Grasping Opportunities with Strict Adherence – Chief Executive Officer of HNB Assurance PLC, Lasitha Wimalaratne

Having had his formative years growing up amidst verdant fields and lush woodlands akin to the vivid descriptions of an unspoiled Sri Lanka of many a famous author, Lasitha Wimalaratne, the Chief Executive Officer of HNB Assurance PLC, is a man with sheer determination to succeed in whatever he does and to fulfill his dreams and aspirations.

With a story that dates back to the time of his primary schooling years, Lasitha recalls his parents encouraging him to attend the scholarship exams regardless of his continued attempts of sticking back to play and enjoy amidst the trees and the fields in a village off Matara. After being enrolled into St. Thomas’ College in Matara, two years down the line his parents took a decision in the interest of Lasitha’s education, thus moving to Galle where he then joined the great Mahinda College. Considering it to be the moment where his life changed for the better, Lasitha speaks of doing Bio Science during his A-Levels and getting excellent grades to pursue a further education in gaining a Bio degree. However, Lasitha has other plans.

Having the hard held ambition to work for a bank, Lasitha randomly applied for jobs with the help of a telephone directory as he had no connections whatsoever. But instead of joining a bank, he was called in to work as an Underwriter at Union Assurance PLC because of his background in science. Lasitha continued to work there for six years and was promoted to the position of an Executive in due time.

It was during his time here that Lasitha had begun writing his insurance exams. “I really wanted to do something big and realized the importance of qualifications”, he states. He also exultantly speaks of publishing his very first book in life insurance that was launched by some of the top people in the industry. “It was the very first life insurance book launched in Sinhala in Sri Lanka. The book was titled Jeevitha Rakshanaye Asiriya”, he says

Owing to hopes of becoming a manager in time, Lasitha saw the need to change course in his career in order to fulfill that plan. And so, taking the risk of resigning from Union Assurance PLC, Lasitha headed off to the United Kingdom in order to pursue his higher education, thus completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies from the University of Sunderland and MBA from the University of Wales, UK. Taking a deeper look into Lasitha’s educational background, he is not only a Fellow Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, UK and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance but also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.

Having worked part-time at McDonald’s and as a Sales Supervisor at B&Q during the period of his studies in the UK, Lasitha speaks of gaining three years of good exposure in terms of sales and marketing. Returning to Sri Lanka after his first year of education in the UK to marry his better half, the two of them went back to London and came back down in the year 2007. It was during this period that Lasitha joined Eagle Insurance, completed his insurance exams and became a Chartered Insurer. 

Moving to two other brands, all of which were multinational companies (Aviva and AIA), Lasitha was able to achieve the goals he has set for himself by taking on the post of a Manager at the age of 30. Gaining further opportunities to work with brands like Asian Alliance and Softlogic Life, he was later approached by HNB Assurance in the year 2019 where he took on the position of Deputy Chief Operating Officer and eventually got promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Lasitha, who had plans to become a CEO by the age of 45 is now only 44 and is the youngest CEO in the history of HNB Assurance.

Lasitha has contributed to the growth of the insurance industry tremendously with his experience and knowledge. He is the current Secretary of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) and the immediate Honorary Past President of the Sri Lanka Insurance Institute (SLII) and has been serving SLII as a Council Member from 2011. Moreover, he was also the Founder Secretary General of the Association of Chartered Insurance Professionals (ACIP) and was a Council Member of ACIP until March 2021.

Lasitha explains his choice to resign and move to London as the life-changing decision he took. “I went there, I struggled, I found jobs, worked at night, and studied during the day”, he expresses. Having worked a total of twenty-four years, Lasitha mentions being in the insurance industry for twenty-one years.

When asked what some underrated skills that he looks for in an employee working in this field amidst the new normal are, Lasitha emphasizes on the importance of having a sense of agility when it comes to adapting and changing alongside remaining honest with a good attitude.

As an A+ Fitch rated Company with a history of over two decades, claiming multiple awards and accolades, Lasitha talks about the three key pillars which the company focuses on in moving into tier 1 level: sales force expansion, enhanced customer experience and technological transformations. “These three key pillars will change on a 360 basis for us to get into the next level, I have undertaken that challenge with my team and I’m confident we can do that and build a completely new company being a win-win for everyone, staff, customers and shareholders”, he shares. He further extends an invitation to the public at large to seek the custom of the company in the comfort of knowledge that their life insurance provider is a stable and trustworthy organization.

Upon starting from scratch and going on to achieving so much in his life through goals and aspirations Lasitha encourages everyone out there to believe in their dreams and work for it. “If you’re smart and if you have a dream, you will get there, but you must live in it and work for it, you have to believe in it and eventually you will be there”

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