How Janashakthi took the fight to Covid-19
WITH ITS STRONG COMMITMENT TO INNOVATION, JANASHAKTHI FOUND ITSELF AT THE FRONTLINES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN
An indefatigable commitment to service. Constant innovation. Early deployment of digital tech. These are the ingredients that made Janashakthi resilient in the face of an unprecedented crisis. K.V Kuganathan, Chief Information Officer, and Manindri Bandaranayake, Chief Marketing Officer at Janashakthi Insurance PLC, discuss several initiatives from delivering essentials to customers across the island and expanding its COVID-19 coverage that helped the life insurance company exceed expectations during the difficult period.
What was the lockdown’s impact on Janashakthi’s life insurance business?
Bandaranayake: COVID-19 disrupted businesses of all sizes across industries worldwide. In Sri Lanka, its implications continue to have a significant impact even after the lockdown. During the lockdown, our sales team had to rise to the challenge, with the continuous backing of our support functions, to provide for the protection needs of our communities.
To enable this, we implemented departmentwide business continuity plans and adopted proactive safety precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees. Working as one united team over the years, we have always come out stronger as one united Janashakthi family when faced with complex challenges. We were confident in our ability to manage the situation together.
What steps did you take to normalise operations during this period? Can you share with us some examples of extraordinary levels of commitment by teams?
Bandaranayake: We strongly believe that in times of crisis it’s essential not to lose sight of our values. Strong communication is critical during uncertain times. So that is exactly what we did to normalize operations to a reasonable extent.
We established several digital communication channels to engage with our staff continuously across departments and functional groups. This enabled the management teams at each level to direct operations and engage with our staff, thereby, fostering a strong, adaptive and mutually supportive organisational culture.
We also activated several initiatives to reach out to our staff to ensure their wellbeing and to meet all their needs. In addition to connecting with our customers digitally, and while adhering to stingent safety precautions, our sales teams across the island supported customers in need by distributing essential items.
What did Janashakthi Life do to engage customers and enhance their experiences with your brand during the lockdown?
Bandaranayake: Fundamentally, insurance is all about protection. As a purpose-driven insurer, we are aware of our responsibility to fulfil the protection needs of our community. To support our community and to ensure their safety, we extended our policy riders to cover all our Life customers on claims arising due to Covid-19. We activated several digital services and alternative payment methods to ensure customer convenience.
We launched several partnerships with online services such as ecommerce and healthcare platforms to offer consumers free life cover and a critical illness cover inclusive of COVID-19. As an extension of our partnership with one of Sri Lanka’s leading e-commerce platforms, we provide free insurance covers and a critical illness cover inclusive of COVID-19 for their operational staff to honour their commitment in providing essential goods and services during these challenging times.
Tell us about product innovation and technology at Janashakthi Life and their impact?
Kuganathan: As an organization, Janashakthi has always been very conscious of driving innovation and our culture is such that we strongly encourage embedding novel and innovative practices in our business strategy. We believe that this is key to staying relevant and to be abreast of evolving consumer trends in order to retain our competitive edge. Having our Agent Virtual Office (AVO) system and other initiatives geared towards digitization of key processes already in place, has made this shift during this crisis relatively smooth.
AVO gives our field agents the ability to remotely connect to our core systems through a handheld tab or mobile device. Further, we have introduced automated robotic back end solutions that enable underwriting for instant policy servicing.
We are also committed to the green pledge at every stage of the customer life cycle from acquisition onwards. To further support our customers, in addition to our call centre, we also have activated a chatbot which is a real-time response feature accessible 24/7.
We have also identified the need for digital and cashless insurance in Sri Lanka and will be launching a digital wellness offering that is designed to function as a futuristic multifaceted solution that offers convenience coupled with a seamless user experience. With Janashakthi Life’s latest digital strategy we hope to exceed customer expectations by revolutionizing the local ecommerce market.
What’s the outlook for the life insurance sector in the short to medium term?
Kuganathan: COVID-19 has forced all industries to adopt digital and remote working, and it has undoubtedly accelerated the adoption of technology in the life insurance sector. Customers expect digital alternatives now more than ever. To keep this up and to serve our customers better, we need to increase the level of digitization of our operations as well as our interactions with clients. This is the way forward for greater cost efficiencies and resilience.