IASL proposes : National Healthcare Policy | Sunday Observer

IASL proposes : National Healthcare Policy

The long felt need for a national healthcare insurance policy where by every citizen of the country could make an affordable contribution and benefit from the scheme will be proposed at the next budget, a senior official of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) said last week.

‘This is a fine proposal which will enable every citizen to benefit from insurance and lead a healthy life. We need to take a cue from developed countries and formulate such policies that will have a positive impact on the economy,” he said.

IASL President Deepthi Lokuarachchi said the proposal will be given serious thought with the input from all stakeholders of the insurance industry in formulating the policy. IASL will propose this for the 2019 budget.

Journalists who proposed the idea at the media briefing of the IASL to launch the Life Insurance Sales Awards 2018 termed ‘Celebrate Life’s Superheroes’ last Tuesday questioned as to why the insurance industry did not give thought to such a move that would have given a turbo boost to the insurance industry in the country.

Responding to the query Lokuarachchi said its always ‘better late than never’ and that IASL will give top priority to the proposal to formulate a national medical insurance policy for the country.

However, the IASL official also acknowledged the limitations of the insurance industry in terms of penetration particularly in the Life Sector which is still around one percent of the total population in the country.

Statistics reveal that its only around 27 percent of the country’s labour force that is insured leaving a large segment of the working population unprotected.

“The challenge of the industry is to convert the 73 percent non insured into insured,” Lokuarachchi said.

Insurance experts say it’s better to go for a protective cover when young so that he could enjoy the benefits during the twilight years of his life.

It was also questioned as to why the industry failed to be at a better position in terms of insurance penetration in the country, having nearly 25 players in the industry with 16 in Life supported by 37,000 insurance agents.

The IASL official attributed the extended family concept in Sri Lanka and lack of awareness about insurance as reasons for the low penetration level.

Industry experts also acknowledge that lack of trust due to certain malpractices of insurance promoters has contributed to the low penetration levels.

However, there seems to be more to what catches the eye. Insincerity on the part of policy seekers in failing to divulge the truth when it comes to especially medical insurance coverage also has a negative impact on the industry’s growth.

“We have come across many medical insurance policy holders conning to make undue and unfair claims.

Therefore there are many aspects to the story which is quite pathetic,” an IASL official said.

Coming back to the insurance sales awards the IASL said the review period for the competition which was previously confined to the insurance month of September has been extended to cover the entire year from 2018.

The Life Insurance industry sales awards which was launched last year aims at raising the standard of insurance sales professionalism, recognize and reward the performance and potential of insurance sales professionals, and at enhancing the penetration level of the Life Insurance segment in the country.

Insurance sales being accepted as a challenging task receives a substantial allocation from the budgets of the industry players for training of agents. This amounts to around 5-10 percent of the year’s budget of companies in the industry.

Awards will be presented to the Best Advisor, the Best Supervisor/Team or Unit Leader and the Best Branch Manager under the categories of Life Insurance Sales Category Winner and Life insurance Sales National Winner.

The insurance industry holds many events to create insurance awareness throughout the year. September 1 is dedicated as the Insurance Day.