Union Assurance is a leading Life Insurance solutions provider of Sri Lanka that has been empowering people and offering peace of mind in dealing with their financial plans and the future for more than thirty years. Operating across more than seventy branches throughout Sri Lanka, Union Assurance’s team of dynamic professionals who share a customer-centric mentality are leading the way in innovating the country’s growing life insurance industry. We take a closer look at the firm and its award-winning CEO, Mr Jude Gomes.
Established in 1987, Union Assurance is one of the largest providers of life insurance solutions for Sri Lanka, committed to providing protection, financial security, and creating wealth for their clients, whilst also adding values to its employees, field staff, business partners, shareholders, and community. Offering a comprehensive range of solutions that encompass investment, protection, retirement, education, health, and employment, Union Assurance seeks to support the dreams of Sri Lankan people by providing them customized solutions to meet the uncertainties of life.
Since its inception, Union Assurance ethos has evolved to become the protector of the Sri Lankan dream under the brand’s philosophy, ‘Your Life, Our Strength’. The Company has positioned itself to protect the lifestyles, relationships, and ambitions of its clients, regardless of the inevitable complications that arise throughout a lifetime. Caring remains an integral value of Union Assurance, alongside Trust, Excellence, Ethics and Integrity, Innovation, and a customer-centric mentality that encompasses all of these values.
As consumers around the world become more digitally aware and attuned to the rapid evolution of economic and social landscapes, Union Assurance’s customers are also becoming more aspirational, with clearly defined goals of what they want for themselves and their families, now and in the future. A key part of Sri Lankan culture is the creation of inheritances, and the firm’s diverse clientele across the country and socio-economic backgrounds are becoming more aware of life insurance as an alternative investment opportunity to achieve their financial ambitions.
While Sri Lanka has trailed behind in innovating its products, servicing capabilities, and distribution in this market, it is clear that the potential for growing and innovating the financial services sector is ready to be maximised. Union Assurance is stepping out of the norm in its market and driving forward innovation, making it its mission to bridge the gap between its tech-savvy customers and the less advanced industry. By transforming itself to become a more digitally enhanced, customer-centric life insurer with better, tech-enabled products, services, and platforms, Union Assurance is leading the way for the Sri Lankan market in helping its customers to achieve their financial goals and live comfortable, protected lives.
However, as an industry that requires long term commitments in a developing market, this is largely viewed as an impediment. Moreover, the concept of mitigating ‘pure risk’ is also misunderstood, with many consumers demanding immediate returns on premiums they have paid, making the whole concept a significantly more expensive proposition. All of this is compounded by the aggravation caused by issues in transparency, complexity, and tedious processes, as well as uncertainties in the stock market caused by over-dependence on stock market-related products and short term, fly-by-night operators. Dealing with such problems has been somewhat impeded in latter months as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has not only created challenges in operating in this environment, but also had significant impact on the livelihoods, and therefore the paying capacities, of consumers.
However, Union Assurance’s strong foundations, innovative mindset, and digital preparedness meant the firm was able to proactively adapt to the pandemic, not only surviving as a business but thriving and growing. Over the past year, Union Assurance has been recruiting more than ever, welcoming Financial Advisors and Insurance Officers in large numbers, as well as talents across other industries who are able to provide fresh perspectives and ideas for growth. Insurance is fundamentally a sector that centres around people and as such, a defining feature of an exceptional insurance provider as opposed to a good one is the quality of its people.
For Union Assurance, its people are its greatest asset. CEO Mr Jude Gomes states that it is his job to empower them, giving them the platform and resources to develop and maximise their potential. Only in an environment where each member of the team feels safe and trusted can the innovation that is vital to Union Assurance’s success flourish, even in the face of adversity or complications. The result is an internal culture that gives individuals the space to make their mistakes and learn from them, giving them the drive to outperform their key deliverables and exceed expectations of their clients. “The remarkable results are a tribute to our winning team, which I am proud to be part of,” says Mr Gomes.
Mr Gomes himself joined Union Assurance in December 2019, bringing with him nearly thirty years of rich experience in financial services accrued working across key Asian markets. Prior to his role at Union Assurance, Mr Gomes led Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Co. Philippines as CEO and President, having been with Manulife Group since 2012, pioneering Bancassurance in Vietnam as Corporate Vice-President and Head of Partnership Distribution. He was also a founder member of Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance Co. as Senior Vice-President and Head of Channel, and was subsequently seconded to Hong Kong at HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific) Regional Business Development, working across APAC markets.
In addition to this, Mr Gomes was among the pioneers at India’s first privatised life insurer, HDFC Standard Life, and also headed Wealth Management for Centurion Bank of Punjab. He has a sizeable list of accreditations and awards to his name, including the Manulife’s Global Star of Excellence Award in 2013 and 2015 and Standard Chartered Bank’s Regional Award in 1999.
Just like its CEO, Union Assurance is also the proud recipient of numerous awards and accolades, having been recognised for the eighth consecutive year as a Great Place to Work by GPTW, Domestic Life Insurer by Asia Insurance Awards, and Best Brand, Best Employer Brand and Sustainable Marketing Excellence by CMO Global/ CMO Asia and the World HRD Congress. Union Assurance was also a finalist at the 5th Trusted Asia Life Agents & Advisors Awards for Best IRO and Best Bancassurance Partnership and is the Most Awarded Brand – #1 in the Insurance category by LMD.
In its mission to lead Sri Lanka into the next generation of Life Insurance and Financial Services, Union Assurance recently launched its new brand identity, complete with a logo and payoff line that represented the firm’s new beginning. At the heart of this repositioning strategy is the evolved consumer, and Union Assurance places itself as the Trusted Protector of the Sri Lankan dream, charged with showing people that they can dream bigger if they plan better, that their children can aim higher if their future is stronger, and that their lives can be richer if they think smarter.
Union Assurance’s new logo depicts the Circle of Life, which goes hand-in-hand with its slogan, Your Life, Our Strength. The rebranding of the firm marks an exciting journey that has been built on the teamwork of dynamic professionals who have successfully nurtured relationships amidst its strong financial foundations. As Union Assurance enters this next, exciting phase of its evolution, there is no doubt that the shape of Sri Lanka’s life insurance industry is set to be changed for the better.