LIFE INSURANCE CAN REDRESS SUFFERINGS OF THE CITIZENS

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
May 16 - 22, 20
11

The State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) was lucky in the sense that it had no competitor for decades in the life insurance sector, which might be one of the factors that a vast majority of the population remained without insurance cover. However, at a later stage the private sector was also allowed to share the market.

Though the state owned SLIC is doing pretty well reflected in its latest numbers released last week on the occasion of its annual convention, yet there is a lot of room for improvement in this vital sector to provide life insurance cover to the low and middle income groups especially in the face of worsening law and order situation. This has become critically important as the unpredictable law and order situation, unabated street crime and suicide bombing have left a large number of families economically upset.

The situation calls for an insurance cover to every citizens under some mechanism to be evolved by the policy makers in the forthcoming federal budget 2011-12 to protect citizens from unfortunate incidents of suicide bombings, rising law and order situation.

Meanwhile the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan till Q-1, 2011 paid total amount of Rs2.48 billion against all claims, thus providing the cover for 17,655 families, out of which Rs0.329 billion paid as death claims to 1,702 families of policyholders and Rs2.16 billion as maturity claims to 15,953 policyholders.

While in the year 2010 State Life also paid Rs7.85 billion on account of claims thus providing financial protection and savings to thousands of valued policyholders and their families nationwide.

Shahid Aziz Siddiqui, Chairman State Life highlighted the performance of the corporation at the State Life Convention 2011.

State Life has successfully secured Rs2.13 billion as First Year Premium (New Business) during the 1st Quarter of 2011 showing an increase of 27 per cent while in the year 2010 corporation secured record First Year Premium of Rs9.33 billion showing an unprecedented increase of 35 per cent.

Mr. Shahid Aziz Siddiqui said that State Life is one of those public sector organizations, which are not a burden on the national exchequer.

In fact, State Life is playing a pivotal role in providing financial protection to million of families through life insurance. Mr. Shahid Aziz Siddiqui informed the media persons that renewal premium also touched the figure of Rs19.54 billion showing an increase of 28 per cent. The marketing force of State Life also extended financial protection to 6,51,460 new families nationwide during the year 2010. Chairman State Life also informed that corporation's life fund, which is the key indicator of its financial stability, now reached to Rs225 billion. Replying to a question Shahid Aziz Siddiqui informed that State Life is planning to launch some new life insurance plans, so that people can invest their small savings in the life insurance policies. The work is also in progress in Bancassurance and Takaful. He informed that State Life is a very sound and stable financial institution which is also evident by the fact that it has assigned "AAA" rating by PACRA (Pakistan Credit Rating Agency). He further stated to the media persons that State Life in support of government of Pakistan's social program "Benazir Income Support Program" has provided Rs1,00,000 (one lac) as group insurance to hundred thousands of families.

Mr. Siddiqui informed that State Life's Business in Gulf region has also improved and in the year 2010, it has procured new premium around 36 lac US$ showing 16.1 per cent increase over the previous year. Replying to a question, chairman State Life informed that Corporations' Investment Portfolio is also progressing and in the year 2010 the investment income reached to Rs27.73 billion, while the target for 2011 is Rs33 billion. Chairman said that State Life is one of the largest real estate owners of the country. It has wisely invested the policyholders money in sound real estate projects. This not only provides earnings to the corporation in shape of rent but also provides space for its offices throughout Pakistan. In the year 2010, it has secured Rs240 million as net income from its real estate operations. The management has also launched construction projects of State Life buildings at Sargodha, Sialkot, and Rahim Yar Khan to provide quality space for business promotion in these cities. This is in addition to the eighteen floors under construction in Islamabad.

Syed Arshad Ali, Malik Asrar Hussain, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Shoaib Mir Memon Executive Directors State Life and senior corporate executives were also present on the occasion. Syed Arshad Ali, Executive Director Marketing & Group & Pensions while presenting the performance of his portfolios has informed that in the Group Life side in the 1st Quarter of 2011 it has so far secured new premium of Rs965 million while in the year 2010 it secured Rs3.955 billion premium from 1294 groups. He further said that till Q1-2011 in individual life business State Life's all four regions have shown exemplary performance. State Life's Multan, Central, Southern and Northern Regions showed a record increase of 36.70 per cent, 30.81 per cent, 17.42 per cent, 20.42 per cent respectively. Executive Director (Marketing) said that a strategy is chalked out for the redressal of policyholders grievances. However, he added that there is a sharp decline in the complaints from the policyholders and their families. Responding to media query, the Executive Director Marketing said that payment of claims are made promptly as per rules, however complaint are delayed only due to the non submission of necessary policy documents by the policyholders and their beneficiaries while lodging claims. Earlier, Shahid Aziz Siddiqi congratulated the marketing force and top business leaders on securing their business targets in 2010 and stressed that better services be provided to the valued policyholders. Syed Arshad Ali, Executive Director (Marketing) and S.H. Kazmi, Divisional Head (Marketing) congratulated the delegates of State Life Convention 2011. Shields and Awards were distributed amongst the top performers.