1. Given your diverse industry exposure, how have the cross-industry dynamics influenced your strategic approach to navigating the evolving landscape of the life insurance sector?


The diverse experience I have gained over the years has enabled me to develop a strategic approach to navigating the changing landscape of the Life Insurance sector. My career journey, spanning from Garment industry, Retail, Leisure, Tea and then Information Technology  has provided me with invaluable insights. While these industries may seem disparate, the common thread lies in achieving sustainable growth and stakeholder value, particularly in finance.


At Retail, I gained insights into what motivates a pushed sale, while my time in Leisure honed my skills in PR and market-driven strategies. These experiences have proven invaluable in the Life Insurance sector, where the focus is on people and services rather than tangible products. By motivating and incentivizing our teams effectively, we ensure alignment with our organizational goals, ultimately enhancing stakeholder satisfaction.


This amalgamation of experiences allows me to approach stakeholder management holistically, leveraging diverse perspectives to drive innovation and success in the life insurance sector.


  1. How does Union Assurance stay abreast of evolving financial reporting standards to ensure that the company’s financial reporting remains transparent, accurate, and compliant with regulations?


Union Assurance and the John Keells Group prioritise transparency and integrity in our financial reporting. It’s not simply a matter of reporting; rather, it reflects our commitment to how we do business. We ensure that what we report accurately reflects our actions, adhering to the highest standards of governance and quality. Rather than viewing compliance as a checkbox exercise, we approach it strategically, aligning with industry standards. A recent example of this philosophy is our approach to SLFRS 17 implementation, which is set to take effect in 2026. By proactively embracing these changes, we position ourselves ahead of the curve, intertwining compliance with our strategic objectives.


  1. Union Assurance has praised the upcoming ESG principles. Could you elaborate on initiatives you have implemented to strengthen these areas and their impact on the company?


Yes, this has always played a significant role at Union Assurance and within the John Keells Group. Our commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors extends to various aspects of our operations, including diversity and inclusion initiatives.


In terms of governance, we maintain robust structures and committees to ensure decisions are made with the best interests of all stakeholders in mind, fostering transparency and accountability. These structures, primarily managed within Union Assurance itself, encompass vital functions such as the board, audit committees, investment committees, project steering committees and Group supervisory Committee etc.


Furthermore, our CSR efforts have been extensive. Over the years we have embarked on many long-term projects such as our Thalassemia, Dengue and Diabetes; projects that have changed the lives of many. In the recent past  particularly in response to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented various projects to address critical needs, including medical support, and have introduced initiatives like parental leave to support diversity and inclusion within our organization. Over the years, our CSR projects have positively impacted numerous lives, reflecting our dedication to making a meaningful difference in the communities we serve.


Recently, we have intensified our focus on ESG by undertaking a comprehensive evaluation in collaboration with external consultants. This involved conducting a thorough 360-degree gap analysis with stakeholders across the board, including customers, suppliers, and regulators. Through this process, we’ve identified key areas of improvement and established KPIs to take our  ESG journey to the next level.


Fundamentally, our ESG journey revolves around impacting lives positively, not just through Life Insurance policies but also by supporting sustainable practices that benefit individuals and communities in the long term. We are excited about the prospects of this journey and remain committed to achieving our ESG goals.


  1. The financial industry is increasingly influenced by technology and data. How is Union Assurance leveraging financial technology, and what role does data analytics play in shaping financial decisions?


Our journey into data and digitalization at Union Assurance began approximately five to six years ago. This initiative has been a cornerstone of our operations, positioning us at the forefront of the local Life Insurance industry. This strategic investment proved invaluable, particularly during the sudden transition to remote work necessitated by external circumstances. Our robust digital front ensures seamless interaction between agents and customers, with all information captured digitally to eliminate manual processes. While physical visits remain necessary for certain aspects, like KYC compliance, our advisors utilise digital platforms, such as iPads, and mobile phones to capture and transmit data securely and efficiently. This integrated approach facilitates smooth data flow, enhancing our ability to serve customers effectively.


We are proud to say that our business operations are now 100% paperless. Extending this philosophy of sustainable behavior to our customers, during 2023 we implemented the digital customer policy and dividend documentation process. Also, our Clicklife App enables our customers to manage their policies from anywhere, at any time with the click of a button.


The adoption of digital technology has also empowered us to leverage data analytics and mining for informed decision-making. While intuition plays a role, data forms the backbone of our decision-making processes. This data-driven approach enables us to exceed customer expectations and ensure their satisfaction with our services.


  1. Could you share insights into your leadership philosophy? Are there specific principles or values that guide your leadership style, and how do you cultivate an environment of inclusivity and empowerment within the team at Union Assurance?


I strongly adhere to the principle of leading by example and prioritising the well-being of our team members. Regardless of the industry, I believe that the key to success lies in how we treat people. While tangible products may define certain sectors, it is ultimately the relationships we foster and the respect we show to individuals that truly matter.


Throughout my journey, I have been fortunate to work alongside dedicated teams in finance, corporate management, and across the organisation. Their commitment to excellence continually inspires me to strive for improvement. By fostering a collaborative work environment where everyone’s contributions are valued, we create a culture of mutual support and shared success.

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