Insured for Success – Indika Kiriwandeniya, CEO of SANASA Insurance

A proud alumnus of Nalanda College, Indika Kiriwandeniya; CEO of SANASA Insurance, commenced his career as an office assistant at SANASA Insurance as it was known as a brokering company at the time. Possessing a career of over two decades at the company, Indika was appointed as the CEO respectfully taking into account his hard work, commitment, and collaboration marking his legacy in the sector. Internationally exposed to relationships with organizations and foreign diplomats, he has played a vital role in contributing to knowledge empowering programs and initiating innovations to the Insurance industry.

Moving to the UK in 2007 to complete his higher studies gave him a break from work for few years. But after his return to Mother Lanka, there were huge operations that needed to be conducted with minimum labor force to overcome provocations. Starting with only just 20 employees, the company now has a whopping total of 600 employees in both Life & General Insurance. Working his way from the bottom to the top of success at SANASA Life Insurance, Indika was fully aware of all operations in and out of the organization, which assisted him in pursuing many challenges and creating opportunities.  

If it isn’t known to one, the basic concept of insurance is that one party, the insurer, will guarantee payment for an uncertain future event. Meanwhile, another party, the insured or the policyholder, pays a smaller premium to the insurer in exchange for that protection on that uncertain future occurrence. As an industry, insurance is regarded as a slow-growing, safe sector for investors. Not all insurance companies offer the same products or cater to the same customer base. 

Indika’s highly respected company is registered under the name of Seemasahitha Sanasa Rakshana Samagama; a public limited company authorized to carry on Life and General Insurance business. Exploring the history, the process of formation of the SANASA Insurance Company Ltd took place in 1989 when an NGO called ‘Forum of Development’ (FOD) surveyed to identify the more popular voluntary organizations in the area of Warakapola in the Kegalle district. This was a project designed to promote the development skill of voluntary organizations. The main findings to be covered in the study were how villagers were organized into voluntary organizations and how funds were built and administrated to help people in need. It was revealed in the survey that Funeral Aid Societies (FAS) were the most popular and active organizations at the village level with a high degree of participation due to their need-based approach of assisting when there is a family calamity such as the death of a breadwinner or the caretaker of children and elderly persons. It was further revealed, that FAS were strong with well-built funds.

In the light of this information, representatives of FAS were motivated by FOD to design and implement an insurance scheme of their own. The insurance scheme designed by them was named “Ahethuka Wipath Awarnaya” (risk coverage against unfortunate perils). Benefits under the scheme included death cover and disability caused by road accidents, occupational hazards, falling from height and trees, poisoning, fire and lighting, floods, and snake bites, which were considered as common perils faced by the poor. The premium charged for the above insurance scheme varied from Rs:5.00 to Rs:20.00 in proportion to the sum insured agreed upon by the insurer. The scheme was inaugurated in October 1991 with a participatory membership of 182 members of Sanasa Societies and Funeral Aid Societies (FAS). With time the number of participants of this scheme increased so rapidly SANASA decided to set up SANASA Insurance Company Limited and to obtain a license to operate Life Insurance in 2003 and to operate General Insurance in 2005.

SANASA Life Insurance has come a long way in uplifting society, and Indika earned the trust of his board and his staff over 21 years, giving him the privilege of decision-making. He was the first person to introduce virtual technology to the organization with the support of few members implementing and introducing it to the company. 

Indika played a major role in the contribution of growth as SANASA Life Insurance assets went from 25 million to 3.3 billion once he was appointed as the CEO.

Speaking on the challenges that come forth with managing an esteemed company as such, even so, completing the tasks that of the chairman is always interest as it brings the team together and builds coordination. As SANASA Insurance provides service to the negligent and un-severed market along comes the challenge of maintaining low-cost distribution methods. But, despite claiming the lowest market share the company took the stance in key operational and financial indicators and won the “Life Insurance CEO of the Year 2021” and maintained its momentum and position among the top insurers because the company is credent that “the chief duty of a man is to serve the community following business ethics that also helps with the growth of the company whilst claiming the satisfaction of giving back.”

Honored as the “Fastest Growing Life Insurance Company Sri Lanka 2021”, SANASA Insurance prides itself on standing strong inclusively. Indika is confident of his resilience and innovative edge in retaining the company’s identity.

“The customers of SANASA is what creates SANASA Life Insurance and it has and will always be there for the SANASA Community regardless.”

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