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COO of Solarelle Insurance Shares His Insights of the Insurance Industry – Exclusive Interview, Deeptha Dias

COO of Solarelle Insurance Deeptha Dias
Mr. Deeptha Dias – COO of Solarelle Insurance gives his perspective of the insurance industry in Maldives and its setbacks due to COVID-19.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every individuals and businesses in all the industries around the globe. Usually the insurance industry and the governments are the people’s hope when such disasters arise. However, the wide spread of COVID-19 has overwhelmed governments financially and weakened many insurance companies around the globe.

Maldives’ insurance industry is regulated by the Maldives Monetary Authority and the industry compromises of 5 insurance companies, 8 insurance brokers, and 41 insurance agents. Solarelle insurance is one of the leading insurance providers in the country and continues to be one of the robust insurers in the industry.

To get an in-depth look at how the pandemic impacted the industry and find out how Solarelle is adjusting its services and providing customer care during this time, MVHOTELS caught up with Mr. Deeptha Dias, Chief Operating Officer of Solarelle Insurance. Mr. Dias shares his experience in the industry and a look at how the industry has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. First of all, with over 20 years of experience in this industry in Maldives, could you tell us about your journey till today?

Dias: Actually, I have started my career in 1993 with Ceylinco Insurance – Sri Lanka as a fresher to the insurance industry. Within 07 years I was promoted as a Manager handling all Engineering and Miscellaneous products. In early 2005, management asked me to take over its sister company in the Maldives with 04 Maldivian Staff. At that time, there were 04 insurance companies in the Maldives.

In year 2015, Cyprea and its shareholders wanted to diversify their business to insurance. That is when i was introduced and started the first private insurance company licensed by MMA, Solarelle Insurance. With a minimal team of experts local and foreign we started our journey.

Over the years, I recruited many Maldivians and trained/developed a good technical staff including a very strong sales team, and introduced many innovative insurance products to the industry which helped the company to achieve major goals. With my experience, I have introduced many large world-class international re-insurers to the Maldives insurance industry which helped to grow the industry and for the economy stabilization due to major disasters and catastrophic events.

Currently, Solarelle has more than 40 staff including the branch office in Addu City and we plan to have an office in each Atoll in the near future.

2. What are your products that target the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry, and why should resorts and hoteliers choose Solarelle Insurance?

Dias: The key focus of the hospitality and tourism industry is enhancing customer experience by providing a risk free and safe service. Uninterrupted services and operations are therefore of utmost importance for hoteliers and related businesses.

There is a wide range of insurance policies available in the Maldives to operators in every sub-sector of the tourism industry such as Property All Risk insurance, Business Interruption, Commercial General Liability, Business Crime, Guest Property coverage, Marine Risks such as Cargo, Hull, and Protection Indemnity coverage’s, Aviation coverage’s, Liability coverage’s on Excursions, Cyber Risks, Terrorism and Political Violence and the revenue/income losses from Epidemic and Pandemic outbreaks.

When Solarelle entered the industry, we set our own guidelines to provide quality customer service with very high reinsurance securities provided by the world’s leading “A” rated re-insurers such as Swiss Re, Munich Re, Hannover Re, Allianz, AIG, and Lloyd’s of London. Our pricing and the terms may be a bit high but with the support of rated reinsurance securities, we are able to honor claims with the shortest period which is our main priority.

3. What are the setbacks Solarelle Insurance and the whole Insurance Industry faced due to the global pandemic?

Dias: The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to materially affect many coverage lines beyond business interruption coverage. Carriers that write other lines should anticipate a proliferation of claims over the next several months and potentially for years after the pandemic dissipates. A significant number of these claims will be caused not by businesses closing and opportunities lost, but by individuals and businesses continuing to operate and minimize losses throughout the pandemic.

By understanding the expected claims trends across lines, insurers will be better equipped to respond appropriately to the spectrum of COVID-19-related claims before they are reported.

What is clear is that, for insurance and indeed every sector, there will be no going back. What we are seeing through the COVID situation is the beginning of a `new normal’. Its final shape is not clear yet because the crisis is far from over and the future is impossible to read. But at the end of it, we will be living in a new reality, with different operating models, different plans, and different employee expectations and experiences.

