Protection of life and prosperity of the people is the primary duty of the state. Formation of Sindh Insurance Company under Government of Sindh is keeping the same approach. Sindh Insurance Limited, which was established in 2014 in the memory of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, is providing services in several areas of general insurance. Although its scope is separate from the life insurance company, but the government has given priority to the interests of public and in this context the families of accident victims have been getting paid through a unique scheme where the affected person or his family does not need to pay any premium.
These views were expressed by Chief Executive of Sindh Insurance Mohammad Faisal Siddiqui, diligently engaged in business, industry, agriculture and as well as financial sector, during an interview with a local news paper.
Faisal Siddiqui has over 18 years experience in insurance industry and had worked as CEO of National Assets Insurance Limited and Deputy Director of Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan. He received his Masters Degree in Business Administration from the London Institute of Chartered Insurance. Detailed interview of Faisal Siddiqui is given below.
What is the motive for the establishment of Sindh Insurance?
NICL exists at federal level. This institution is watching over the government assets and other affairs, but after the 18th amendment there was a need to establish an insurance company under provincial authority. At the behest of former President Asif Ali Zardari, in 2014 Sindh Assembly passed an act, the company received a license of General Insurance followed by its first operational year in 2015. The company opened the first branch in Lahore and then at Naudero.
Why it started from Punjab, what was the reason?
Sindh Insurance is working in private sector as well. It started from Punjab because it has the largest sector in terms of finance. The group is operating with Sindh Bank, Sindh Modaraba, Micro Finance Bank and Sindh Leasing Company.
What is the progress of Sindh Insurance Company till now?
We feel proud to say that Sindh Insurance has been included in the top ten insurance companies in a very short period. Sindh Insurance has a high growth rate in revenue. In 2015, the company premium was 45 million rupees which has increased further in 2016. After strong competition, Sindh Insurance received A+ rating. There are more than 32 companies in general market. It is an achievement to be ranked among top ten companies in the third year of business.
What is the scheme of compensation for the families of accidental victims without advance insurance?
This is a very unique humanitarian initiative of Sindh Insurance which is unprecedented. In collaboration with the government, we have launched Insurance Accident Product, according to which all the citizens of Sindh, adults who are above age of 18 years and died due to accident, get compensation. Sindh Insurance pays their families a compensation of Rupees one lac (0.1 million) and it is not necessary from them to have an advance insurance. Only by providing deceased’s NADRA NIC & Death Certificate the victim’s family will receive compensation. Our teams contact the victims’ family themselves. In case of major accident they reach the scene, deliver cheque to widows’ at their door steps. Compensations cheques are handed over within 15 days to one month of accident.
How much amount has been released in compensation so far, and what is the ratio of accidental death?
We have started this scheme in October 2016 and so far received 400 claims out of which 50 has already been paid and 40 are ready to be paid. There is no shortage of funds but sometimes delay is caused by the victims’ family. Widows are in Idat so they cannot get prepared the Death Certificates from NADRA, but in some cases our team gets special authority from the widow and help them obtain bio-metric Certificate. The process has been simplified; the compensation can be transferred directly into the Bank Accounts. Government of Sindh emphasizes that the victims’ family must immediately get funds for their need. We are using media to inform people as much as possible; we are assisted by Edhi, Aman Foundation and other NGOs. We are distributing informative pamphlets in hospitals so that the affected people will attain aid on time. Our team is contacting the suffering families in Interior Sindh explaining them the process. Recently, the students died in the road accident at Urdu Science University, their families have been paid without any delay, and father of Samaa TV Cameraman Taimoor who martyred in terrorist attack, has also received one lac rupees instantly. Except involvement in criminal activity families of victims of any type of death caused by accidents including road accident, drowning, death by falling from height, target killing, snake bite, victims of animal outrage, which are common in villages, will get compensation. As far as ratio of death is concern, according to an estimate around 20 to 25 thousand people in Sindh died in different sorts of accidents. Our objective is to make sure that all the victims’ family from Kashmore to Dherki get Sindh Insurance compensation cheques. Insurance can be claimed within a period of 2 years of accident.
What is the reason for the rapid growth of Sindh Insurance? How far government has been supportive?
From the very beginning we are free to select the team based on merit. After choosing a Professional team we ensure transparency in the process of management planning. Our structure operates through a Board of Management under the chairmanship of Bilal Sheikh. We have firm support of government since inception. 70% revenue is provided by the government and 30% comes from private sector. Any government institution is judged by its capability of bearing its own expenses; like I have said earlier, we have made a profit of 15 crore in 2 years, the first quarter of this year is also making profit.
What is being done in other general insurance sectors?
Sindh Insurance is also providing third party vehicle liability insurance which means if a person is injured, died in accident or in case of car damage then the company pays for it. We usually get fake insurance for motor cycles but we are providing genuine motor cycle insurance with least price. Third party insurance can be acquired in just 650 rupees. Recently we have joined Sindh Urban Transport program, under which Sindh Modarba will give loans to private sector for bringing two thousand buses on the roads of Karachi; the drivers and conductors will receive Rs5 lac (0.5 million) insurance policy.
We have a special project of insuring crops. Sindh Insurance is the only government institution taking this initiative. State Bank is also providing loans to encourage small farmers. Most of the banks are backing out and it is necessary to provide loans to the farmers in order to benefit agriculture so we are providing insurance to those banks which are giving crop loans. Meanwhile farmers are not provided with crop insurance because a complete infrastructure is required, and also our farmers are mentally not prepared. We have even proposed government for livestock insurance but it has not been considered for implementation.
What are the future programs?
Karachi Circular Railway has moved forward from project phase. Sindh Insurance is providing insurance to this project included in CPEC. Furthermore, it is providing insurance coverage in infrastructure, stations and other property of Circular railways. We have a major project Sindh Engro Coal Mines. Thar Coal is a largest power project of Pakistan, able to generate 50,000 megawatts of electricity. This category of thermal power is very inexpensive. Sindh Insurance has guaranteed the safety of the project is to be observed in this project. We are committed to start similar other public welfare projects.