Revolutionising the Health Space – Nikhil Advani, CEO of AIA Sri Lanka & Shevanthie De Alwis, Head of Marketing of AIA Sri Lanka

For almost three decades, AIA Sri Lanka has served millions of people in the country to live healthier, longer and better lives. As an organisation, it is committed to contributing towards the betterment of the Sri Lankan economy and the society at large. AIA is a pioneer in the retirement and savings solution market and more recently has been very active in the health space.

Speaking to AIA Sri Lanka’s Chief Executive Officer, Nikhil Advani and the Head of Marketing, Shevanthie De Alwis, they stated that AIA is on a journey to protect Sri Lankans, not only in terms of health but also financial stability even after retirement, with a keen focus on helping them in their health and wellness. 

Being the leader in the personal pensions category in the Insurance industry, AIA’s commitment is to ensure people are financially secure in their retirement. As Nikhil pointed out, “ Sri Lanka has one of the largest aging populations in Asia and our aim is to ensure that people can maintain the lifestyle and independence they are used to, in the face of inflation, even after their monthly salary cheques stop coming in.” 

The health space is yet another important area for AIA and the company is very active through not only products, but overall propositions. Nikhil reiterated, “At AIA it’s not just about manufacturing great insurance products, but it’s about creating a proposition that benefits the customer end-to-end. Our purpose is enabling healthier, longer, better lives- so, we’ve got to think about what would make a meaningful impact to our customers- to make it easier for them to become and stay healthy and pursue their wellness journey. We’ve introduced many value-adds to our core insurance products such as our solutions through our partnership with Sri Lanka’s leading telemedicine provider and our science backed wellness programme, Vitality. We are here to support our customers to stay healthy and really add value to their lives.” 

Shevanthie added; “Research showed us that Sri Lankans need a little help in their wellness journey. We tend to have complacently embraced some unhealthy lifestyle habits that could be detrimental to us in the long run. For example, our traditional large rice and curry plate which was originally meant for those working manual labour is still a lunch time favourite for most of us working at our desks! Poor dietary and exercise habits have led us to being somewhat unhealthy and it’s time we all get back on track!  We believe that everyone should be the best they can be and that means being optimal in your health and wellness. And all of us could use a little expertise and assistance with that!”

She further said “That is why we tied up with Sri Lanka’s pioneering telemedicine provider oDoc to provide support and motivation to our customers throughout their lives and wellness journeys. We were the first insurer in Sri Lanka to offer telemedicine services to customers with oDoc offering customers doctor consultations, prescription and medicine delivery and even a mobile lab, all from the safety and comfort of their own homes. This was before the Covid pandemic, and before everyone else jumped the telemedicine bandwagon! So, when the pandemic and curfew occurred last year, we were able to immediately offer all our customers free telemedicine services, so they can tend to their medical needs from their homes.”

“We took this offer to the next step this year with the launch of our well thought out ‘health and wellness solution’ where we offer customers 6 FREE video consultations with health and wellness specialists on oDoc. All customers with an annual premium value of above Rs. 100,000/- per policy can make use of this unique offer and carry out a series of consultations with Sri Lanka Medical Council registered Wellness Specialists. You can select the Specialists based on your needs, be it physical, mental or nutritional. The offer extends six free mobile consultations for the year, with select nutritionists, dieticians, mental health professionals or physiotherapists, from the comfort of your own home. While AIA has recommended a one-year plan for the consultations, customers are free to utilize these consultations in which ever order they wish to and when they wish to.”

“This is an industry first” affirmed Nikhil, adding that “this is just the start of our journey in offering holistic solutions that can help our customer’s live healthier, longer, better lives. We want to be there for them from the beginning of their wellness journeys, starting with prevention all the way to recovery.” 

Unhealthy lifestyle choices and insufficient exercise are leading causes for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In Sri Lanka NCD’s account for approximately 83% of deaths in the country. Accordingly, AIA extended its brand promise to help in the fight against NCDs in order to help people change their lifestyles in a positive way. Nikhil pointed out, “when we introduced the Vitality programme, it was a first in Sri Lanka. Vitality is a science-based wellness programme that encourages people to stay active, exercise regularly and monitor the mental health and stress, which will keep them healthy. Simply putting it, stay active and get rewarded! The app will ask you for some basic vital info and calculate your Vitality Age. Now this might not be the same as your biological age! Depending on your Vitality Age, you would be given a weekly target and upon achieving that target, you will be rewarded!  We’ve tied up with some great reward partners and give away free movie tickets, supermarket vouchers, online shopping vouchers and there is even a charity option.” 

 “The reason why we have a reward system is that it is human nature that people tend to do more when they are rewarded for doing it. Our goal is not just to launch an app, but to make people use it for their wellbeing,” Nikhil stated.

Identifying risks to employee health and addressing the problems are critical to improving business performance, and hence through ‘The Healthiest Workplace Survey’ by AIA Vitality, employees who participate are given a personal report. This report gives them a comprehensive overview of their individual health and wellbeing in terms of lifestyle, clinical indicators, mental health, stress, and other vital areas of concern and suggestions to improve their health and wellbeing.

“We also organise fun and engaging Wellness Days at organisations where we host BMI checks, carry out engaging games and share advice from resource experts. By doing so, we can help them stay healthy and active, while helping the organisations have happier, healthier employees” Shevanthie added.

From a CSR and community perspective, AIA is very active in education, health and awareness building because of its unique purpose of wanting to help people live healthier, longer and better lives. AIA is an organisation with a ‘big heart’ and its commitment towards the community is very strong. Among its CSR projects is the partnership with the Sri Lanka Cancer Society (SLCS). For the last two years, AIA has been donating Rs. 100 from each policy it sells to the SLCS for the wellbeing of cancer patients, making for a significant financial contribution each quarter. AIA also works closely with CANSOC on public awareness activities so as to open up the conversation about cancer to support and share hope with all those who need it.

Another major initiative of AIA is its Higher Education Scholarship Programme, which has been in place for the last 26 years. These scholarships are awarded on a merit-based system and you don’t have to be a policyholder to qualify. Another long-standing CSR project is the Poson Safety programme, also held for 26 years consecutively, where AIA facilitates lifeguards around the lakes of Anuradhapura during Poson. Since its inception, over 200 lives have been saved thanks to this programme. AIA also has a strong employee volunteer programme committed to the rebuilding of underprivileged schools around the country. 

In conclusion, both Nikhil and Shevanthie agreed, “AIA will continue its unique journey of providing customers with protection at every stage of their lives. We will continue to work with oDoc and our other partners to enhance our products and propositions and to ensure that we give our customers the best option for them to live a healthier, longer and better life. 

Health and Wellness is an important priority for us, as the wellbeing of our customers is of the utmost importance. We can help people change their lifestyles for the better through these initiatives and at the end of the day, that is our main objective. We just want to help people live healthier, longer, better lives.”

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