“Study the past if you want to define the future”
It was way back in 2000 that the Life Division created for itself a separate brand – 'Ceylinco Life' which soon became the icon of excellence in the field of life insurance.
Effective leadership, a professional team, innovative products, dedicated customer care and an extensive branch network have contributed to Ceylinco Life retaining once again its position as Market Leader.
Ceylinco Life Insurance Limited became a reality because of Section 53 of the Regulation of Insurance Industry (Amendment) Act No. 3 of 2011 which stipulated that all composite insurance companies (companies engaged in both General Insurance (Short Term Insurance) and Life Insurance (Long Term Insurance), should segregate into two separate companies, one handling only General Insurance and the other handling only Life Insurance. The deadline date was 11 February 2015. Ceylinco Insurance PLC which was the undisputed market leader in the insurance industry was ready,willing and able to comply with these new regulations. In fact, Ceylinco Insurance PLC welcomed it and was confident of being the first insurance company to segregate. Regrettably extraneous forces in the form of litigation initiated by a hostile shareholder delayed the segregation process. In characteristic style, in keeping with our conviction that when the going gets tough, the tough should get going, we overcame all challenges and emerged triumphant. Thus on 1 June 2015 in a smooth and efficient transition the newly incorporated Ceylinco Life Insurance Limited commenced the life insurance (long term) business.
Therefore, this first Annual Report of Ceylinco Life Insurance Limited is a historical document and we who are privileged to be on the Board of Directors have become a part of history. But more important than the privilege is the responsibility thrust upon us as a Board. This is to ensure that the concept of ‘Good Governance’ is observed both in spirit and in letter. We as a Board have to set the tone by stimulating the attainment of the highest level of professionalism and corporate values which of necessity must flow down to all levels of management and other employees.
It was way back in 2000, that the Life Division created for itself a separate brand – ‘Ceylinco Life ’ which soon became the icon of excellence in the field of life insurance. Justifying this position was the fact that Ceylinco Life has from 2004 onwards been the market leader. But let us be alert to the fact that our very position as market leader also makes us the primary target of our competitors. This competition will become more intense in the years ahead. Life insurance companies which were earlier a division of a composite insurance company and are now separate entities, will be more focused and more determined to increase their premium income and profits. For them, it may well be a question of survival. And as we all know desperate situations can call for desperate measures. It is a truism of war strategies that defending one’s position is much more challenging than attacking another’s position. It is therefore appropriate that we take a lesson from that marketing best-seller by Al Ries and Jack Trout, titled 'Marketing Warfare'. In this book they argue that being Customer Oriented (in which we have excelled) is not enough. To remain at the top a company must also be Competitor Oriented. It is in this context, that the quotation cited at the beginning of this review becomes relevant. As Ceylinco Life Insurance Limited defines its future through its strategic plans and goals, a study of the past becomes imperative. This study must include both an analysis of the right decisions and successes of the past as well as an analysis of the wrong decisions and failures of the past. In particular, we need to study the past strategies of our competitors and deduce the possible future strategies. We need to be proactive and be several steps ahead of our competitors.
My absolute confidence in the future of this Company is spurred on by the well proven leadership qualities of Managing Director R Renganathan. He led the life division from its very inception. That was 28 years ago. And in keeping with those leadership qualities which have matured over the years, he has knitted together an effective team, with whom and through whom Ceylinco Life Insurance Limited will go from success to success and continue to being the leader in life insurance.
Our Annual Report 2015 adopts an integrated format that seamlessly blends both financial and non-financial disclosures in the context of sustainable value creation and capital formation. We invent and reinvent our future through a robust business model built on scanning the operating environment, setting objectives, developing strategic plans, measuring performance and evaluating the outcomes continually.
A detailed analysis of our performance and the macro environment within which we operate have been comprehensively described elsewhere in this Report. Therefore, my only comment is that as in the past years our financial performance has been outstanding. Effective leadership, a professional team, innovative products, dedicated customer care and an extensive branch network have contributed to Ceylinco Life retaining once again its position as Market Leader and more importantly achieving a very healthy profit growth.
I would be failing in my duty if I do not offer my congratulations to our outstanding Sales Persons who won awards at the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing NASCO Awards and those exceptionally skilled and dedicated persons who qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). While these achievements certainly brought personal honours to the individuals, they also brought honours to our Company. We are proud of you all.
As the Chairman of a company with a new name and a new independence but whose business is just what it has been for the past 28 years, it is my duty to express my sincere gratitude for the past and offer assurances for the future.
I would like to start with the institution which directly regulates our industry, the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL). Thank you to the Chairperson Ms. Indrani Sugathadasa, the Director General, Ms. Damayanthi Fernando and the rest of the Board for the services given in the past. It will now be our pleasant duty to continue to offer our fullest co-operation regarding all regulatory matters and to maintain a cordial relationship.
To our Reinsurers I extend a very special word of gratitude for the co-operation, assistance and loyalty given in the past years. You have been and will continue to be our close, trusted and respected business partners. I am confident that the mutual trust and respect built up over the years will be continued with added fervour under our new corporate structure.
It has been my privilege to work with the majority of the Board of Directors when we were part of Ceylinco Insurance PLC. However, may I through the medium of this first Annual Report formally greet the Board of Directors. The unique blend of diverse professionalism we have amongst us will be a strong asset to fulfil our responsibilities which I have referred to earlier in this Review.
I thank each and every member of our staff for their sincere commitment to fulfil their responsibilities through the years. I am confident that commitment blended with enthusiasm and inspiration, will be much more stronger as we move into the future under our new identity.
And now to our customers – the most important of our stakeholders – You were and will continue to be the wind beneath our wings. As your loyalty grows in strength so will our motivation to serve you better and to attain new heights of customer excellence through 'Life, Love, Protection'.
J Godwin Perera
17 February 2016