The evolution of Sri Lanka’s insurance sector to meet market expectations

Lasitha Wimalaratne

The insurance sector in a sentence
A dynamic and exciting sector that gives society confidence while keeping commerce ticking.

Main strength of the sector in the present milieu
The vastly developed infrastructure of the sector offers comprehensive solutions and products to suit every socioeconomic segment.

Other strengths of the sector
Affordable premiums and the agility to remain relevant in prevailing market conditions.

Weaknesses of the insurance profession
The only weakness is the perception among a few in society about the word ‘insurance.’

New prospective customer segments
The pay-per-use segment, seekers of cyber risk mitigation, young achievers, parents and students.

Consumer trends or behaviour
Most customers opt for contactless transactions from the point of obtaining a proposal to policy generation and premium payments.

Other market trends
The pandemic has led to an increase in individuals seeking more health-related insurance and bundled products especially through our bancassurance segment.

Barriers to the profession’s growth in Sri Lanka
The negativity attached to the profession itself and a lack of proper infrastructure for digitalisation in Sri Lanka.

Reason for the first barrier
Many individuals avoid taking uncertainty in life into consideration since there’s a belief that associates an insurance policy with death or permanent disability.

Your thoughts on gender balance in the profession
The sector has done well in terms of gender balance – most often, the top performing advisors in the sector are women.

Main impact of COVID-19 on the insurance sector
There’s an increase in demand for health insurance but the reduction in household incomes may affect new business growth.

Limitations imposed on the sector by the pandemic
The inability of sales teams to interact in person with customers.

Initiatives to enhance the sector post-COVID
Enhancing the digital structure of the sector and introducing new tech-based initiatives to connect with customers.

Aspects to focus on post-pandemic for sector growth
Developing effective needs-based solutions to address any existing gaps in the market.

Insurance sector’s scope in Sri Lanka
The insurance sector in Sri Lanka is highly competitive and players have adopted various strategies to compete in the market.

Regional insurance sector in a nutshell
It is more tech-based and the market is geared to adapt to any sudden changes in the structure. The regional sector also encourages product and service innovation.

Impact of the digital age in Sri Lanka
Owing to the ‘new normal’ and digital age in the country, companies have opted for agile and sustainable digital distribution and operational models to remain competitive.

Sri Lanka’s readiness to adopt technology
As a result of the pandemic, insurance companies have been forced to digitalise most of their products and processes.

Virtual team management in a sentence
A necessity in the new normal era.

Digital security in business insurance
It is a core business aspect that must be prioritised. Companies are taking adequate measures to ensure security in all aspects including transactions.

Productivity is affecting the growth of the sector and economy
Yes. Most often, productivity becomes the yardstick that measures success. Not only does it impact the growth of the sector and economy but career prospects too.

Corruption is affecting sector growth and the economy

Yes. Our economy is a system that supports one another – so corruption within a particular sector will affect the economy as a whole.

How you view the insurance field in five years’ time
The sector remains confident of steady growth momentum.

And your reasons for this view
Businesses will opt for more sustainable and digitally enhanced business models, innovative products and selling platforms.

Your mantra for success
Think big and take calculated risks.

Compiled by Ashwini Vethakan
Lasitha Wimalaratne is the Chief Operating Officer and Principal Officer of HNB Assurance