Sonali Life meets growing demand of customers with highest level of commitment: Mir Rashed

Published : 15 Feb 2022 12:37 AM

Sonali Life Insurance company meets the demand of diverse customers with highest level of commitment through utilising most modern digital service tools, and thus aims to bring about revolutionary changes in the country's industry, said Mir Rashed Bin Aman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sonali Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

In an exclusive interview with daily Bangladesh Post, Rashed said “The industry is on the track, if all the concerned people and organizations move forward together in the same direction, the sector will develop eventually.”

He mentioned that his company- Sonali Life Insurance (SLI)- wanted to create a life insurance company for customers with commitment and modern service by focusing on IT.SLI is trying to turn all the negative aspects into positive.

Mir Rashed Bin Aman is a highly educated, smart and dynamic CEO, leading his company towards the targeted destinations with due worthiness.

He made spontaneous replies to a set of queries made by Bangladesh Post in regard to the problems, prospects and future potentials of the country's insurance industry as well as of his company- SLI.

The excerpts of his interview are below:

Bangladesh Post: The Sonali Life Insurance (SLI) has appeared as a leading, promising and modern insurance company that has been able to initiate a change in terms of image of the industry and bringing changes in the way of people’s thinking pattern. Where did you get the inspiration to initiate this change?

Mir Rashed Bin Aman: We have been trying and have achieved success to a certain extent. Honestly speaking, we have got our vision from our guardian Mustafa Golam Kuddus, the dreamer of Sonali Life insurance.

 Our main objective was to eliminate the negative aspects of life insurance sector. Due to the negative aspects, even after so many years, the marketing penetrations is not coming off according to the expectations. Market penetration is possible, only if we can move towards the positive from the negative. It’s a matter of reliance and trust. The main concern revolves around receiving money and service.

Our intention was clear from the very beginning. We wanted to create a life insurance company for customer with commitment and modern service. By focusing on IT we tried to turn all the negative aspects into positive. This February, we launched one nice updated SLI apps for our beloved customers as anybody can take life Insurance from any part of the world. Here they will find full solution of his policy & see related videos also. It can find google playstore or in net. The law regarding life insurance says that settlement has to be done within 90 days of submitting documents. We have received 10,000 claims so far in the last seven years and all of them have been settled within 7 days. It’s a dream in this life insurance sector. And everything is done in a transparent manner through IT. The claims can be tracked from our website.

Bangladesh Post: The main problem regarding insurance companies in Bangladesh is trust. In the developed countries, insurance is involved in every step of life. But we are not being able to establish that in our country due to lack of trustworthiness, modernization, ICT etc. Do you believe that you are moving forward addressing all these issues? What kind of barriers are you facing?

Mir Rashed Bin Aman: Yes, I do believe that we are addressing these issues. Performance speaks louder than words. Our strategies are pre planned and focused. We have been creating customer awareness face to face by educating them about how they can benefit from our system and how they can check their bonus, receipt, premium certificate, online payment etc. Even during this crisis period of Covid-19 we saw 70 percent growth year on year. The gross premium that was 81 crore in 2019 increased to 135 crore in 2020& last 2021, it was 320 Crore taka. We are gaining the trust of our customers due to timely claim settlements & world class customer care.

We had to face challenges as Sonali Life Insurance has been different from other companies from the very beginning in terms of intention, objective, commitment, system and service.

We are the first insurance company that launched e-KYC, e-receipt and customer care. We also launched co-branded debit card with MTB. We verify all the information beforehand from our customers to avert any kind of misunderstanding.We have successfully overcome all the barriers faced for being new and different. Our online collection has increased significantly. Earlier the online collection was nominal compared to the bank deposits but now 80 percent of the collection is received from online.

Bangladesh Post: There are some stigmas prevalent regarding the employees associated with life insurance companies. What are your views on ensuring job security, providing different facilities and benefits to the employees?

 Mir Rashed Bin Aman: This was also another big challenge for us. We have tried to provide the same service or analysis to our employees that we provide to our customers. We have always tried to think from the perspective of our employees. Most of our employees are fresh graduates. We have tried to create a sense of satisfaction according to their need in terms of benefit, insurance and provident fund. Their increment depends on their performance. Although people are reluctant to join this industry, But due to our service benefit , people have shown keen interest to working with our company. 

Bangladesh Post: What do you have to say about the proposals made regarding the insurance industry in the current year's national budget?

Mir Rashed Bin Aman: The present government has been giving much attention to the insurance sector. Govt already declared 1st March, National Bima day. However, I think, the insurance industry has been ignored to some extent in the proposed budget. Still a lot could be done in this sector for enhancing job creation and also tax matter. We are hoping for the best in the next budget.

Bangladesh Post: What are your views regarding the position of our insurance industry in comparison to developed countries?

Mir Rashed Bin Aman: In my opinion, our country is far behind in comparison to developed countries in this matter. We have to cover this gap. Our insurance company has started an initiative; hopefully others will also come forward and we will be able to reduce the gap. Insurance is absolutely necessary in developed nation. Therefore, their insurance industry’s contribution is massive to the GDP. We are on the track. If all the concerned people and organizations move forward together in the same direction, the sector will develop eventually.

Bangladesh Post: Now please tell us about the branch network, asset base and overall situation of Sonali Life Insurance?

Mir Rashed Bin Aman: In the upcoming August, we will be completing 9 years of our journey. We started our journey in 2013. We are successfully and confidently moving forward with the aim with which we started. The number of our employees has crossed the 6000 mark. Our overall cost of company was 48 percent last year. Sonali life share is the A category share in Capital Market. We have over 117 branches across the country. We hope that the number of branches will surpass 130 this year. Our total asset base has already crossed 430 crore. Our gross premium target for this 2022  year is Tk 600 crore. We have already achieved Tk 320 crore of 2021 of our target. The renewal base of our company is one of the highest in the industry. The renewal percentage is 82 at present, which proves that the customers are relying on us. In 2021 our 1st year premium was 199 crore. Our life fund is 295 core which is fast growing in this industry, its only can possible due to our customers trust & timely claim settlement system.

Bangladesh Post: How the management authority of your company is extending all the support to implement all these innovative ideas?

Mir Rashed Bin Aman: The paid-up capital of our company with which we started is still intact. Therefore, you can understand how much the board has supported us. It would not have been possible without the support from the board. Their faith and confidence on us has helped the company to move forward. The company’s will power and performance depends on the board.

We have a mission to carry on because of the direction of the board. Our company is working relentlessly towards bringing back the faith on this industry.