Life Insurance Today THE FIRST EXCLUSIVE MONTHLY JOURNAL ON LIFE INSURANCE IN INDA Vol. 8 No. 08 November 2012 ISSN - 0973-4813
Editor Ram Gopal Agarwala, B.Com., L.L.B., F.C.A.
Associate Editor Dr. Rakesh Agarwal M.Com. (BIM), L.L.B., F.I.I.I., P.G.J.M.C., M.B.A. A.C.A. Ph.D
Assistant Editor Shyam Agarwal, B.Com.(Hons.), F.I.I.I., P.G.J.M.C
Resident Editor S. Chattoraj, Pune Dr. B. K. Jha, Sultanpur K. L. Madhok, New Delhi
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Life Insurance in present world is the minimum need of a human being through which one can survive and meet his basic needs of life in all the ages and walks of life. It is more so required in old age as well as when you need the savings most for survival. Human life is getting complex with the passing of time and industrial activities due to which the natural resources are drying and artificial requirements of the life going immense. The importance of Life Insurance is increasing day by day in this complex world, just the need is to properly educate the consumers. Govt. of India has recently taken decision to allow 49% of FDI in Insurance Industry which will bring update Technologies and more inflow of fund which will help the companies to expand. Micro-finance which includes life and non-life Insurance along with Health Insurance for the Rural folk which is above 60% of the total population should be given more attention and proper steps should be taken by the government to increase penetration of micro insurance. IRDA is on the way of drafting nearly 18 standard policies for the general public which need not be explained much to the prospective customer. If implemented the Life Insurance Industry will benefited and the general public would also get advantage. Women centric life policies should be there to protect their several specific needs and the better awareness among the women may change the life style of the gender in future. The Editorial team wishes happy and prosperous 'Dussera' and 'Diwali' for the readers, subscribers, authors, advertisers and all related with the publications. November, 2012
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Selling Insurance Products In Rural Market 5
- Dr. Ashish Barua
Indian Insurers should spread their business abroad -
The case for continuous learning
Health cover needs a check up
Disaster Management - Their benefits
Life could get easier for policyholders
Suicide clause in life insurance policies
Industry awaits clarity on reforms
Tax breaks for insurance likely
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Rural India is a powerhouse propelling the economy's growth. Home to two-thirds of the country's one billion consumers, it is the zone where almost half of the national income is generated. Marketers are focussing on the Indian hinterlands to achieve their revenue targets by increasing their presence into the rural markets. Marketers are eyeing the aspiring rural and semiurban India to harness growth opportunities.
Recently the insurance regulator has suggested that Indian insurers should look overseas and expand their international footprints. This is time now when our homegrown insurers should look at overseas countries both in terms of acquisitions and opening branches there.
Capital markets, mutual funds, pensions as well as the insurance sector are witnessing 'reforms' on the micro as well as macro front. A lot has been said and written about the changes, such as the increase in the Foreign Direct investment (FDI), but at the end of the day, it all boils down to you and the asking questions such as, "What's in it for me?". "Would all the sweeping changes leave me better off or worse off?"
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SELLING INSURANCE PRODUCTS IN RURAL MARKET
Dr. Ashish Barua*
ural India is a powerhouse propelling the economy's growth. Home to two-thirds of the country's one billion consumers, it is the zone where almost half of the national income is generated. Marketers are focussing on the Indian hinterlands to achieve their revenue targets by increasing their presence into the rural markets. Marketers are eyeing the aspiring rural and semi-urban India to harness growth opportunities. Cable and satellite penetration has helped in a big way to access hard-to-reach rural pockets. Moreover, advertising budgets for hinterlands do not demand much of the liquidity. Marketing of products and services through simple ways like village melas (fairs), nukkad natikas (road theatre), boat branding, mobile vans and wall paintings prove to be very effective and that too at minimal costs. For instance, HUL's initiative Khushiyon ki Doli is an inexpensive medium of multibrad activation wherein the company reached out to as many as 10 million rural consumers. Given the number of categories and brands, FMCG companies and automobile giants are the biggest advertisers in semiurban and rural India. Most of the FMCG firms follow the * MA. MBA, PhD, DLitt (Economics), PGDBA, PGDMM, PGDEXIMM, CCISA, DLA(USA) Former Associate Professor & Officiating Director, Indian Institute of Rural Management & Advisor-Placement, Member Insurance Research Board, Member Research Board,ABI USA, Member (Founder) Institute of Rural Management, CoChairman Center For Banking and Financial Institutions, Insurance, National Law University, Jodhpur
strategy of coming up with low unit packs for the people residing in hinterlands. Euromonitor International's survey has found that 68 per cent of personal care products were sold in rural India in FY 12 as against 31 per cent in cities. Thus, markets in rural and semi-urban India are poised to be the future growth drivers due to higher disposable incomes, rising aspirations of people to own quality products and improved infrastructure support extended by the Government for the development of these cities India is considered to be a large untapped market for insurance products. There seems to be enough scope for improvement on the insurance density and insurance penetration counts for the country. While this is true, the challenge lies in reaching out to the large population in the rural areas where the traditional financial distribution channels just don't make economic sense. The traditional insurance products would also not make sense in these areas as the requirements would be very different from what a tier 1 or tier 2 city would need. After selling, the ability to service these customers too would form a crucial part of the link to increase these numbers.
