ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Janashakthi Insurance had been able grow gross written premium above the life industry average so far in 2019, riding its strong distribution network and a focus on business to business sales, officials said.
Janashkathi Insurance grew gross written premium 17 percent to 1.7 billion rupees in the June 2018 quarter from a year earlier and 20 percent in the first half.
Chief Executive Jude Fernando said life industry growth was 9.48 percent in Sri Lanka in the first quarter and 9.56 percent in the first half of 2019. Only two other players had shown life business growth of 20 percent, he said.
Janashakthi had seen strong growth in the business to business segment.
He said Group life business had grown to 19 percent of the total in the first half of 2019 from 15 percent.
Janashakthi had a strong distribution network around the island which was helping them to get business.
Janashakthi had physical offices around the country, though it was not always necessary, Fernando said.
Chairman Prakash Schaffter said since the exit from general insurance, the strong focus on life had given the firm new insights in the market which will be used in the future.
Janashakthi was also using technology. Salespersons were being progressively given tablets to make presentations and a portal has also been set up.
Data mining was also taking place with more information coming in.
Fernando said new channels including banks and telcos have been added which will bring growth in the future.
Online sales were also being pushed with the portal Ayubo.life.
Director Ramesh Schaffter said Janashakthi had a capital adequacy ratio of 254 percent. Customer perceptions of the strength of the company was a key factor in driving sales he said.
With declining interest rates, the firm was evolving the investment strategy to boost income. In general stock prices tended to move up when interest rates came down, he said. The firm also had opportunities in property.
Life insurance companies tended to have value in their balance sheets that was not apparent at first glance, he said.
The life investment portfolio had liabilities to beneficiaries equal to assets, but each year the portfolio generated excess incomes over the actual liability, depending on the type of policies and benefit promised, he said.
In the first half 2019, Janashakthi Insurance had earned 795 million rupees from investment income, up from 753 million rupees a year earlier.
Janashakthi reported profits of 235 million rupees in the first half of 2019, and 127 million rupees in the June quarter. (Colombo/Sept06/2019)