IASL’s role during this time.
“The pandemic has had mixed effects on the insurance industry in the past year. The Life Insurance Industry Gross Written Premium (GWP) grew by 16% to cross the LKR 100 billion threshold in 2020, and the first six months of 2021 saw a growth of 30%, which is a remarkable number despite the effects of the previous year. The import of motor vehicles had a detrimental effect of the General Insurance sector, which had a negative growth of 1.3% towards GWP of LKR 99.5 billion in 2020. The first half of 2021 too recorded a negative growth of 0.3%.
“As the apex body of the industry, insurance awareness month is utilized to spread awareness of the relevance and importance of insurance to every Sri Lankan. We have seen many insurance providers explore new avenues that would be timely solutions for our customers as they push the traditional limits in solutions and selling by transitioning into the digital sphere, reducing overall turnaround times. These have to be taken to the public in quick and efficient ways, where aggressive marketing and sales becomes key. The Insurance Awareness month therefore, becomes more crucial this year.”
Speaking on how the pandemic has affected the industry and the steps taken to ease the burden of those affected as well as the government, Iftikar Ahamed continued “The insurance industry has stood by its policyholders by coming forward to meet their COVID claims despite the pandemic, which is usually an exclusion. Especially during the third and fourth waves honouring claims has been a moment of truth for many customers and a true testimony to the fact that we are there for Sri Lanka.
“In addition, rewarding and recognizing efforts, especially at times such as these, is important for the industry given that their role has been extremely challenging during this period. The National insurance awards took place on 1st September as a virtual event where the brightest and the best talent in the industry received awards for both 2019 and 2020, since we could not have this event last year.”
When asked his opinion on how insurance companies might successfully maintain customer interest, Iftikar Ahamed further added, “The attention and interest of the public on insurance and the protection that it affords is now quite evident. The industry needs to capture this moment and maintain engagement with meaningful benefits whilst ensuring that all policyholders are treated fairly and equitably.”
It is hoped that the message of insurance will be further disseminated following Insurance Month 2021, and that it will result in increased awareness and understanding among the people of Sri Lanka. A subject that can be embedded into the daily life of an individual from dawn to dusk, it is vital that the public can access their preferred insurance solution at the time, place, price and in the manner they want.
Venora Lanka Power Panels to set up assembly plant in Australia
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Sri Lanka- based, export- oriented manufacturer, Venora Lanka Power Panels (Pvt) Ltd, with a state of the art electric panel factory at the Export Processing Zone, Biyagama, will set up an assembly plant in Australia.
“Once we set up the electric panel assembly plant in Australia, we will export all our panels from Sri Lanka and that plant will do 30 percent value addition to the product to supply that market, the company’s chairman/ Managing Director, engineer Sagara Gunawardena told The Island Financial Review.
Gunawardena said that the company is a value- addition assembly plant and he would be investing AUS $ 2 million for the project to be set up in Melbourne and hire 100 engineers and other professionals. He explained that the venture has enormous potential.
Venora Lanka provides power panels to mega projects in Sri Lanka and exports to Bangladesh, Maldives, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Myanmar. Panel assembling is strictly in compliance with IEC 61439 standards, it was explained.
Gunawardena added: ‘I firmly believe that, being a truly customer focused organization, every employee and every process in the organization has to be aligned behind delighting customers. Therefore, at a time when the country is facing a major dollar crisis, my company would be aiming at bringing dollars into the country, while providing employment for local professionals, especially engineers.
‘At Venora Lanka we do not try to change customers’ mindsets. Instead, we take time to understand what they really want and focus our brand on delivering that. Venora is values- driven first and cost- driven second – creating a unique brand proposition.
‘Since the US dollar rate has come down, it is our concern that importers and suppliers do not change their prices, which is really affecting the manufacturing sector.
Company sources added: ‘The company has several wings of operation, such as local and overseas projects, switch board assembling, telecommunication infrastructure installations, earthing, lighting and surge protection, incorporating world renowned brands.
‘Venora Lanka Power Panels is the first Sri Lankan company to receive the licence, in accordance with the UK Trade Mark Act 1994, to use the trade mark “Best Enterprise”. It won a global award at the event, ‘Golden Awards for Quality and Business Prestige’, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.