Insurers bank on rural areas for growth A study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India showed that only 8-10% of rural Indian households hold life insurance. Having already realized that rural India constitutes a massive untapped market, a greater number of life insurance companies are increasingly expanding their rural distribution network by offering products
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customized for lower-income populations and partnering with regional rural banks. Life insurance companies are targeting the hinterland in a big way. Most life insurers are not just increasing their distribution network in rural areas, but also offering traditional insurance products for the 'cost and return sensitive' rural populace. Most private life insurers have realised that growth will come mainly from over 90 per cent of the so far untapped households in rural areas. A recent study by ASSOCHAM on Rural India and its New Investors says that only 8- 10 per cent of the rural households are covered under life insurance, while the remaining 90 per cent can be targeted with innovative insurance schemes. The industry body expects that Rs 1,000 crore can be added to the net worth of these insurance companies from the 200 million rural households, that are looking for alternative savings channels for their surpluses, provided these come out with innovative schemes at affordable premium.. "Nowadays companies are developing viable and costeffective distribution channels; building consumer awareness and confidence. An extensive rural agent network for sale of insurance products is being established by most players. Companies are going for customer education and consciousness to motivate purchase of insurance products, especially those that offer guaranteed returns,"
Innovations waiting in selling insurance policies for rural india Till date most of the companies in India are always focused on urban market or at least they sell their products/services with the same models that of predominantly urban-market oriented. However, of the late, there is a significant shift due to the popularity of so called, "Bottom of the Pyramid" model.
One of the main vocal point of BoP model is that understand low-income people as your consumers and make your product affordable (cost or units) to the BoP market. Most of the companies, these days, have started to remodel their products/ services according to this principle. However, targeting BoP market means more than this. You need to make sure your offerings suit to the local needs. That is exactly missing in Insurance sector. Nowadays, many insurance companies selling their policies as low as Rs. 10, Rs. 25 (much less than a US dollar). This is really a welcome step. And now coming to the other innovations part: 1. Insurance policies should be completely flexible. Typically these are separately priced like health insurance, life insurance, vehicle insurance, farm insurance etc. I think, you should price them as a combination (as a flexible percentage and choice is given to the customer). Now let the customer choose the way he wants. 2.
Second comes from distribution aspect. Do not try to keep a separate chain of distribution. Utilize 1-2 millions telecom retail distribution chains. For the simple reason that these bring the structural efficiency in order to reduce the costs.
Third comes from social angle. Most of the rural people live in joint families or at least they would love to consume services as a family. This is evident from their consumption patterns such as marriage/functions, pilgrim trips etc. So your service should consider this trick and offer them a group oriented policies. In fact, one may even consider community based policies. That would possibly become an instant hit.
In all of the above scenarios, recent advances in technology would play a great role. So insurance companies should start looking at the benefits that new tech developments could bring them. The potential for a quantum jump in the penetration level of insurance in India lies in small towns and villages. Insurance products are truly a social profit and it symbolises socialism at its best. Both the rich and poor pay the same premium and provide a mutual form of cover to each other. For millions of people who do not earn regular income and for families that depend on the irregular wages or income of a sole breadwinner, life insurance is a potent way to provide economic protection and family welfare. So, what are the strategies for marketing insurance products in rural areas?
