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Consumer Attitudes Towards Growth Of Amana Takaful Insurance

Changing consumer attitude towards growth of Amana Takaful Insurance

Introduction

The need for safety and security is very basic to human nature. In today’s, world one cannot think of trade and commerce without insurance. No financial planning and risk management can be complete without life insurance. The concept of insurance as it evolved initially was an arrangement of mutual help in times of need and distress rather than a business proposition for risk management as practiced today.

Takaful is derived from an Arabic word which means solidarity, whereby a group of participants agree among themselves to support one another jointly against defined loss. In a Takaful arrangement, the participants contribute a sum of money as wholly or partially tabarru’ (donation) into a common fund, which will be used mutually to assist the members against a defined loss or damage (Islamic finance service board report 2006)

"Takaful" is a risk management concept that is based on mutuality and partnership. When simply translated "Takaful" means "Joint Guarantee" in which several parties are involved. It brings people together in a joint effort towards safeguarding the interests of all by pooling in their donations so that the unfortunate few may benefit from the contributions of fellowmen. Thus, they become joint owners of the fund and help safeguard its interests. The rise of "Takaful" was due to the perennial need for a scheme of insurance void of interest, uncertainty and chance to be replaced with transparency, justness and mutual benefit. "Takaful" is an Islamic insurance concept which is firmly grounded in Islamic financial principles, observing the rules and regulations of Islamic law. This concept has been practiced in various forms for over 1400 years. (http://www.takaful.lk/takaful_conceptnew.php)

Amana Takaful insurance started its operation on 1998 pioneering the Takaful concept in Srilanka. Currently company offers both General and Family insurance solutions. Listed in the Colombo stock exchange and operations have expanded to many part of the country and also in Maldives. Amana Takaful is the first insurance company in Srilanka to pioneer the process of refunding surplus at the end of each policy term. (Amana Takaful Annual Report 2009)

The need of Takaful is currently felt in the market with the introduction of many Islamic financial solutions as well as dedicated Islamic financial Units among the conventional institutions; recently the numbers have been on increasing trend.

Presently Amana Takaful insurance provider in the country and has been in the forefront of spreading the word of the Takaful way of insurance that has grown to be liked by many and revered by all for more than 10years. People's awareness about the Takaful industry in the country has increased during the last decade. Currently Takaful has 18 branches in the country and fully fledge operation in Maldives. With the current peaceful situation in the country economy is expected to grow and Oppurtunities for insurance industry growth is very high. To reap the benefit of the current development Amana Takaful insurance should be equipped with all the resources to face challenges posed by the market.

The purpose

The purpose of the research is to explore the mechanism to change consumer attitude towards growth of Amana Takaful insurance.

Goals of research

To identify the reason for customer purchase of Takaful

Oppurtunities for Takaful Insurance

To Identify The challenges in the market

To Identify the required changes in the company for growth

Importance of the issue

Currently only Takaful operator in the country and being in operation for ten years company profit margin remains very low comparatively to the conventional competitors. Identification of core cause of the situation will be beneficial to plan in long term and identify the appropriate future direction of the company.

Literature Review

According to Billah (2001) the objective of Takaful is to diversify the risk among the members. In a practical sense, Takaful can be visualized as a method of joint guarantee among participants against loss and damage that may be inflicted upon any of them. The members of the group agree to guarantee jointly that should any of them suffer a catastrophe received certain amount of money to meet the loss and damage Islam aims at establishing a peaceful society. Peace in the society can be ensured only when there is guarantee against ‘Risk’ (subsistence) for all individual constituting the fund-pooling institute.

Insurance is to act as a risk transfer mechanism, to provide peace of mind and protect against losses. Either can handle risk: assumption, combination, transfer, or loss prevention activities. Insurance schemes utilize the combination method by persuading a large number of individuals to pool their risks into a large group to minimize overall risk? (Ali, 2000).

According to Al-Omar (1996) the risk sharing is very important with in Islamic finance. The shariah’s manages the risk sharing by insisting on the use of well- defined contracts when financial transactions taken place. The contract is to be clear and well formulated to avoid all kinds of misunderstanding and confusion. In this way the uncertainty is lowered and the desire to minimize the risk is met

Conventional insurance and Takaful has certain operational differences According to Archer & Abdel (2002) the shariah’s does not allow certain condition as interest (riba) and gambling or speculation (maysir). From shariah’s point of view, business and investments made by Muslims must be conducted in responsible and committed way.

Further describing the distinctions Billah (2001) describes the distinction between the conventional insurance and Takaful business is more visible with respect to investment of funds. While insurance companies invest their funds in interest-based avenues and without any regard for the concept of Halal-o-Haram. Takaful companies undertake only shariah compliant business and the profits are distributed in accordance with the initially agreed ratios in the Takaful contract. Likewise they share in any surplus or loss from the pool collectively. Takaful system has a built-in mechanism to counter any over-pricing policies of the insurance companies, because whatever premium charged, the surplus would normally go back to the participants in proportion to their contributions. The nature of the principles of Takaful is different from the conventional insurance because all the operation in Takaful is in line with the Shariah principles. The operation of Takaful is based on the principle of Al- Mudhuraba which is profit and loss sharing techniques which is alternative to interest (Riba) in Conventional Insurance. In Takaful the element of uncertainty is eliminated as subscription and compensation is concerned

Takaful in Srilanka

Presently Amana Takaful is the only provider of Takaful insurance products and services to the market. Amana Takaful insurance has been in the forefront of spreading the word of the Takaful way of insurance that has grown to be liked by many and revered by all for more than 10years. People's awareness about the Takaful industry in the country has increased during the last decade. The versatility of the product range is also a strength that helped to satisfy the needs of customer. Currently Takaful industry lacks an strong and highly capitalized market to meet the growing demand of customers.

