Bringing affordable life and health insurance to low-income earners in Sri Lanka
By partnering with Sri Lanka’s largest mobile provider and the Department of Post Sri Lanka, Softlogic Life is breaking down barriers and offering life and health insurance for millions of citizens
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 13 May 2020– Sri Lankan insurance provider Softlogic Life has joined Business Call to Action with a commitment to provide access to life and medical insurance policies for millions of low-income earners and livelihood opportunities to 3,000 more as distributors of insurance, by 2024.
Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Close to 45 percent of Sri Lanka’s population lives at the bottom of the economic pyramid (BoP). Many of them are daily wage earners lacking financial stability and job security and if they are unable to work due to sickness or injury they are vulnerable to slipping into poverty. Only 14 percent of Sri Lankans have life insurance; affordability, convenience, accessibility and the fact that it is not mandatory are cited as key barriers to people purchasing it.
Soft Logic Life observed that the lower-income segment shied away from paperwork and sophisticated selling mechanisms. They realized the means of penetrating into these segments would have to be done in simple ways for BoP populations to access life and health insurance services. Hence a mobile technology solution was identified as a tool to increase the adoption of life insurance by developing an inexpensive, flexible and easy to register insurance method. This innovative technology eliminates paperwork from registration.
As part of getting this mobile technology solution to more of the Sri Lankan population, Softlogic Life joined forces with the Department of Posts Sri Lanka to bring life and health insurance closer to lower-income populations than ever before. The postal network in Sri Lanka is one of the oldest and widely spread networks in the country, connecting many households together. By leveraging this already established network, Softlogic Life enabled low-income earners to purchase affordable life and health insurance conveniently with the help of simple mobile phone registration. With mobile penetration over 100% in the country, ensuring familiarity of the registration and payment process, this mechanism eliminates paperwork and other sophisticated technology and is less likely to face friction in terms of product take-up. Since there are over 4,000 post offices and sub-post offices across the country with close to 8,000 postmen, these access points will be able to reach more of the Sri Lankan population.
Additionally, Softlogic Life partnered with Sri Lanka’s largest mobile telecommunication provider Dialog Axiata PLC in 2017 to bring their product to those who uses this network in association with BIMA who enables the logistical operation. Dialog Axiata holds the majority of market share in the country allowing Softlogic Life the opportunity to reach daily wage earners who generally use pre-paid mobile connections to put aside as little as 1 rupee ($0.005) a day for a life insurance cover that will equip them with financial stability in the face of uncertainty.
"These partnerships have resulted in sales of up to 15,000 new policies every month. We feel our vision to uplift the quality of lives of all Sri Lankans have been brought so much closer through the launch of the microinsurance channel at Softlogic Life,” said Iftikar Ahamed, Managing Director at Softlogic Life.
“Within the first year of offering this service, Softlogic registered over 250,000 new clients, demonstrating how fast we can increase insurance penetration in the country with the right approach. With an average household size of four, up to 1 million Sri Lankans are already directly or indirectly benefitting from the financial security of our products,” he added.
“These innovative new partnerships allow Sri Lankans to get life or health insurance coverage irrespective of their income levels at low daily or monthly premiums, with potential to grow the model and penetrate untapped segments in the country,” said Luciana Aguiar, Head of Business Call to Action.
Softlogic Life’s health and life insurance covers are affordable and comprehensive and can be purchased by any Sri Lankan through their personal mobiles or from the nearest post office. It offers payment flexibility, which means insurance holders can choose the frequency of payment based on their own financial situation, if the holder can’t afford full payment in a particular month. Given that the registration and payment mechanisms are fast, taking only minutes to carry out the transaction, the probability and product take-up is estimated to be high as it releases the customers from strenuous paperwork and long waiting times.
BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Softlogic: Softlogic Life Insurance PLC is a subsidiary of Softlogic Capital PLC and is part of the Softlogic Group, which is recognised as one of Sri Lanka’s most diversified and fastest-growing conglomerates with interests in Healthcare, Retail, ICT, Leisure, Automobiles and Financial Services. Significant stakeholders in the company include global investors; DEG and Leapfrog Investments. Softlogic Life was recognized as the Brand of the Year at Effie Awards 2019 and was the only Sri Lankan company to be featured in the Forbes Asia 2019 Under USD 1 Bn list.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org.