Allianz Business in Sri Lanka Flourishes
By Marius | Published April 08, 2011
Allianz Lanka Ltd., a wholly-owned Sri Lankan subsidiary of financial services conglomerate Allianz Group of Germany, has posted good results for its 2010 operations. The new annual report details the company’s substantial growth in both the life and general insurance trade on the island nation despite being the only Sri Lankan insurer currently without a captive insurance business.
The Sri Lankan economy has become one the fastest growing markets in Southern Asia. Since the end of the protracted civil war in 2009, the country has emerged as an attractive prospect for outside investment. The government of Sri Lanka has been working hard to develop the domestic economy. Per capita income has been steadily rising and the reported GDP of the nation grew to US$ 104.7 billion for 2010. The South Asian country has entered a period of pronounced stability and is now well positioned for further growth.
The insurance industry in Sri Lanka has been improving steadily despite the global economic downturn. Out of the 18 private insurance companies operating in Sri Lanka, 5 are presently involved in foreign joint ventures. Allianz Insurance Company Lanka Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allianz Group of Germany. Other joint venture insurance companies operating in Sri Lanka include Aviva NDB, formerly known as Eagle Insurance PLC, Life Insurance Corporation (Lanka) Ltd., and Hayleys AIG, of which the major shareholders are Aviva, the Life Insurance Corporation of India Ltd., and AIG respectively. Takaful Malaysia holds a 15 percent equity sharing in Amana Takaful PLC.
Surekha Alles, CEO and Director for Allianz Lanka confirmed that Sri Lanka was becoming an attractive market for insurers: “The optimism that followed the cessation of hostilities in the country created a healthy environment for growth in insurance business. We are very pleased with the performance of both our General Insurance as well as Life companies, having surpassed our plan in all areas.”
Allianz Lanka began its general insurance business in Sri Lanka in 2005. Incorporating the robust global presence and solid capitalization of the Allianz group, together with a strong regional management team with expertise on the Sri Lankan market has enabled Allianz Lanka to become one of the fastest growing insurers in the country. In 2009, Allianz Lanka became the first local insurer to achieve LKR 1 billion (US$ 9.06 million) in premium income within the first 5 years of operation. For 2010, a year that saw a substantial increase in claims due to adverse weather conditions on the island, gross written premium for general insurance increased 25% to LKR 1.47 billion (US$ 13.3 million) and underwriting profit doubled from 2009’s results to LKR 126 million (US$ 1.14 million). Net assets grew 39% and pretax profit for general insurance was a reported LKR 221 million (US$ 2 million), a 40% growth over 2009’s figures.
Allianz Lanka’s success in the general insurance business in Sri Lanka prompted the company to expand its investment portfolio and enter the life insurance market. In July 2008 the company received certification from the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka to begin providing life insurance products. In the two years since beginning operations, the insurer has likewise achieved remarkable growth in the life insurance sector, with the amount in gross written premiums doubling in 2010 to LKR 205 million (US$ 1.86 million). The successful performance and proactive investment strategy executed by Allianz Lanka’s life insurance division has enabled the company to provide participating life insurance policyholders with a 14 percent dividend yield, which was the largest dividend declared in the Sri Lankan insurance industry for 2010.
Allianz Lanka is currently the only insurer in Sri Lanka that is appropriately structured to meet upcoming insurance industry regulatory requirements that mandate the maintenance of separate businesses for domestic life and non-life insurance operations.
The current penetration rate for insurance services in the Sri Lankan market is low at around 10 percent of the populace. Through an expansive promotion strategy, leveraging Allianz as a renowned global brand, the company has been gaining momentum and has become one of the most recognized insurers on the island. Surekha Alles explains: “Word of mouth has been Allianz Lanka’s main marketing tool, and we will continue to ensure that our products and service standards will be talked about in the years to come.”
Allianz Lanka is able to integrate with the international affiliations of parent company, Allianz S.E., to incorporate global economies of scale that ultimately provide a high quality of service and competitively priced coverage products for the Sri Lankan market. Allianz’s AA accreditation from Standard and Poor further provides confidence to prospective customers, individuals and corporate clients interested in insurance services.
Surekha Alles concludes: “Year over year, we are proud of having created value for all our stakeholders in every area in which we do business. We are also pleased to continue to provide our customers with international standards of risk management advice to mitigate business losses, with the technical expertise of our parent company.”
Allianz Group, as a whole, performed well through 2010. The financial services conglomerate reported in February that annual net income for Allianz in 2010 had increased by 22.4 percent to total €5.2 billion (US$ 6.94 billion), with revenues reaching €106 billion (US$ 151 billion) and total assets under management of €1518 billion (US$ 2.17 trillion), cumulatively representing the best figures in the 120 year history of Allianz. The company has maintained itself at the forefront of the international insurance and worldwide asset management industry while looking towards mitigating policyholder risks and exploring new opportunities, despite operating in a difficult global economic environment.
Asia has become a pivotal market for international insurers. Allianz Group has established a presence in several key emerging Asian economies through joint ventures including: Bajaj Allianz in India, Allianz China Life, PT Asuransi Allianz Utama in Indonesia and Ayudhya Allianz in Thailand. These operations give The Allianz Group prime access to the rapidly developing Asian markets that are driving, in particular, the demand for protection, savings and investment products as the wealth of the substantial populations in these Asian nations increase.
Insurance Companies Mentioned
Allianz Insurance Company Lanka Limited operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Allianz SE. Since the company’s inception in 2005, Allianz Lanka has been one of Sri Lanka’s fastest growing insurance providers, setting many industry benchmarks for the country.
Allianz Group is one of the leading global services providers in insurance and asset management. With approximately 153,000 employees worldwide, the Allianz Group serves approximately 75 million customers in about 70 countries. On the insurance side, Allianz is the market leader in the German market and has a strong international presence.