Sixteen (16) of them are composite companies, Seven (07) of them engage in only General Insurance business and two (02) companies engage only in Long Term (Life). Currently , 43 insurance broking companies were registered with the IBSL in terms of Section 82 of the Act. Insurance Broking companies and Insurance Agents as intermediaries have made a valuable contribution to the industry.

Presently the tariff is not observed in the market by the insurers. The gross written premium from Long Term (Life) and General Insurance Business in 2009 is added up to Rs.57,919 Million. In the year 2008, the overall gross written premium was Rs.58,166 Million.

Corporate Governance Practice

Generally, corporate governance in Islamic insurance institutions distinguish in many forms to that of its conventional counterparts, most importantly Islamic finance institutions need to ensure that they comply with the Shariah (Islamic law) meaning that unlike secular governance practices Shariah would first examine at the transactional structure to find whether the process involves any activities or elements that contradict the profits generation. Also Islamic insurance institutions must invite customers to contribute an active role in the governance process.

Regulatory and legislative issues

The insurance industry is regulated in terms of the provisions of the Regulation of Insurance Industry Act,No.43 of 2000 (RII Act). The Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL) was established under this Act in order to develop, supervise and regulate the insurance industry in Sri Lanka. Over the past year, the IBSL has embarked upon several activities to develop, supervise and regulate the insurance industry with a view to ensuring that the best interest of the Policy-holders and potential Policy – holders. During the previous year IBSL has strengthened its monitoring process in order to ensure the financial stability of insurance companies and insurance brokers.By virtue of powers vested in the IBSL in terms of Section 15 of the Act, eighteen (18) Insurance Companies (Insurers) registered with the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL), are presently underwriting insurance business.

Methodology

The method which will be used for the research is a combination of qualitative and quantitative. (van Maanen,1983) defined the qualitative method as an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate and otherwise come to terms with the meaning , not the frequency of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world. (Orna and Stevens,1995) describe research can be regarded as being ‘searching by means of careful, critical investigation in order to discover something specific’.

In addition analytical and comparative approaches to research will also be applied where Appropriate by conducting scrutiny on relevant documentation with reasonable broad and in-depth study of the subject matter and making some comparison where necessary. This is to ensure coverage on the locus and focus of the issue under-studied are reasonably justified in holistic nature and thus retaining the scientific characteristics of this study (Mohd Nasir, 2004)

Sampling Frame

The population that has been identified in this study are the customers , employees, insurance users , financial institutes and potential population to insurance products.

Quantitative research is justified here because the findings are expected to be representative of the target population. The larger the sample is, the more likely the results will be representative of a larger population (Rose et al, 2005; Saunders et al, 2000, p.155). The chosen sample, the method of data collection, the time requirements and the financial limitations. Judgemental sampling is a form of convenience sampling based on the judgement of the research in the selection of a relevant respondent to the study (Malhotra & Birks, 2006, p.364). Both methods have also been chosen based on their small cost and time requirements (Saunders et al, 2000, p.177). Judgement will be used to analyse the individual motives to Islamic financial products

Data collection Method

Questionnaire will be design and use for gathering information required and further In order to establish the trueness of this assertion, interviews will be conducted with the sample. Field study using observation and interviews approaches will also be carried out in an effort to validate the above assertion in the hypothesis and thus ensuring the reliability of the findings from this study. The interviews were aimed at getting into the insight of the understudied issue from the perspective of the operators, users, regulators and both external and internal auditors.

Secondary Research

Research will involve secondary research and data will be gathered using sources such as journal articles, trade press and the internet. The aim will be to explore the mechanism and the possibilities of converting customers toward Amana Takaful insurance.

Data collection process

Two techniques used for data collection and questionnaire completion will be conducted through Emails and questionnaire delivery/collection techniques. Questionnaires delivered via email are easy to administer and to return. It also is cost advantageous. Email also guarantees that the respondent is representative of the target population. This technique also has the advantage of being more secure in terms of control, access and response (Witmer et al.,1999) and (Saunders et al., 2000). The other technique used is the delivery/collection of questionnaires was direct face to face interview with the sample population.

Limitations

The major limitation of this study is the methodology used for the sample, the research design, questionnaire design and the data collection. The sample can be seen as one key limitation for this paper in terms of representation and size. Even though the sample chosen limit the irrelevance of the findings, other demographics should have been considered. This would have allowed the results to be more representative of a broader scale. In addition, the size of the sample makes conclusions on open to critique.

A large sample would have been tougher to get while including participants from different backgrounds and demographics, though it might have increased the relevance of the findings and the overall credibility of the research. Conducting quantitative research alone can be seen as a limitation as well. The validity of the results from the questionnaires would be better supported with the addition of a focus group or depth-interview.

Access and Ethical Issues

Access

My personal influence will be used to make contact with the relevant individuals within the sample. Further relevant regulatory bodies will be contacted by an introductory letter, outlining the purpose of the research, how they might be able to help and what would be required.

Ethical Issues

Since the subject area surround some ethical issues pertaining to Islamic belief research will be conducted avoiding these matters and sensitive issues will not be taken up on the research.

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