Green Delta Insurance is a well-balanced business, primed to create sustainable value for customers, shareholders and employees I am pleased to introduce Green Delta Insurance’s 2019 Annual Report. The Company has once again produced a respectable set of results over a year of challenge and change.
2019 was a year that witnessed volatility and complexity with respect to major shifts in the global economy, causing worldwide uncertainty.
In Asia, while China is being impacted by strained trade relations with the US, the recent corona virus outbreak will complicate matters even more for the country as it battles the economic slowdown. India’s economy is decelerating at multi-year lows too, with the banking and financial services, auto and consumer industries being severely impacted by the economic deceleration. The referendum in the United Kingdom has tilted the balance in favour of it exiting the EU, but at what terms is as yet ambiguous.
Talk on climate change has come to the fore like never before, and the severe cyclones in 2019 have only highlighted how natural climate variations influence weather catastrophes. Longer-term climate
change effects can already be seen causing humanitarian tragedies and losses of tens of billions of dollars all around the world. In fact, natural catastrophes have caused overall losses to the extent of US$ 150bn, with insured losses of US$ 52bn. Such a magnitude has only underlined the importance of knowledge about changes in risk and how crucial insurance can be to extend effective support against financial losses caused by disasters.
CIRCUMSTANCES IN BANGLADESH
Driven by a large population with an attractive demographic profile, Bangladesh’s economy will outshine India’s and China’s, with GDP growth expected to expand by 7-8% in 2019. Though Bangladesh faces all the classical challenges of a developing market, certain structural advantages remain to propel the national per capita GNI to take the country to a middle-income status in the next few years. These structural positives include:
- Bangladesh increasingly linking with global supply chains
- Sustained inward remittances from a large global diaspora
- Expansion of micro finance to cover the unbanked populations
- Public investments in mega infrastructure projects
As economic formalisation picks up pace, I’m enthused by the fact that the insurance sector of Bangladesh is well-positioned for achieving multi-year growth because of a vast uninsured population and insurance deficit among businesses as they scale up. However, key challenges remain, some of which are high competition that sometimes breeds unethical practices and insufficient regulations that prevent the growth of the industry in a structured and sustainable way.
Against this backdrop, Green Delta Insurance has demonstrated that we have the right strategy, management team, geographic mix and product diversity to succeed. Our robust governance and decision-making processes have enabled us to react swiftly to the unexpected and unpredictable. With robust customer propositions, our business is well-balanced and well-placed to succeed across economic and political cycles.
On a material level, it is during times of great uncertainty that insurance is the most relevant. At Green Delta Insurance, we look to provide financial peace-of mind to our customers, whatever the external environment. Our expertise in reducing risk allows our customers to plan for their future with confidence, whether by protecting them against ill-health, protecting their businesses against catastrophes or protecting their farms against weather-related impacts. Indeed, we offer protection to some of the most vulnerable communities against myriad threats.
Take women for example. Women and girls are among those who benefit the least from today’s economic system. They spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly. Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies moving. It is driven by women who often have little time to get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how our societies are run. They are therefore trapped at the bottom of the economy.
Research has also revealed that women do more than three-quarters of all unpaid care work. They often have to work reduced hours or entirely drop out of the workforce because of their care workload. Across the globe, as many as 42 per cent of women cannot get jobs because they are responsible for all the care-giving, compared to just 6 per cent of men.
Taking cognisance of this reality, Green Delta Insurance’s Nibedita insurance platform has been developed to target the very challenges faced by women today in a bid to help them overcome these so that women empowerment goes beyond a philosophical discussion to a certainty on ground.
Or take the case of rickshaw pullers. There are hundreds of thousands of people from this impoverished community, and our insurance program in association with the IDRA (Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority of Bangladesh) served the purpose of providing them with financial protection and also a life of dignity and worth.
Seeking such novel initiatives where we are able to maximise the impact of insurance is at the heart of our strategy of insurance inclusion, which is to provide insurance to diverse people from all walks of life.
In order to fulfil the promises we make to our customers, Green Delta Insurance needs to be operating
smoothly, which means it must demonstrate robust governance standards to ensure organisational sustainability.
Further, in a rapidly transforming business environment, Board expertise is essential, as it is constantly required to make strategic decisions that can have short, medium and long-term impacts. In this respect, the stability and diversity we have created at our Board has enabled us to continue to strengthen our governance framework.
We also have an active programme of engagement and we consider it to be important to hear the views and perspectives of our investors to be able to have an open and constructive dialogue with them. As Advisor, I have found this regular engagement particularly helpful, and receiving input has ensured high-quality and well informed discussions that have only contributed to positive performance.
Our teams are focused on delivering value for our customers and this I find is our biggest asset and major differentiator. It is truly the diligence, creativity, commitment and hard work of these teams that enable us to succeed. Their contribution is vital and it is the responsibility of our executive management to consider their team’s interests in every decision they make.
Our people ensure we can continue to respond to the changing external environment, and in 2019, their resilience to perform against the odds, their enthusiasm to put in their best and their excitement to embrace our vision for insurance were crucial to achieving results. Indeed, their commitment to our customers provides me with great confidence for the future.
As a responsible business that invests in and gives back to our local communities, I am proud
that we are a major direct and indirect employment generator in the insurance sector, alongside the tax revenue we provide to the government. In Bangladesh where formal employment is the need of the hour, we are proud that our company and our extended group provide people with respectable pay, while also opening up life transformation opportunities for them.
We are proud of our work in the fields of education – both general and insurance-centric, in disaster preparedness and in social inclusion. Our large number of beneficiaries and our direct grassroots impact
are compelling enough to push us to create a stronger and more broadbased social and societal impact.
Green Delta Insurance’s performance has been strong. It is a testament to the commitment and calibre of our people and the quality of the products and services we provide to our customers that we were able to drive performance. As I look to the future, I am confident that our people, our customer propositions and our culture will enable us to continue to grow sustainably over the years and decades ahead.
Thank you and we look forward to receive your continuous support in our joint path ahead to realise our shared vision of providing ‘Inclusive insurance – Insurance for the people, of the people, by the people’.
Nasir A. Choudhury, Advisor