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Top Ideas 1
Build a knowledgeable and competent distribution channel Understanding Rural markets Income LINKED Insurance plans Develop insurance products for rural segment Product Innovation & promotion by Govt. to Attract more savings. Do skits/small plays/Pamphlets Go near the people & create rapport Differential pricing policy
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Build a knowledgeable and competent distribution channel In my opinion, the key challenges in reaching potential insurance clients in small towns in India, the foremost is building knowledgeable and competent distribution channels. The knowledge level and skill of agents require to be substantially upgraded, given the fact that insurance industry is now competitive and the new products that are being launched require a reasonable degree of understanding of how the financial system works.
and the commitment to this line of business precedes everything else. If the strategy and commitment to do the rural insurance is there in a Company, they will be able to easily find solutions for each of these problems. Let us face it, you get bottled drinks and water in the smallest of the locations through out the length and breadth of the country which makes it clear that it is possible to serve these locations as long as there is a commitment and strategy to do so.
Income linked insurance plans
Understanding rural markets In my view, for making a product acceptable to any 'category' it is important to understand that category well and come out with the right strategies. Rural Insurance is no different. One of the key issues we have in making the insurance products available to the rural population is the product strategy itself. Let us clearly accept certain facts. Currently, insurance is being sold either as a 'tax saver' or as an 'investment'. Hardly any 'Insurance Sale / advise' happens. Owing to the product positioning, it is clearly segmented for the 'investing & tax paying' communities. Rural income largely from agriculture and average incomes being lower, does not attract tax. Hence, the strong factor for selling an insurance in the Urban area does not hold good in the rural areas. I do hear remarks when one reads the above point that there are enough products which are insurance focused. But, the fact is that these are not marketed and are not promoted. Being in the shelf is of very low significance. While there are challenges like reaching the masses, cost of distribution, logisitical issues etc. in my opinion the strategy
In rural areas the income comes mainly from agriculture, government jobs and / or shops. If the government can link insurance with their income it will be a compulsory saving that the household makes. Also a conscious effort needs to be made towards premiums and the allowance to make it monthly would be of greater impact. Also, if the insurance guys can develop some plan which enables the insured to get money back at the end of each year, that would be a very lucrative deal. In rural areas being cash rich is the most prestigious thing rather than showing a debit card of a bank!
Develop insurance products for rural segment Given the established role played by the individual agency force in selling insurance products, and its particular relevance in rural areas, it is essential to fortify this channel with a set of new inputs. There is a rapid change witnessed in the market in the complexion of insurance products, with the end of the era of high, assured return insurance policies. Insurance products should be that are relevant to people at different life stages and enable an individual to get the best value for the objectives he or she has in mind.
Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.
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put and build confidence, only then business will follow. Touch and vanish, as being done by pvt. insurance cos wont run for along time.
Differential pricing policy The people living in small towns and villages does not have regular income and safe savings. They cannot spend on costly insurance products. There were hardly exclusive products for the rural rich or middle class. The principle of differential pricing is a necessity. So,in my view, if insurance products are given in reduced price, they can expand into the vast rural markets. Must cost is not incurred in advertising as in urban, so they have a reduced cost and a new pricing policy is possible.
Entering Rural Market Bancassurance operational models Product innovation & promotion by govt. To attract more savings. Nowadays, mostly urban's people purchased Insurance Product to reduce their Income tax liabilities. But I think It's role is more than as we measured. It play a dual role in our country economic Development & Growth. One side it motivate to peoples for more savings and another side it provide long terms fund to economy for their development & growth. It is not even an instrument to save the income tax but a instrument which can Motivate & promote to savings too. But I think that Insurance product is not for urban people only for tax saving instruments but it is a product for every class of people in our country. It is a kind of social economic security instrument which not even Motivate & promote for saving in Middle & Lower class peoples but also fund provider to various industries as well as generate employment directly & indirectly through Insurance Business .
Do skits/small plays/pamphlets Do skits/small plays/distribute pamphlet's in easy to read/ understand formats to create awareness of the product. If you can take help of the local drama companies and give them a script I am sure they will improvise and explain as they (rural people) understand.
Go near the people & create rapport For effective rural marketing one will have to go near them, stay
Most of the bancassurance relationships in India are started with a 'referral' type arrangement, where bank staff provide leads to a specialist insurance company sales force, in return for which, the bank receives a 'fee'. Although this model is still adopted by some insurers, the banking and insurance regulators are apparently unhappy with the scope for what they consider 'misuse of personal customer data' collected by referral agents of insurance companies posted at bank branches. The regulators also fear that the level of post-sale service provided to the clients may be compromised as a result of the bank not engaging itself with the sale process. As a result, they are now discouraging insurers and banks from entering into new referral arrangements. The main alternative model is more bank-centric in its sales approach. Banks have to obtain a corporate agency license to permit bank staff to distribute insurance. In this model, bank staff carries out the selling activities, and the bank receives a commission for the sales as per the corporate agency agreement. The distribution agreements on which these models are reliant typically have durations ranging from one to 10 years. Most agreements are loosely worded, without the bank partners paying much attention to the customer servicing responsibilities in the post-sale phase. This leaves the field wide open for corruption nepotism and exploitation by the haves against the have nots. Whereas ethics is required governance is imperative.
