Sri Lanka Janashakthi Insurance gets selective to protect margins: official

Mar 03, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Janashakthi Insurance wants to walk-away from unprofitable clients to protect fast-eroding profit margins and reduce underwriting costs, while looking to expand in the former northern war zone, a senior official said.

“If you have the right management information system you can pick and chose clients and that is what has helped us at the moment,” Prakash Schaffter, managing director of Janashakthi Insurance said.

“If you know your businesses, you can profit from selective underwriting.”

The company’s margins shot up 46 percent 657.2 million rupees in 2009, as re-insurance costs fell 9.5 percent to 593 million rupees and interest income rose to 754 million rupees, mainly from investments on government securities.

“Up to now this is the best-ever performance and the highest turnover to date,” Bertal Pinto-Jayawardena, general manager, finance and planning at Janashakthi Insurance told reporters.

“We had better returns on our investments; our finance costs in the last five years had come down.”

Insurance companies often take hits in margins on repeating businesses that continue to generate losses due to high claims ratios and delays in paying premiums.

But insurance companies still un