HNB Assurance gives a facelift to the insurance field

Monday, 11 October 2010 21:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

In comparison to many of its peers in the industry, HNB Assurance has been able to record an impressive growth of 31% in its profit before tax for the half year ending 30 June 2010. This equals an amount of  Rs. 44.3 million. Meanwhile the profit before tax stood at Rs. 62.3 million which itself was a growth of 34%.

“In the competitive insurance arena, amidst many changes in macroeconomic variables, HNB Assurance has consistently maintained a high performance and excellent growth rate. This is in both the General as well as Life Insurance sectors. It is indeed a noteworthy aspect in the Company’s journey” said Managing Director, HNB Assurance – Manjula de Silva

HNB Assurance is known for its innovative take on the insurance sector. Constantly thinking out of the box, the company always strives to introduce novel products to the market. Whilst continuing to cater to the traditional spectrum of insurance products the Company also maintains a number of products that are innovative and modern. Of these a popular product seems to be the “My life” Policy targeted at the youth of our country. Traditionally, worries about health, retirement and such were the propelling factors in getting a life insurance policy. However the needs and worries of the younger generation are completely different. Monetary resources are needed for the happier occasions of one’s life. For instance – the wedding, the first car, the first child etc. Also the youth of the nation comprises one third of the population and this is a big sector of the market whose complex and different needs need to be met. This is how ‘My life” came into being and has, from its inception been a raging success.

The policy, whilst encouraging the habit of saving, also gives you the opportunity of being able to withdraw up to 15% at a time of the savings for the important occasion. This creates a balance between one’s short and long term needs. Both need to be addressed. The policy also changes the traditional view of life policies being needed for the bleak moments in life and instead channels it towards the happier moments. The use of popular youth icons Bathiya and Santhush as brand ambassadors further emphasises this change in perception.

Another innovative product introduced by HNB Assurance was one targeting the agricultural and fishing communities. A close study of these fields showed the need for a life policy in these communities, but there was an inability to pay a regular premium. In an unprecedented move, HNB Assurance developed the Ran Aswanu policy which stipulates that premiums can be paid as and when possible – as opposed to a strict monthly payment. This policy becomes effective on payment of the first premium and with the payment of more and more premiums, the strength of the benefits too grow proportionately.

A grave need for this policy was seen in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and thus Ran Aswanu was re-launched as “Thanga Aruvadei” in Jaffna. This policy whilst essentially having the same characteristics as Ran Aswanu was restructured completely in terms of marketing and advertising so as to appeal to the culture and community of people in those areas. Going by the response, the venture has been a success so far.

At a time when interest rates are drastically low, most people seek a sound investment opportunity with the lowest risk. To cater to this segment, HNB Assurance introduces yet another innovative product – Super4.

This policy is a 4 year investment policy bought with a onetime premium which offers a return of 11% per annum. It also comes with a life cover of 1.5 times the premium which makes it a tax free investment on the whole. The minimum premium for this policy is Rs. 25,000.

Apart from these very attractive innovative policies, HNB Assurance also caters to the need for regular products. However these regular products too feature inventive specifications.  For instance, Motor Guard, the Motor Insurance offered, is a popular one and its no claim bonus has the fastest rising rate – of up to 75% — in the industry. Recognising the impossibility of avoiding accidents, however careful one might be on the road; Motor Guard allows one accident per year which does not affect the no claim bonus. At the same time there are people who enjoy a good no claim bonus rate because of their good driving who however have to start from the bottom of the ladder when it comes to a second car. This is why Motor Guard allows a policy member to enjoy the same rate of no claim bonus, on all vehicles in his name.

HNB Assurance has also tied up with various leading vehicle parts suppliers and offers a discount card to its policy holders. This card enables the policy holders to avail themselves of discounts when it comes to enhancing or replacing parts in their vehicles. These discounts are available from Brown & Company, Mag City, Tyre House Trading, Venture Security Service, Kandy Tyre House, M.M.Organisation and Oshan Windscreen House. Furthermore, HNB Assurance uses the latest trends in technology to enhance their products. When accidents are reported, the name and telephone number of the assessor will be sent via SMS to the policy holder. Most assessors are equipped with camera phones from which the images will be sent to the insurance centre, based on which the estimation will be relayed back. Even matters like policy renewal dates, etc., are sent as SMS reminders to policy holders. For HNB customers, claims are directly credited to their account and a SMS is sent to advise them of same.

With all these novel schemes and products under their belt, it is no surprise that HNB Assurance has performed well in the past and will surely continue to do so in the future.

Having always had a strong presence in the Northern Province – in Jaffna – two more branches were recently opened in Manipay and Nelliady. Branches are also in operation in Mannar, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Ampara and Kalmunai. This brings the total number of branches to 49 – island wide. Apart from this each HNB Bank branch features a Bancassurance unit, which altogether makes up another 90 outlets.

The Company has performed well whilst at the same time meeting the expectations of the shareholders. This is reflected in the share market valuation which stands at over 3 billion, whilst a share trades at around Rs. 84.  Manjula de Silva concluded by further stating that “the Company will take effective steps to further accelerate the rate of growth in the turnover in the near future”.