Life is a long lesson in humility.
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Some banks have taken a more committed approach, taking an equity stake in a new joint venture life insurance company. Alternative methods such as tapping the corporate clients of the bank, conducting worksite marketing within corporate clients, as well as direct and telemarketing, are currently not being exploited to any great extent, but clearly represent significant potential for both banks and insurers. Some bancassurance relationships have been relatively successful in developing loan-related or packaged products. However, the emergence of other more tailored products for bank customers is still at a nascent stage.
Corporate agency (or other affinity groups) models There are literally thousands of other potential affinity groups in India. To date, the insurers have been fairly selective in choosing to tie up with affinity groups primarily from a financial services background. Such organizations are probably closer to banks, in terms of the potential business volumes and also having some form of distribution capability. These groups also include so called 'para-banking' organizations or 'non-banking finance companies' (NBFCs). NBFCs are companies with restricted banking licenses who are able to accept and hold deposits from the public. These groups also include multi-level marketing/distribution organizations. Generally insurers have preferred to set up corporate agency agreements with these companies, rather than establishing referral arrangements. There are some 500 or so registered 'significant' NBFCs, with thousands of other potential affinity groups.
Product enhancement for rural market Product development is proving to be key as the many distribution partners are beginning to request a more tailored suite of products, as opposed to the generic offerings that the insurers launched when they started their business. As bank and affinity partners become more aware of the opportunities and as new insurance companies look to enter the sector, the first wave of new entrants will need to work hard to maintain the relationships that they have developed to date. The success and sustainability of the existing relationships are likely to depend on the ability of insurance companies to
respond to demands from distributors, in what is likely to be a very competitive space. The challenges to successfully build on what has been achieved to date will also emerge once the so called 'low hanging fruit' has disappeared. A commitment from both the insurer and distributor to devote the time to develop the channels and to expand the range of products will be one of the key success factors for the development of a longer-term relationship. Notwithstanding these challenges, there is no doubt that alternative distribution in India will play a major role as the insurance sector develops. Although only in its infancy, there are an even greater number of opportunities that remain untapped. India provides one of the most unique opportunities to work with a wide variety of distributors and to develop innovative distribution models. It will be interesting to see how the agency channel evolves and adapts in response to this increasing 'competition.'
Client servicing alarm With increased competition among insurers, service has become a key issue. Moreover, customers are getting increasingly sophisticated and tech-savvy. People today don't want to accept the current value propositions, they want personalized interactions and they look for more and more features and add ones and better service. The insurance companies today must meet the need of the hour for more and more personalized approach for handling the customer. Today managing the customer intelligently is very critical for the insurer especially in the very competitive rural environment. Companies need to apply different set of rules and treatment strategies to different rural segments. However, to personalize interactions, insurers are required to capture customer information in an integrated system dedicated for rural business. With the explosion of Website and greater access to direct product or policy information, there is a need to developing better techniques to give rural customers a truly personalized experience. Personalization helps organizations to reach their customers with more impact and to generate new revenue through cross selling and up selling activities. Also, physical presence in the locality will be required to
Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.
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support client servicing. Having felt the cost pressure owing to modest sales-turnover may force companies to market insurance as that of FMCG companies. They may start their business opening more and more satellite offices. It is strongly recommended for adoption in penetrating the rural space for product marketing.
of Referral Marketing with sufficient present customer network. This may be marketed for successful career in rural insurance. Such a move of Smart-Career has to be marked with '6-P' template of Rural Insurance Marketing: Patience
But, the sales of insurance are the subject matter of financial services marketing, where personalization issues are more significant. The essence of the better service in respect of personalization is never found at the satellites, which is generally done through remotely and much centrally located hub branch.
with 3 Ps
on 3 Ps Programme
Ironically, the deadlines are more focused when closing the sale unlike for providing service in time for settling the claims and other operational issues. Generally, it is believed that issues in the business result in the recruitment of the sales staff for loading sales with additional pressure of operations issues. For becoming successful in delicate rural segment, such issues and overloading of operational burden on sales staff may trigger a back fire resulting in loss of possible revenue for the company. Drawing-board approach to formulate the sales figure for rural markets is unrealistic without having understood the rural sentiments. In India the insurance business can be said to be "a marathon, not a sprint". This is because of the nature of the business being long term. As insurance companies go more and more rural in search of business, there will be opportunities in the rural sector.
