LMD 100 Q&A
Q: What were the highlights of the group’s performance in its various segments during the year?
A: The Ceylinco Insurance Group’s pursuit of excellence helped sustain our outstanding track record of strong financial performance and excellent customer service.
Both Ceylinco General Insurance and Ceylinco Life Insurance performed reasonably under the prevailing market conditions even though anticipated growth could not be realised due to external factors.
Our pioneering insurance products and services continued to fulfil people’s financial and aspirational needs amid a challenging year.
In fact, Ceylinco Insurance was ranked No. 9 among the nation’s ‘Most Respected entities’ and ‘Most Admired Companies’ for 2021 – and it was the ‘Most Respected Insurer’ in Sri Lanka for yet another year in LMD’s Most Respected rankings.
In the education sector, despite the trying conditions imposed by lockdowns and online classes, we ensured that hundreds of students didn’t stop learning.
Meanwhile, the power sector delivered a strong performance – especially hydro power plants due to the heavy monsoons during the year – which of course meant that our solar plants could not perform to expected levels.
The healthcare sector too demonstrated steady growth during the year and holds immense potential.
Q: What is your assessment of the state of business given the multiple crises Sri Lanka faces?
A: Sri Lanka faced multiple crises during the year, which created conditions that were not at all conducive to doing business.
The fertiliser issue, teachers’ protests, gas and food shortages, and other challenges placed great pressure on the masses – and people had to change their priorities to focus on daily necessities rather than engaging in business activities. The foreign exchange crisis has also had a domino effect on all sectors.
Q: What are the group’s medium-term priorities given the prevailing business environment?
A: Considering the crises in the wider economy, the first order of business was to sustain our financial performance in a way that promises stability in the medium and long terms. The group has strong risk and governance processes, and the right checks and balances, to ensure financial sustainability.
Our loyalty to customers too remains steadfast, and they enjoyed the same superior levels of products and services from our staff.
And our focus has been on ensuring speedy claims settlements to customers as this is their foremost need amid the hardships they face. All our processes and systems are geared towards ensuring customer satisfaction.
The group’s greatest priority remains the wellbeing of our people. It has ensured that staff strength wasn’t reduced, nor were salaries and benefits slashed as a result of the pandemic. In fact, we spent Rs. 38 million on hospitalisation and medical care for 400 staff during the course of last year. Our objective is to alleviate their burdens by remaining their pillar of support.
Supporting communities is a key priority for the group; and during the year, Ceylinco companies continued their corporate social responsibilities such as building homes, taking care of destitute families and providing school supplies to underprivileged children.
Q: How has the insurance sector been impacted by the country’s economic climate?
A: The sector has been adversely impacted due to the ban on vehicle imports. Ad hoc policies and lack of long-term plans are aspects that should be remedied without delay by the government if the economy as a whole is to adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach.
We were expecting vehicle prices to stabilise in 2022; but considering the issues facing the nation, this assumption is now in doubt. In addition, the imposition of hefty corporate taxes is adding to the pressure on businesses across all sectors.
Considering the positive prospects for the healthcare business, we aim to innovate technology-backed healthcare solutions that will be affordable, timely and unique, bringing us closer to the masses.
Q: To what extent are innovation and technological changes impacting businesses?
A: The pandemic has brought forth the power of technology. All companies under the Ceylinco Group already have a strong technology platform, which is being strengthened to navigate the future and offer speedy solutions.