Janashakthi to take Life insurance to new level with unmatched products

Monday, 12 May 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

With the liberalisation of the economy in the early ’80s, the freedom to start insurance firms was given back to the people as part of a broader restoration of economic liberty. As a result, Janashakthi Life Insurance commenced operations in September 1995 and became a composite insurer in 2000. With the change of present regulations, Janashakthi Insurance, which is now listed at the Colombo Stock Exchange, is looking at splitting its business into two – segregating the Life and Non-Life businesses. Currently Janashakthi Insurance’s 115-strong branch network includes both Life and Non-life segments. Its Training and Development and Life operations encompass areas of underwriting, claims, servicing and group life insurance, all managed at present within this composite environment. Following are excerpts of an interview with General Manager – Life (Sales & Operations) Hashra Weerawardena, who explains how this splitting will take place and elaborates on the company’s plans for the future: By Ashwin Hemmathagama Q: What does the splitting of insurance segments entail for Janashakthi? A: The regulator has brought in new laws to split composite insurance companies, segregating the Life and Non-Life sectors into two different entities. The splitting will come into place by 2015. In our case, Janashakthi, which is a composite insurer, is currently getting ready for this split so as to be compliant with the new regulations. Q: Do you consider the splitting as a good move for the insurance industry in Sri Lanka? A: At the moment some companies have their Life and Non-Life business handled separately but accounts will be consolidated to meet existing regulations. The regulator’s decision to split the composite insurance companies is a good decision, which allows the insurance companies to better focus on the Life and Non-Life sectors separately, giving equal importance to each. Q: What will be your plans going forward for the Life segment? A: Life is a long-term business, while Non-Life consisting of marine, motor, fire and engineering classes are annually renewable contracts. Janashakthi required someone to oversee the Life sector at the time of splitting to take Janashakthi Life Insurance to another level and hence my arrival at Janashakthi in February this year. Janashakthi is mostly known for its Full Option and Non-Life sector. However, it is time that after 20 years, groundbreaking products such as ‘Janashakthi Life Unlimited,’ ‘Jeewitha Vardana’ and ‘LifeSaver’ also receive equal recognition. These products are considered unique in the industry and have been developed after thorough market research. The Life segment has not received much exposure in the market due to heavy concentration given to its non-life business. We are now concentrating on building up our Life sector and Janashakthi’s image. In this brand building exercise the insurance salesman plays a key role by taking the message to the masses. We all know that not just the salesman’s strength but the company image too is paramount when it comes to life insurance policies. Taking this into account, remuneration packages will be also be realigned to motivate our sales force to be amongst the best in the industry. Q: Will there be any changes to your product portfolio? A: Janashakthi Life has the best insurance products in the marketplace. Among a wide range of products, ‘Janashakthi Life Unlimited’ provides medical cover even after the policy has matured. This amounts to a lifelong medical cover for our valuable customers. None of our competitors are able to match this product. Similarly, we will bring uniqueness to our entire portfolio by repackaging our existing products. We will continue to meet market demand through providing excellent products through building up our valuable sales professionals in order to provide a stellar service.