However, our opinion is to our customers that secure their properties and their employees at all times and everybody is worried about the COVID-19 crisis but there are other major aspects to consider when it comes to insurance such as fire damages and natural catastrophic events are more prone due to the Maldives geographical situation.

4. Do you believe the reinsurance support provided to Solarelle gives an upper hand for you to provide a better service to clients?

Dias: Of course, Solarelle entered to the Maldives insurance industry with the backing of the world’s 3rd largest re-insurer Hannover Re – Germany. I believed, Hannover Re never wrote risks in Maldives in the past, before Solarelle enter to the local insurance industry. Solarelle is the first to bring down Hannover Re to Maldives insurance sector.

With the support of Hannover Re and other world-leading re-insurers, Solarelle is having adequate capacities to write businesses in Maldives and able to honor claims.

It is basically impossible to have reinsurance placed without there being insurance in the first place. Simply put, without insurance, there would be no need for reinsurance. Fundamentally, reinsurance follows the same concept of insurance of spreading of risks both individually (one risk at a time) and aggravated (Catastrophes), following the Insurance Risk pattern.

5. In the future – if a crisis such as COVID-19 arise, how does your company plan to cover and help your clients? And who can be covered?

Dias: To cater the future epidemic and pandemic situation, Solarelle recently introduced Epidemic/Pandemic cover to provide non-damage business interruption insurance for loss of gross profit due to an epidemic and/or pandemic outbreak of known or unknown origin; and to provide access to specialized epidemic risk management experts to assist in current and future outbreak mitigation and preparation.

The coverage can be given to Private sector including Hospitality/Tourism, Manufacturing, Retailing, Healthcare, Education and Event organizers.

6. How do you see development of the country’s insurance sector, and its future? With it the growth of Solarelle Insurance?

Dias: Maldives’ insurance industry is growing very fast and in 2019 GWP is more than MVR 900m. For us, we will be conducting in-house training more frequently on both sales and technical, even sending our staff for overseas training as well. We had challenges in the past to carry awareness programs, especially for resort staff to bring them from various locations to one location, which will involve traveling, and the same day they can’t go back to their stations and consuming a lot of time, cost of travel, etc.

However, with the new normal, currently, we are focusing to conduct workshops for our staffs as well as customers through webinars which is a new opportunity for insurance awareness, hiring industry experts such as experts from reinsurance companies, with the webinars we can minimize the cost, save the time from traveling, cost for venue expenses for training.

One critical area to develop is loss adjustments and there are very few parties available locally but enough opportunities are there to develop claims handling and independently can earn a considerable income.

Collaborating with independent loss adjusters we have set-up Digital Claim Services with photos, video call inspections, etc. to avoid site visits and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Also, we are hoping to expand our services to new Drone surveys and eSurvey service for contactless surveys without physical attendance.

Feature image by Solarelle Insurance
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Meet Adam Afsan: The New Director of Sales at Siyam World

Siyam World announces the promotion of Adam Afsan to Director of Sales at the resort!

Adams joined Siyam World in April 2021 with an extensive career spanning over a decade in the hospitality industry. Originally joining Siyam World as the Assistant Director of Sales & Marketing, Adam is now starting his journey as Director of Sales at the resort. With this appointment, Adam brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role.

Adam’s Journey

Adam has held positions at several esteemed resorts. From 2017 to 2018, he held the position of Director of Revenue at Kanuhura. Here, he successfully implemented revenue management strategies to maximise profitability. In addition to this, Adam also spent almost 5 years at Six Senses Laamu. At this resort, he worked as a Reservations Executive and progressed to various roles including Assistant Reservations Manager, Reservations Manager, Revenue Manager, and ultimately Sales Manager.

Adam also has experience working with the renowned brand Soneva, where he played a pivotal role in driving revenue growth and enhancing brand visibility.

We are thrilled to announce Adan Afsan’s promotion to Director of Sales at Siyam World. Adan’s proven track record of driving results and his deep understanding of the hospitality industry make him the idea candidate to lead our sales and marketing efforts. We are confidents that under his leadership, Siyam World will continue to thrive and reach new heights of success, says Deepak Booneady – CEO at Sun Siyam Resorts.

In his new capacity as Director of Sales at Siyam World, Adam will lead the sales and marketing team in the Maldives. He will be responsible for crafting and executing robust sales and marketing strategies to drive business growth.

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