Secrets to success in rural market Those who understand rural India better will be in demand. When the rural consumer will start exhibiting an increasing propensity for insurance products, there is once in a lifetime opportunity to transform dreams into visible reality for companies having understanding of rural outlook. This will essentially requires a leading TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) of professionals with the said rural outlook with mission to learn the Rural Business professionally with focus on Retail networking. Following the RUN (Retail - Use - Network) system, marketing insurance in rural space sounds more realistic, when this being sold as Smart-Career. Smart-Career is involved in marketing of Insurance policies and allied services, having wide experience
Patience Being patience is very important when a new assignment is taken up without knowing what may happen due to non availability historical data. Often the contracts with banks having big presence in rural markets take unusually high time to be signed. Further, after getting into the contract, there might be delivery pressures from the management of the insurance company as well the said bank subject to the best possible service for the referral customers. Only patience with own mind action is the solution Perseverance It is all about determination and high energy. Focus must be clear when rural sentiments are to be aligned to the organizational mission of becoming successful in rural insurance marketing. Also, an individual taking on the responsibility of making insurance big in rural market must review all the successes enjoyed in every area of life to become determined. This determination will pave the path of delight of making a strong foundation in rural markets. Passion Its' is difficult always a Push Start a car â€Ś its' better to have one that starts on its own. The battery within puts required energy to make the engine roar. Am I talking of a car? ... It is an effort just to relate to one professional with sufficient motivation. So, passionate working may bring right attitude to become successful in rural insurance marketing. Product The knowledge about the product helps in providing best
Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.
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solutions for the customer who requires personalized and not generalized clarifications. The success mantra is to become an avid learner in the field of rural insurance marketing, who can be consulted even after the close of a sale. It is imperative to highlight that there is no patenting done in insurance products and, therefore, selling a product primary becomes full personalized effort. For becoming successful, it is imperative to be the master of the product.
support rural masses struggle against vulnerability, risk and poverty in respect of providing better avenues for investments. It is an unexplored prospect and both scholars and policy makers should look into this phenomenon before it is too late!
People It is about making habit of meeting people, and making sound network for being successful in rural insurance marketing. Making habit is significant! When a man makes the habit of smoking, even after knowing it being dangerous to the health, he smokes. So, is it a wrong idea to make meeting and networking people your habit, when you know that it is only and only aspect to make you booming?
Programme Every body in business has some issue to remain in business where only tool to drive the business is programmes. You need to be good driver to handle a car; similarly a good driver of business must have handful understanding of driving programmes.
In addition, a big and refreshingly broad-based step is to include owners of kirana shops, fair price shops, medical shops, petrol pumps and PCOs to act as micro insurance agents. Tapping into this large independent network of well established individuals has been tried by various financial institutions with varying levels of success. In fact, the large count of agents of LIC is something which contributes significantly to their business and is something which other companies have found difficult to replicate.
With so much happening in the insurance foray, there is positive likelihood of rural renaissance as far as insurance is concerned. It may the rural India to drive the future growth for insurance where a lot more is required to be researched. Policy formulations in future may contribute more towards an understanding of how we can
These plans are called micro insurance plans and are specially meant for the rural areas to meet their requirements.. Currently NGOs, SHGs and MFIs form a majority of the micro insurance agents, but it was found that most of the little business that was done by the agents was being done through NGOs. It is felt that the insurance industry has not tapped into them well enough to increase sales of these products. Hence, one of the key steps which have been proposed is increasing the distribution network in addition to the already lucrative remuneration structure for the sale of these plans. District co-operative banks, regional rural banks, primary agricultural societies and individual agents can now qualify as micro insurance agents.
These individuals typically are well established and in regular contact with their clients and if paid well can go a long way in selling micro insurance plans. In fact, a lot of product suggestions also might come from them as they interact with their clientele on a daily basis and often provide even credit services in terms of monthly billing. This is a bold step in the right direction and has the potential to reach out to a large number of people in rural areas. Successful or not, it is definitely worth trying. Increasing levels of insurance coverage in rural areas is a must for a strong and vibrant India.
Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
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INDIAN INSURERS SHOULD SPREAD THEIR BUSINESS ABROAD
ecently the insurance regulator has suggested that Indian insurers should look overseas and expand their international footprints. This is time now when our homegrown insurers should look at overseas countries both in terms of acquisitions and opening branches there. It is observed that if foreign players could join hands with Indian insurers, the domestic insurers should also look at foreign countries in order to expand their business. The domestic insurers might face capital constraints to acquire companies abroad. But now the government has considered raising FDI limit in the insurance sector to 49 percent from the existing 26 percent. As per the current regulation, a foreign player cannot have more than 26 percent stake in an insurance company in India. Many foreign players in recent months have either exited the Indian operation or are mulling to do so. US-based New York
About the author
Mr Jagendra kumar is the currently the Corporate Head (Training) at Shriram General Insurance Company. Mr Kumar is a proflic writer and has wide experience in the general insurance industry. Before joining SGI he was the CEO in Pearl Insurance brokers.
Life recently left the India insurance business after 10 years of association with Max India. Tata AIG Life Insurance has also been rechristened as Tata AIA Life Insurance Company following the exit of American International Group (AIG) from the Hong Kong-based AIA Group. ING is contemplating shutting shops in a few Asian markets, but India is not under that plan. Indian insurers may run short of capital to acquire companies in other countries. At a time when the government is giving a push to reforms in the insurance industry by raising foreign direct investment limit to 49% ,there is an example of German insurance giant Allianz, which gets 60% of its business from outside Germany. Indian entrepreneurs while investing abroad may face various commercial and political risks. The commercial risks may arise due to insolvency of the buyer; failure of the buyer to make the payment due within the specified period; or buyer's failure to accept the goods, subject to the given conditions. While, the political risks may be due to imposition of restrictions by the Government of the buyer's country or any Government action which may block or delay the transfer of payment made by the buyer; war, civil war, revolution or civil disturbances in the buyer's country. Other unforeseen incidents like new import restrictions or cancellation of a valid import license in the buyer's country; interruption or diversion of voyage outside India resulting in
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payment of additional freight or insurance charges which cannot be recovered from the buyer; and any other cause of loss occurring outside India not normally insured by general insurers. Hence, in order to ensure safe and successful overseas expansion plans it is necessary to provide a comprehensive insurance cover against all such risks faced by an entrepreneur. Such an insurance facility seeks to create a favorable climate in which investors including exporters can get timely and liberal credit facilities from banks at home.
Why NRIs should buy life insurance from india: Indians have spread to virtually every corner of the globe and have made their mark in the chosen line of business or profession. As an Indian living abroad, it definitely makes good financial sense to connect with the roots of your lineage and make wise investments back at home, especially when the country is in a developing phase. It is prudent to take calibrated financial decisions, especially at a time when uncertain economic conditions are prevailing in the more developed countries. It is also imperative to provide for long term security and achieve financial goals for you and your dependents. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and various economic estimates and research reports peg India's growth around 6 to 7 per cent annually. This is significantly higher as compared to other economies in the developed world where there is either nominal or no growth. This makes India an attractive investment destination for nonresident Indians. Also, given the prevailing interest rate regime in India, an NRI will earn a lot more on his bank deposits in India as compared to his country of residence. This also makes a compelling argument for the NRI to park his money in bank deposits in India. An NRI has various options to choose from when he/she is structuring his financial plan. There is no one-size-fits-all investment strategy that can be prescribed for an NRI as such and an ideal financial plan should have an optimum mix of various asset classes. However, the role of insurance as an asset class for an NRI in meeting his and his family's financial goals is important. Life insurance products can help to address an array of financial needs and goals of an NRI as they can be customized for specific purposes.
Opportunities for overseas Indians: Overseas Indians are amongst the most successful communities in the world. The overseas Indian's community estimated at over 25 million is spread throughout the globe. They have made profound contributions in the Indian economy through their knowledge and innovation. The majority includes Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Overseas Corporate Bodies (OCBs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs). They help in rapid developments and contributes towards the growth of Indian economy. They are an indispensable source of foreign direct investments into the country. India has the second largest Diaspora in the world after China. The expanse of overseas Indian community covers 110 countries. India enjoys the status of being the highest remittances receiver in the world. In India, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) is the main organization established at the central level for the overseas Indians. It helps in establishing Indian Diaspora networks plus ensures benefits of the Indian Diaspora from the developments in India. The ministry has also established Overseas Indian Facilitation Center (OIFC) for investment and business associated activities. Every year it sponsors 'Parvasi Bhartiya Divas' (Non-resident India day); with the motive of promotion of Overseas Indians. At the State and union territories level special NRI cells are established for the welfare of overseas Indians, along with Department of Industries or Udyog Bandhu or Udyog Mitra. Being the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of PPP (Purchasing power parity), India is the most preferred destination for Foreign Direct Investments. The laws governing foreign exchange in India are the Foreign Exchange Act (FEMA), 1999 and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy.
