More than 65% of general insurance policyholders who left Ceylinco Insurance PLC (General Division) during the Golden Key crisis in 2008 have come back home (returned as customers), a company official said.
“We have overtaken the crisis we faced in 2008 and the annual results for 2009 is proof for this,” Ajith Gunawardena, Joint Deputy Chairman Ceylinco Insurance (Ceylinco) PLC told the Business Times.
Ceylinco posted a Rs. 686 million profit for 2009, showing a 22% growth compared to Rs. 564.6 million in 2008. Mr. Gunawardena said that the Ceylinco share was the most traded share amongst banking and finance company shares last year. “It is at Rs. 270 at present,” he said.
He also noted that Lalith Kotelawela was still the company’s chairman. The company says it was optimistic about the newly-freed North and East (N & E) and that it opened five new branches in this area, bringing the total count to 22 branches in N & E. “We operated branches from Trincomalee to Jaffna during the worst times during the last eight years. We are quite optimistic about the N & E and still consider it a virgin market,” Mr. Gunawardena said.
He was, unlike other insurers positive about the short term prospects in these areas. “During the short term, the penetration will be high in these areas,” he said. He said presently general insurance counts for more than 80% penetration in the country, without the N & E. “There is so much scope, which is why we started these branches,” he said. He said presently Ceylinco’s General Division has 1.5 million policyholders while the Life Sector has about a million.
Mr. Gunawardena said that in value terms the General Division policyholders account for Rs 80 billion.
This sector saw shareholder funds see a 10% increase to Rs 6.9 billion last year compared to the Rs 6.3 billion seen in 2008. The total assets in the General Division also increased by the same rate to Rs 41.3 billion compared to the Rs 37.5 billion in 2008.