Chandana L. Aluthgama, the Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), began his 30 year long enthralling career journey in the Insurance industry right after he concluded his time at school. During his career, he has held many senior roles in organisations such as Eagle Insurance and HNB Assurance. He has also held many leadership positions outside his Insurance career in both local and international associations.
Speaking about his performance at HNB Assurance, Chandana stated, “From a scratch, we were involved in building the company. I was handling the sales to back office functions, claim underwriting. It gave me an opportunity to look at other departments and work closely with them. I started at Life insurance then moved into General and then to operational areas. During that time I also continued my studies.”
He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Colombo, Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Kelaniya, and he is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute of UK (FCMI). He has presented research papers at local and international conferences on Insurance and Bancassurance and has undergone extensive training locally and overseas including at Generali Insurance AG, Vienna, Austria, and NUS Business School, Singapore. He is also a ANZIF member.
Established in 1962, SLIC is the largest state-owned insurer in Sri Lanka with strong financial stability. It manages an asset base of over LKR 212 Billion, which is the largest in the industry. Besides, it has the largest life insurance fund in the local insurance industry amounting in excess of LKR 117 Billion, and a LKR 06 Billion strong capitalisation.
Moreover, SLIC was one of the first insurance companies to introduce the Covid 19 Cover. Chandana stated that SLIC was committed to protecting its customers during the pandemic, and therefore all covers were extended without even considering settlement of premium. In addition, taking a step forward, SLIC provided the government staff with ‘Viru Abhiman‘ a free life insurance coverage as they were acting and helping directly to combat the pandemic.
SLIC was established with the concept of serving the nation. Today, it is the third ‘most loved brand’ and the ‘most loved insurance brand’. Its products include Life insurance for all walks of life, Travel insurance, Motor insurance, Health insurance, Householders insurance, Marine insurance and corporate and business insurance.
“We have the ability to reach every corner of this nation, and our sales staff has the ability to understand the general pulse of the people. For a period of 59 years, SLIC has continuously complied with the claims of its customers. One such claim is that of Sri Lankan Airlines when it was attacked by the LTTE. The claim amounted to 39.5 billion, which has been sighted as one of the biggest claims in the international insurance market.”
As Chandana claimed, SLIC’s core strength lies in its highly qualified and experienced insurance team. In addition, expressing his gratitude to the team, he said that it was during the crisis that the real test of the team was seen. “Most would have successfully flown an aircraft if they were asked to, but many would have failed if they were asked to repair it while flying. That’s why I attribute all that to our great team that’s ready to take on any challenge.
“Although the situation was challenging, we did not compromise on the salaries of our staff and made payments to our large agency network. As an insurer we have always placed our utmost trust on our people as they have steered the organization towards success. We have taken necessary actions to ensure that all our employees receive their usual benefits amidst these challenging times to ensure their financial independence.”
On the topic of digitalisation, the industry expert affirmed that SLIC is further expanding its operations digitally. “We have launched mobile applications aimed at our clients, branch staff and agents. Through these applications, our sales force was facilitated to carry out their usual work flow in a hassle free manner. This led to a path to reach clients quickly and to find a solution immediately. Furthermore, in 2019, we launched a speedy claim settlement process, where claims were settled within hours.”
In conclusion, the CEO stated that it is the responsibility of SLIC to convey the message of insurance to every household and to make every citizen understand the value and importance of insurance. “The greatest barrier in Sri Lanka is people’s thinking, and therefore it is our responsibility to instill in them the benefits of insurance cover. My expectation and hope would be that everyone, sooner rather than later, would have insurance coverage, as people should be concerned about their own safety, health and belongings.
“A great responsibility lies with SLIC from the company’s point of view and the industry’s point of view. Insurance isn’t a tool for someone to make money, it’s a tool to help you get back from the same place you were before you suffered a loss.”