An Echelon Media Company
Friday July 12th, 2024

Amana Takaful: Thriving on Diversity, Inclusion and Innovation

S. Karthigun, Chief Executive of Amana Takaful General, and Gehan Rajapakse, Chief Executive of Amana Takaful Life

As Amana Takaful celebrates its 25th anniversary, the insurer reflects on its evolution from humble beginnings to becoming a prominent figure in the industry. As the sole fully-fledged Takaful provider in the country, Amana Takaful offers a range of insurance solutions grounded in values of trust, customer focus, quality, and diversity. Looking ahead, Amana Takaful remains committed to providing peace of mind and trusted protection to every Sri Lankan.

Joining us to discuss their journey and strategy for growth are S. Karthigun, Chief Executive of Amana Takaful General, and Gehan Rajapakse, Chief Executive of Amana Takaful Life.

Can you share some key highlights of the firm’s journey from its modest beginnings to becoming a growing insurance provider with over 42 branches island-wide?

Amana Takaful, founded in 1999, has experienced substantial expansion, operating exclusively as the full-fledged Takaful provider in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Initially serving the Muslim community, we now cater to all Sri Lankans with a focus on quality, customer-centeredness, and diversity. With over 500 staff, we are recognized as Sri Lanka’s most awarded insurance company and the fastest-growing insurer in the motor segment. Our success is driven by strategic partnerships and a deep commitment to fostering ethnic and gender diversity.

How has Amana Takaful’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, providing equal opportunities to all ethnicities and maintaining a balanced gender ratio, contributed to its success and culture over the past 25 years?

Amana Takaful’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity has been pivotal to our success over 25 years. Guided by our mantra, “To every Sri Lankan, as one,” we embrace diversity in our workforce, customer relationships, and partnerships across Sri Lanka. Our dedication to gender and ethnic diversity is evident, with over 50% of our operations team being women and more than 60% of our staff from diverse ethnic and non-Muslim backgrounds. This inclusive environment is reinforced by our high number of longstanding employees, supported by continuous development programmes like the PIM Institute’s management staff development initiative. As we expand and innovate in Sri Lanka, our diverse product offerings reflect our commitment to meeting the diverse needs of our customers. Celebrating our Silver Jubilee, we are proud of our inclusive culture that not only strengthens our internal dynamics but also enhances our ability to serve all Sri Lankans effectively, driving Amana Takaful’s growth and success.

For context, give us an overview and outlook of the insurance industry and how Takaful Insurance is making an impact.

The insurance industry is evolving rapidly with advancements in technology, changing customer expectations, and regulatory shifts. Traditional models are being complemented by digital platforms and innovative products to meet diverse consumer needs. Takaful Insurance, rooted in Islamic principles of shared responsibility, fosters community and mutual support, reflecting the values of solidarity and collective well-being. Over the years Amana Takaful has expanded its offerings beyond the Muslim community to include life, critical illness, hospitalization, motor, housing, and business insurance over the past five years, aligning with other insurers. The key distinction lies in its ethical investment practices and profit-sharing model, underscoring its commitment to competitive pricing, exceptional service, and customer-centric benefits.

How has Amana Takaful adapted and thrived amidst challenges maintaining stability and growth during turbulent times in the evolving insurance industry?

Amana Takaful has turned challenges into learning opportunities, emerging stronger through strategic realignments and innovative adaptations. Recognized as the fastest-growing insurer in the motor segment for three consecutive years and the most-awarded insurer in the country, our resilience is evident. Our technological advancements have earned international acclaim, underlining our commitment to innovation. Supported by leading reinsurers like Swiss Re and Munich Re, we maintain stability and growth. Our dedication to serving all customers is particularly evident in our commitment to claim servicing during challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.  This ongoing adaptability underscores our ability to thrive, ensuring continued delivery of exceptional service and value to our clients.

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the insurance industry over the last 25 years?

Amana Takaful stays competitive by adapting to industry changes. Despite insurance’s risk-averse nature, we’ve innovated to meet modern needs. Over 25 years, our portfolio expanded, offering enhanced hospitalization covers and embracing digitalization for efficiency. Commitment to professionalism is seen in our training. We’ve expanded distribution, notably through bancassurance. During COVID, we revamped products and streamlined operations. Our recent brand change, emphasizing diversity, attracted talent and growth, making Amana Takaful mainstream, and serving all communities effectively.

What specific strategies has Amana Takaful employed to thrive through periods of significant change? How do you ensure the company stays agile and responsive to market shifts?

Amana Takaful has adeptly navigated change through a customer-focused approach, adapting products and services to evolving needs. Embracing digital technologies has enhanced efficiency and accessibility, with advanced platforms ensuring seamless service delivery. Streamlined cost structures boost productivity, enabling investment in growth and innovation. Strategic partnerships, like bancassurance, expand our market reach and offer comprehensive solutions. Continuous innovation drives product development, ensuring agility and responsiveness to market dynamics. These strategies reinforce Amana Takaful’s reputation as a trusted, forward-thinking insurance provider, poised to excel in a dynamic marketplace.

How does Amana Takaful’s new slogan, “Every Sri Lankan as One,” align with its vision, mission, and values, and what impact will this refreshed brand identity have on its future direction and growth?

Amana Takaful’s new tagline, “To Every Sri Lankan as One,” perfectly encapsulates our vision, mission, and core values. This refreshed brand identity comes at a pivotal moment in our journey as we focus on expanding our revenue, profits, product offerings, presence, technology, and team. Our priority is to provide peace of mind to our customers, with the goal of becoming a trusted brand in every Sri Lankan’s life. Although Takaful insurance penetration is currently low, we see significant opportunities for growth and innovation both in Sri Lanka and globally. Our commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) focuses on nurturing the next generation, emphasizing sustainability by returning surplus to policyholders and profits to shareholders. We are also dedicated to developing future-ready products and advancing digitization through our mobile app while exploring global expansion opportunities. This strategic direction will ensure that Amana Takaful remains at the forefront of the industry, delivering exceptional value and service to all our stakeholders.