‘Within a short span of time, with the perfect blend of progressive thinking and expertise, Venora Group has expanded to consist of, Venora International Projects, Venora Telecom, Venora Industrial Solutions and Venora Lanka Power Panels (BOI approved). Further, Venora has established its overseas presence through Venora Engineering Kenya and Venora Engineering Myanmar.’
Share market moves into positive territory; indices up
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE trading got off to a positive note yesterday but during the last session of the day the momentum slowed. However, the market is now moving towards positive territory following the Central Bank announcement of a downward trend in interest rates, market analysts said.
Amid those developments the market witnesses improvements in both indices and in the turnover.
The All- Share Price Index up by 12.8 points and S and P SL 20 rose by 6.97 points. Turnover stood at Rs 710 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH which crossed 430,000 shares to the tune of Rs 60.2 million; its shares traded at Rs 140.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 212 million (1.5 million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 44.7 million ( three million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 34.5 million (264,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 28.6 million (5.3 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 23.8 million (4.7 million shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 22.9 million (615,000 shares traded) and First Capital Holdings Rs 19.2 million (574,000 shares traded). During the day the 31.4 million shares volumes changed hands in 9000 transactions.
Yesterday, the Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 285.16 and the selling rate Rs 298.85.
Ceylinco Life appoints new COO and Deputy COO to strengthen leadership pipeline
Ceylinco Life has announced the appointments of Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra as Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Operating Officer respectively, following the creation of the two positions as part of the Company’s leadership pipeline for the next decade and beyond.
Abeynayake has been with Ceylinco Life for 25 years and is an Executive Director and the Company’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer, while Hemachandra has been with the Company for 23 years and is the General Manager – Marketing.
“These appointments add further strength and depth to the management structure and look at our leadership requirements for the next 10 to 15 years,” Ceylinco Life Chairman R. Renganathan said. “Transparent and long-term succession planning is extremely important in the financial services sector, ensuring seamless continuity and consistency for all stakeholders.”
Ceylinco Life Managing Director and CEO Thushara Ranasinghe added: “Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra have been part of the management team that achieved market leadership for Ceylinco Life in 2004 and maintained that leadership to this date, unbroken for 19 years. They represent the core values and the vision and mission of the Company, and will be fully supported by the Board of Directors and the management team as they are groomed for key leadership positions.”
A Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, Ranga Abeynayake counts over 25 years of experience in handling key management positions in the areas of Finance, Risk Management, Strategic Planning, Treasury Management and Project Planning. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Abeynayake previously served as Chairman/Non-Executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC., and currently serves as a Non-executive Director of Ceylinco Insurance PLC and as a Director of Serene Resorts Limited.
A Fellow (FCIM) and Chartered Marketer of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) – UK, and of the Certified Management Accountants (CMA) – Australia, Mr Samitha Hemachandra counts over 20 years of work experience in Brand Management, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Management and Strategic Planning. He has been directly involved in designing, developing and implementing many integrated marketing campaigns for Ceylinco Life. Mr Hemachandra holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Western Sydney – Australia. He is a past Chairman of the Marketing and Sales Forum of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) and has been a member of the judging panel of the SLIM Brand Excellence awards for many years.
He is currently a Director of Ceylinco Healthcare Services Ltd., and a Non-executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB), which are subsidiary and associate companies of Ceylinco Life.
Adjudged Sri Lanka’s ‘Brand of the Year’ and ‘Service Brand of the Year’ by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) and ‘Best Life Insurer in Sri Lanka’ by World Finance for the ninth consecutive year in 2022, Ceylinco Life was conferred the ‘Peoples Life Insurance Service Provider of the Year’ title at 2023 SLIM Kantar Peoples Awards for the 17th consecutive year. Ceylinco Life has been the country’s leading life insurer for more than half of the 35 years it has been in existence. The Company was also ranked the ‘Most Valuable Life Insurance Brand in Sri Lanka’ by Brand Finance and certified a ‘Great Workplace’ in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year in 2022. Ceylinco Life has close to a million lives covered by active policies and provides innovative life insurance solutions which offer protection while de-risking the goals and ambitions of the Company’s policyholders.
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