Legal standing of insurers: Doing business abroad and growing internationally is an essential part of a company's business expansion policy. It is governed by a company's aim to diversify its commercial activities across national frontiers and increase its competitiveness. Hence, planning of manufacturing facilities, logistical systems, financial flows and marketing policies in such corporations are done by taking into consideration the entire world as a single
Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.
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market. Any business transaction that involves persons or firms of more than one country is described as overseas business. In India economic reforms opened up important avenues for promoting global business by Indian entrepreneurs. The first policy governing overseas direct investment was in the form of guidelines issued in 1969. These guidelines defined the extent of participation of Indian companies in projects abroad and were subsequently revised and liberalised from time to time. They aim at providing transparency in the framework of overseas investments. The most important legislation was the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) which changed the entire perspective on foreign exchange particularly those relating to investment abroad. It changed the emphasis from exchange regulation to exchange management. Indian companies can directly invest outside India by way of contribution to the capital or subscription to the Memorandum of Association of a foreign entity, signifying a long term interest in the overseas entity. It involves setting up a Joint Venture (JV) or a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) abroad. Under the guidelines, all applications for grant of approval for setting up joint ventures/wholly owned subsidiaries are to be made and processed by the Reserve Bank of India. In order to make their investments abroad, Indian companies need funds to meet their various capital requirements; to make equity participation in overseas ventures as well as to acquire foreign companies or businesses.
Safe & successful overseas expansion plans: Indian entrepreneurs while investing abroad may face various commercial and political risks. To ensure safe and successful overseas expansion plans, it is necessary to provide them a comprehensive insurance cover against all such risks. Accordingly, Export Credit Guaranty Corporation of India Limited (ECGC was established by the Government of India under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry which provides all such insurance facilities to them. Also, the Government of India has, so far, signed BIPAs with 68 countries out of which 53 BIPAs have already come into force and the remaining agreements are in the process of being enforced. In addition, agreements have also been finalised and/ or negotiated with a number of other countries. Besides, an important legislation called as 'the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996' provides a statutory provision for settlement of all commercial disputes of an enterprise without having recourse to the court of law. In India, the relief against the problem of double taxation faced by an entrepreneur while expanding business abroad has also been provided through schemes of bilateral and unilateral relief. Over 65 companies are raising equity on the London Stock Exchange. And there are companies in the commercial debt markets; banks are lending to Indian projects. There is a huge amount of Indian work in London. Sectors such as insurance, shipping and maritime and foreign exchange are maintaining their position. The number of people employed has decreased a bit, but not significantly. The strong world view of London will continue.
LIC in international business: The Life Insurance Corporation of India transacts business abroad and has branch offices in Fiji, Mauritius and United Kingdom. LIC also operates in overseas Insurance Market through Joint Venture Companies namely Life Insurance Corporation (International) B S C (C), registered in Manama (Bahrain), Kenindia Assurance Company Ltd., registered in Nairobi, Life Insurance Corporation (Nepal) Ltd. registered in Kathmandu, Life Insurance Corporation (Lanka) Ltd. registered in Colombo and Saudi Indian Company for Cooperative Insurance registered in Riyadh. An offshore company, Life Insurance Corporation (Mauritius) Life is anything that dies when you stomp on it.
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Offshore Ltd. registered in Port Louis, Mauritius is a Joint Venture Company between LIC of India and GIC of India. This company defers its life business activities and contemplates to pursue non-life reinsurance business with active participation of GIC. A Representative Office has been established recently in Singapore to study the Regulatory Issues and to assess the market potential in order to find an appropriate mode of entry into Singapore insurance market. Among the above, Kenindia Assurance Co. Ltd., Nairobi, Kenya & Saudi Insurance Company for Co-operative Insurance, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are composite companies transacting life and non-life business.
