Fairfax Financial Holdings Chairman and CEO Prem Watsa addressing the employees of Fairfirst Insurance on his visit
Fairfax Financial Holdings Chairman Prem Watsa, along with other senior officials of the Fairfax Group, visited the island on 5 and 6 November. Fairfax Financial Holdings Founder Chairman and Chief Executive Watsa, based in Toronto, has steered the company from a domestic insurer in Canada to an international conglomerate focused on investment, insurance, health and wellness.
Today, it operates in over 100 countries all over the world having assets amounting to approximately $ 64.3 billion.
The Fairfax Group entered the Sri Lankan market in 2015 by acquiring 78% ownership of Union Assurance General (UAG), subsequently purchasing Asian Alliance Insurance PLC (AAI), a unit of the diversified Softlogic group. In late 2016, the amalgamation of the two, UAG and AAGI took place; and in 2017, the amalgamated entity of UAG and AAGI was renamed Fairfirst Insurance Ltd.
Since then, Fairfirst Insurance has emerged as one of the country’s top general insurance companies and the most innovative.
“We believe the reason for our success is owed to the outcome of a talented, committed team of experience, enthusiasm, creativity and passion all ably led by Sanjeev. This team is aligned to a common vision of ‘business being a good thing’ and the ‘golden rule’ is their operating mantra. I am very proud of this team’s and Fairfirst’s sustained progress,” commented Prem Watsa.
When asked if he was thinking of selling the company, he vehemently replied: “Not a chance. I have publicly stated that no one can buy any of our companies. But there is a chance we might be buying,” he added. As per Watsa: “In Sri Lanka there is a tremendous amount of opportunity with good governance. Good government is very important to support good business.”
Watsa is a firm believer that business is a force for good, and in this context, he is also a strong advocate of community engagement and the upliftment of social wellbeing. Post Easter attacks, Fairfax made a substantial donation towards the rehabilitation of 279 families in the areas of educational, medical and livelihood support. Going beyond this effort, Watsa during his visit launched the association of the Sri Lanka Police K9 unit with Fairfirst Insurance.
Fairfax remains bullish on the country’s growth potential and has made substantial investments outside the insurance arena in Sri Lanka. During his visit, Watsa, apart from meeting the teams at Fairfirst, met with Fairfirst’s local shareholder John Keells Holdings, and their other invested companies, Nations Trust Bank, Fintrex Finance and Luxe Asia.
Fairfirst is a leading insurance company that is part of the Canadian-based Fairfax Group. Serving individuals, businesses and institutions across this beautiful island, the company offers its out-of-the-box solutions via a versatile workforce spread across comprehensive branch network, affinity partners and brokers in Sri Lanka.