Following the declaration of 1st September as National Insurance Day and Insurance Awareness Month well underway, it was a most opportune moment to consult two top professionals in the industry.
Indrani Sugathadasa, the Chairperson of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka and Damayanthi Fernando, the Director General of the IBSL answered some queries about the insurance community of the country.
Speaking about the rectification of the low public image of today’s insurance advisor, the Chairperson of the IBSL stated, “The industry must take the lead to emphasize the importance of the role of an insurance advisor in providing protection to people.
Further the job of an advisor remains a lucrative job if properly carried out. Therefore, the companies must undertake grooming sessions to better the outlook of advisors. The individual insurance advisor in Sri Lanka, as is in many other countries predominantly procures the insurance business. As such the image of the insurance advisor is very important and it is this image that should be projected by the Insurance Industry at as many forums as possible and to this effect the individual Insurance companies must not only brand their products but their people as professionals in their chosen profession. Attracting the best talent by providing not only monetary incentives, but training and development is also key in this aspect of attracting better qualified and suited candidates to the industry”.
“As the regulator, our mandate is limited to determining the minimum qualifications of persons who wish to become registered Insurance advisors, rates of commission to be paid to them and setting standards via guidelines. These actions are implemented and managed successfully through the Sri Lanka insurance Institute and the registered insurance companies that are supervised and monitored by the IBSL”, explained Sugathadasa when questioned about the manner in which the IBSL provides technical support to insurance advisors.
Sugathadasa was also keen to discuss a number of steps to be taken in order to improve the standard of the insurance services in Sri Lanka. “This is a continuous process. The quality of Insurance arrangements and the practices employed by market participants are sound in that they see to a continuous improvement in service standards. The Insurance Board is also keen to implement some of the world’s best practices when it comes to improving the current standards of the industry and to this effect we have brought in many tried and tested methods in how we engage and do business to the Sri Lankan Insurance industry”.
In relation to the declaration of the 1st of September as National Insurance Day and the Insurance Awareness Month campaign, the Chairperson of the IBSL said, “It progressed very well with several pre-arranged campaigns and talk shows etc. All in all this should end with as a very successful initiative to take the industry forward. To support this effort by the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka, the IBSL actively participated in some of the regional activations that took place across the island and engaged with stakeholders in taking the message of Insurance to the masses”.
Fernando, the Director General of the IBSL was asked to explain her observations in regard to the Insurance Awareness Month activities and she warmly commended the efforts of all those responsible in the organization of the campaign stating, “The activities that were carried out during Insurance Awareness Month will provide a great boost for the development of the Insurance industry. The campaign has created greater awareness among the public about the importance of Insurance, whether it be life or non-life. I also witnessed the commitment and enthusiasm of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) and all those involved, in order to create greater awareness about the industry.
As 1st of September was marked as ‘National Insurance Day’, it also signifies the government’s commitment to develop the Insurance industry of Sri Lanka. In the cities where IBSL officials took part we saw the insurance industry come together as one force and one voice, irrespective of the companies they represent, to ensure that as an industry, we take the message of Insurance to all. I see this as a very good endeavor to reach the goal of the insurance industry, “a day when all Sri Lankan’s are insured”.