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Penetration rate of 1% leaves plenty of room for growth

Article - December 4, 2015

As a leader, Green Delta has set the standard and continues to be innovative, earning not just its number one ranking in the country but a foothold in the international market


There was a time when all things insurance had to be handled in Karachi, Pakistan, but since Bangladesh’s independence the insurance industry has transformed into a vibrant, competitive industry with strong participation from the private sector.

Following independence, the insurance industry was nationalized and a handful of state-owned companies handled the insurance needs of an entire country. When the government began allowing private companies to compete, one man with a pioneering spirit, and a vision, was well-prepared to make the leap.

With $250,000 that he had cobbled together from friends, Nasir Choudhury started the Green Delta Insurance Company, the first and what would become the largest private insurer in the country.

As a leader, Green Delta has set the standard and continues to be innovative, earning not just its number one ranking in the country but a foothold in the international market. One of its notable achievements in 2013 was attracting investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, which purchased a 10% stake in the company, the first foreign investment in a South Asian insurance company. It was a sound vote of confidence that Mr. Choudhury nearly turned down.

“IFC World Bank approached us,” he says. “I said we already have sufficient capital. But they were pursuing me, so I said we would discuss it.” After a while, Mr. Choudhury accepted their offer. Their stake in the company fell from 10% to 8% because of dividends the company pays.

Green Delta declared a 10% stock dividend and 15% cash dividend to its shareholders for the year 2014, a performance it has maintained fairly consistently over the last five years. It continues to hold its dominant position in the market with a 12.91% share in 2014, up from 11.9% in 2013.

Despite paying out the largest claim in its history, settling a fire-related claim for a tobacco company, Green Delta recorded 4.46% growth in net profit after taxes in 2014, a reflection of its high solvency and liquidity.

With a mere 1% penetration rate, the Bangladesh insurance market offers plenty of room for growth. Green Delta continues to mine its potential by offering innovative products tailored to the needs of Bangladeshis.

In June 2015 Green Delta announced an agreement with IDLC Finance Limited to offer “Nibedita”, a new comprehensive insurance specifically tailored for female entrepreneurs.

“This product is actually a reflection of the times. We launched this product to safeguard their future as they have multiple challenges to overcome while doing business,” says Mr. Choudhury.

In May of 2014, Green Delta began to offer health coverage to women; it was the first product in the non-life insurance category to focus exclusively on women.

Green Delta also launched “Shudin” last year, a health insurance program to cover workers in the RMG (Ready Made Garments) sector, of which the majority of workers are women. The company is actively working with labor organizations to develop a policy that is truly effective for the target segment.

“What we also really value is the fact that we are proactive in our approach to assess a potential account and share our findings with our clients so that they can not only optimize the premium but also take precautionary steps towards preventing possible hazards,” explains Mr. Choudhury. “This to me is truly furthering the interests of the customer and the cause of insurance rather than only focusing on increasing our collections.”