Green Delta Insurance Company Limited
Dear shareholders and stakeholders of Green Delta Insurance,
The year 2021 will be forever remembered as one when Covid-19 continued to change everything we define as everyday life. This is a tragedy that regrettably has prolonged to impact many and I want to take the opportunity to share my condolences with everyone that has suffered and lost loved ones to the pandemic. Covid-19 has also had a huge impact on businesses big and small; everyone is simply trying to find their own way through this, but I particularly feel for those whose livelihoods have been impacted over the last year.
To our own Green Delta employees, I am deeply impressed with how you have seamlessly managed the transition to new ways of working while continuing with the same engagement, passion and determination to deliver a superior experience to our customers. Green Delta always seeks to move at speed, but how our employees not only adapted but met the accelerated demand with ease has been quite remarkable. Together, we have maintained the high levels of service that our customers and partners have come to expect from us. This makes me very proud.
‘Never let a crisis go to waste’, goes the popular saying and, perhaps, the Bangladesh insurance industry might not want to let go of the opportunity the pandemic has presented. While it is true that insurers have struggled with huge unanticipated Covid-related claims over the past year-and-a-half, the pandemic has also heightened awareness around risk to both health and business like no other event in history.
Looking at the big picture, this is one of the industries that has been resilient. Last year, the industry grew by  percent despite the disruptions caused by the second wave of the pandemic. I believe from a risk management perspective, the industry has held up relatively well. The challenge in the initial period was reaching out to customers. Subsequently, the challenge was servicing customers digitally. The good thing is that the industry has initially adopted the digital transformation quite well, but somethings had to be accelerated because of Covid. Medical examinations could not be done very easily so the industry ventured into analytics to get the profile of the customer and make it as frictionless as possible.
It is obvious that the pandemic has affected the income of the consumer and if one looks at where the spending has increased, it is in OTT platforms, online education, online consultation and pharmacies and online purchase of financial products, under which is also health insurance. Health insurance in itself had assumed the positioning from savings to security. Further the likelihood of consumers buying general insurance online had also jumped from pre-pandemic to during-pandemic. There is a desire to purchase digitally as well. But unless the industry does something concrete, we will lose this opportunity.We need to transform our business model, simplify our products, make them more protection-oriented, use technology to give customers a better experience, and focus on quality. The industry has been very resilient but we should now build on this platform of resilience and get into a transformation mode so that we can take our business model to the next level. At Green Delta Insurance we are doing just that. The next big phase of growth for the industry is at the cusp, and we should seize the opportunity.
Several underlying trends have impacted the insurance industry over the last few years: a low interest rate environment challenging the protection business, increasing competition from non-insurance companies, hardening of legislation and regulation, and shifting customer behaviours and expectations. The nature, the frequency and the volatility of risks are also evolving, notably driven by climate change and natural catastrophes, while the evolution of technology and the global interconnection of businesses is increasing supply chain and business interruption risks.
To me, amid the pandemic there were three challenges - customer acquisition, servicing customers and claims settlement. But the industry rose to the occasion and new systems were put into place to address these issues. During the first wave of the pandemic, the industry was concerned about reaching the customers so that the policies were kept in force. The settlement of health claims was also a challenge and the regulator provided some dispensation regarding this. When it comes to opportunities, this was the phase when the direction of services got a huge push for the overall industry. The pandemic has also given a push to the awareness around insurance. But there is a paradox. While customers want to be insured, they are facing economic stress.
To respond to these developments and seize new opportunities, I assure our shareholders that we are constantly rethinking and expanding our products, services and business model with the ambition to become a true partner for our clients. As pioneers and pace-setters, we have begun to incubate our digital insurance ambitions, housing it with a separate team. Our focus is on going beyond just the online, to digitize processes and identify ways to digitally onboard customers and even settle claims digitally, with the whole process as technology-centric and faceless / contact-less as possible. In terms of our product portfolio, the accent will be on launching customer-centric innovative products with mass insurance products as the key focus area. Leveraging our history and aligned with our goal to be a dynamic, transparent and new-age brand, we are focused on brand-building and enhancing our presence on the digital platforms that are frequented by our customers. The thrust is on delivering omnichannel experiences for our customers and agents alike. We will also continue to work on our superior risk selection and underwriting practices.
Our Company has adapted very quickly to the emerging work environment, with effective decentralisation of functions and collaboration on digital networks while maintaining deep and personal interaction through these challenging times. I foresee that every activity and process will increasingly move to online digital platforms and result in improved efficiency and productivity, as well as savings in time and cost. Our IT transformation project is underway, and events of the recent past will only accelerate its implementation. However, technology alone can only get us that far. Classical management capabilities of flexibility, perseverance and agility along with consistency in organisational philosophy and attitude will be fundamental to our success. During this pandemic, there have been enough examples to prove that companies that are technologically adequate but have strong fundamental competencies have done far better than those that operate at the cutting-edge of technology but are not backed by sound and fundamental business principles and capabilities.
Green Delta Insurance has pioneered the general insurance business of the country and has been around for the past 40 years. That is a big thing and drawing confidence from that I see every reason why we are perfectly poised to reimagine insurance and transform our business and take it to the next level yet again.
In concluding my letter, I would like to send my warmest thanks to all Green Delta’s employees, agents and partners for their commitment to our Company and for their engagement throughout 2021. On my behalf as well as on behalf all Board members, I express our trust in Farzanah Chowdhury and the Management Committee members to deliver our transformation plan and prepare Green Delta’s future.
Nasir A. Choudhury