Twenty years of savings can be wiped out by a single medical emergency, an alarming reality in Sri Lanka that has prompted the country’s leading life insurer Ceylinco Life to dedicate June to a countrywide campaign to promote personal health insurance.
With the state health system heavily overburdened, as evidenced by a waiting list of 5,000 for cardiac surgery alone, Ceylinco Life’s campaign revolves around one thought-provoking question: What is more important – saving 20 minutes of your time or saving 20 years of your savings?
The focus of the campaign is to persuade the target audience – employed or self-employed adults – to give just 20 minutes of their time during June 2020 to talk to a representative of the Company about the health insurance products available, with the compelling argument that it could potentially save them as much as Rs 1.8 million – the cost of kidney transplant surgery – in the foreseeable future.
“The whole world changed in a matter of months due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ceylinco Life’s Managing Director Mr Thushara Ranasinghe points out. “Similarly, a single serious medical crisis can derail a person’s life and place a huge burden on the family, wiping out hard-earned savings. The current situation helps us see the danger even more clearly, making health insurance an essential element of a safety net that few Sri Lankans have.”
The designation of June 2020 as Ceylinco Life’s ‘Health Insurance Awareness Month’ is modelled on similar on-going initiatives by the Company that have delivered positive results: 11th to 17th February has been Ceylinco Life’s ‘Life Insurance Week’ for many years, while the month of May is designated ‘Retirement Planning Month’ every year.
This June, the Company’s sales team of 4,000, present in every one of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts, is tasked with giving priority to promoting health insurance. Facts and figures support their efforts: a 2015 STEPS Non-communicable Disease (NCD) Risk Factor Survey in Sri Lanka following World Health Organization (WHO) methodology found that 7.4 per cent of the adult population had high blood sugar or were already on medication for diabetes, a quarter of the adult population had elevated cholesterol and 26 per cent had high blood pressure. Contributing to the risk factors of getting a non-communicable disease (NCD) are insufficient physical activity in both men and women, the usage of tobacco on a daily basis by a third of the male population and the consumption of alcohol on a daily basis by 35 per cent of the men in the country.
It is estimated that NCDs account for 75 per cent of all deaths in Sri Lanka, and that the probability of death caused by an NCD before the age of 70 is 17.7 per cent. The good news is NCDs are treatable, and that if more people invest in a Health Insurance policy, these will become less of a death sentence and more of a manageable obstacle. This is what Ceylinco Life seeks to highlight during its month-long Health Insurance Awareness campaign.
NCD-related services are not readily available within the public healthcare system, and even when available are hampered by long waiting lists and limited access to specialised human resources, equipment and drugs. The cost of treatment in the private sector can be exorbitantly high; for example, an essential heart bypass surgery can set one back by Rs 700,000 and a brain surgery can cost more than Rs 1.5 million. Treatment for stroke related complications can cost Rs 1 million.
These are some of the compelling reasons to be protected with Health Insurance, the Company states.
Sri Lanka’s leading life insurer for the second half of the 32 years it has been in existence, Ceylinco Life was ranked the most valuable life insurance brand in Sri Lanka by Brand Finance this year and declared the ‘Peoples Life Insurance Service Provider of the Year’ for the 14th consecutive year at the 2020 SLIM-Nielsen Peoples Awards. The Company was ranked among the 10 ‘Most Admired Companies’ in the country by the ICCSL in 2019 and in the same year was named the Best Life Insurer in Sri Lanka for the sixth consecutive year by World Finance, and ranked sixth overall in the Business Today ranking of the country’s top 30 companies.
Ceylinco Life has close to a million lives covered by active policies and is acknowledged as a benchmark in the local insurance industry for innovation, product research and development, customer service, professional development and corporate social responsibility.