The leading insurer is transforming the insurance industry with digital technology and innovative solutions for the emerging insurance market in Sri Lanka.
Ravi Liyanage, director / chief executive officer of Janashakthi Life, shares insights into revolutionizing the insurance industry with innovation and technology and nurturing a high-performance culture that focuses on developing talent and giving back to communities.
Being in the industry for nearly three decades, how is Janashakthi Life revolutionizing the insurance industry?
Janashakthi Life has always lived up to its name and founding purpose of giving strength to the people by driving innovation to take the benefits of life insurance to more households that otherwise would not have found insurance accessible or affordable. We are continuing to transform the industry with further investments in digital technology, giving us the agility to stay on top of the emerging and evolving consumer needs of each market segment with innovative insurance products.
To do this, we have transformed the organization into a performance-oriented, innovative market challenger that consistently strives to outperform the industry. We do this in several ways. We rebranded our sales team as Janashakthi Lion Force to bring out their undaunted spirit to build the business and gain market share in a competitive environment. We then restructured our rewards schemes to recognize and motivate these Lions by linking rewards to high performance. Apart from that, we also have well-structured mentorship and professional development programmes to help our people across the company to be the best they can be. As a result, Janashakthi Life became a certified Great Place to Work in Sri Lanka for the first time in 2021.
To boost sales and explore new market opportunities, we restructured a single-channel distribution system into four parallel distribution channels sharing the same infrastructure and back office processes for greater efficiencies and results. This enabled us to identify emerging B2B opportunities that we can further exploit for growth. We are also capitalizing on our brand equity to drive growth by creating campaigns across traditional and new-age media to reinforce Janashakthi as a top-of-the-mind brand.
Digital technology enabled us to take performance management online and in real-time for transparent accountability. We are also deploying technology for daily prospecting, closing a sale, customer onboarding, policy delivery and distribution of survival benefits online – creating new experiences for our clients and people.
We also restructured the company valuation models to reflect the long-term positioning of the organization to face sudden macroeconomic shocks, introducing new concepts and products like Janashakthi Flexi- Pay to help our customers during these difficult times. Other examples include Janashakthi’s Global Health cover, Janashakthi Good Health, which supports the safety and health of policyholders and their loved ones overseas and Janashakthi Covid Guard, a world-first comprehensive insurance cover against Covid-19.
Can you tell us about your recent achievements, awards, and recognitions?
In 2021, premium income exceeded Rs5 billion for the first time in history, and we produced 109 MDRT winners for the first time. The MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) is a premier international recognition programme for insurance advisors. We intended to produce 100 MDRT winners in 2021, a target we comfortably overachieved, a testament to the Janashakthi Lion Force’s solid professional reputation, high-level work ethic and commitment to excellence. It also reinforces our products and services, elevating them to global standards.
Janashakthi Life is the only insurance company among the Brand Finance Top 10 fastest growing brands in Sri Lanka and among the LMD Top 50 Most Respected entities in Sri Lanka, a testament to our stellar financial results.
We recorded a total income of Rs7.2 billion in 2021, up from Rs6.2 billion a year earlier. Gross Written Premium (GWP) income grew to Rs5.4 billion, up 45% from Rs3.8 billion, which was more than twice the industry GWP growth rate of 21%. Janashakthi outperformed the industry in other indicators too. Regular First Year Premium (FYP) grew 115% against the industry’s 29%, helping it to capture a significant market share in a single year. First Year Premium (Regular, Single and Group) had grown 82% against industry growth of 29%, and single premium growth was 96%, compared to the industry growth rate of 58%.
During the year, we launched an alternate channel (Business Expansion Channel) which made a GWP of Rs181 million in its first year of operation, surpassing the premium recorded by any insurance company in Sri Lanka for the first year of operation. Janashakthi Life also recorded an 86% growth in its surplus transfer to Rs460 million, again more than double the industry growth rate.
A high-performance ethos defines Janashakthi Life. How is this incorporated into the organization’s culture?
I believe our consistent financial performance, achievements, accolades, and recognitions affirm our status and position as a high-performance organization. Our most valuable asset is our people. They are the heart of the company that gives life to Janashakthi Life’s purpose, which is why we are committed to their well-being and growth, enriching and rewarding career experiences in a diverse and inclusive environment. We invest considerable resources in training and continuous professional development, and these initiatives result in our impressive financial performance and achievements in the MDRT programme discussed earlier. A competent employee will certainly be a productive employee which leads to building capacity for collective accountability.