General insurers abroad: The General Insurance Corporation ( GIC Re) has its presence in foreign reinsurance business through branch office in Dubai and London and representative office in Moscow. Apart from reinsurance business, GIC continues to participate in the share capital of Kenindia Assurance Company Ltd. (Kenya), India International Insurance Pvt.Ltd., Singapore and LIC (Mauritius) Offshore Ltd., a joint venture company promoted by LIC of India in Mauritius. The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. is the largest General insurance Company of India on the basis of gross premium collection inclusive of foreign operations. In respect of the number of offices abroad and the premium earned from foreign operations, the company is way ahead of other general insurance companies in India. Overseas operations commenced in 1920. Operations in 20 countries in the year 2011-12 Network of 9 Branches, 7 Agencies, 1 Associate companies and 3 Subsidiary companies in the year 2011-12. Overseas Premium of New India was Rs. 1531.37 crores in the year 2011-12. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, recently circulated draft guidelines to allow all categories of insurers that have completed 10 years of operations in India to set up insurance joint venture companies, subsidiaries or branches overseas. The foreign partners in the joint venture firms will not be allowed to set up branches in India. In what could be the first step towards the globalization of Indian insurers, the sector regulator is planning to allow domestic insurance companies and reinsurers to establish overseas joint venture firms and subsidiaries by buying stake in foreign insurers.
Guidelines for entrepreneurs: The policy for regulating overseas investments by Indian entrepreneurs and all other related aspects like finance and insurance is governed by the circulars and guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India from time to time. Guidelines and circulars are defined as the documents notified by the Reserve Bank for the purpose of clarifying and interpreting the various provisions of a law or regulation. For example, FEMA is an umbrella Act regulating all foreign exchange transactions including investments abroad. It is under this Act that the Reserve Bank of India is authorized to issue various circulars, guidelines, rules and notifications, etc. for managing the various aspects of capital outflows. One of the most important guidelines relating to doing business abroad is the " Guidelines for Indian direct investment in Joint Ventures and Wholly Owned Subsidiaries abroad." These circulars and guidelines are broadly aimed to ensure:4 A transparent policy framework in order to enable Indian businessmen to plan their business and to be able to react to potential collaborators outside the country. Such transparency is also required to enable the financial institutions and banks to assess their support through professional judgement in the context of financial sector reforms. 4 A formal recognition of the changing global reality which include:- close relationship between flow of investment and trade; success in the domestic economy as a precursor to success in the international arena; the importance of continuously updating the technology through cross investments; more dynamic relation between market seeking and resource seeking investments; tendency for skill and service intensity rather than material intensity in the international flows. 4 Capturing of Indian realities which include:strengthening globalisation of Indian economy by
"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."
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allowing the Indian entrepreneurship to go global; being a capital importing country, the need to avoid large capital outflows; visualising the global economic relationship well beyond physical exports and ensuring that Indian industry and business attain strategic positions in certain areas or regional blocs.
Risks of doing business abroad: Any time a business decides to expand internationally, it faces certain risks in dealing with the local culture, language, business practices and government regulations. Before expanding, any company should first consider and study all of these factors to determine if the decision to move abroad is the right one. Business transactions are not conducted in an identical manner in every, and in some places the way business is conducted may even seem strange. These culture differences may interfere with the way business associates work and communicate with each other. As an example, in India a potential associate may be nodding his head from side to side, which to an American may appear to be a negative gesture, but in India it is a gesture of understanding. Most often these conflicts are most noticeable among cultures that are unable to understand one another and have completely different traditions and thought processes. However, when personnel are trained to be aware of these differences, business relationships can be enhanced. A key element in making international operations successful is finding new approaches and creative solutions to cultural differences by combining both cultural perspectives. Language is another barrier that causes conflicts to businesses wanting to expand internationally. Given this reality, businesses should contract services of excellent translators so that language failures do no cause business transaction failures. Conflict and business problems can also occur when trying to get appropriate business licenses, permits or when buying business real estate. Laws are different in other countries, and being unfamiliar with them can cause a business to unintentionally break the law and have to pay high fines and penalties. Thorough research into business and accounting legalities in the country are required. Hiring a foreign accountant and reliable business attorney are often standard
practices in getting the business setup as it should be in the foreign country.
No licence required by foreign insurers: The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has, in a judgment of far-reaching consequences in the Insurance Sector, recently held that a foreign insurance company can sell its insurance, through an agent or otherwise, in India without requiring to be registered or obtaining a licence / permission from the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) so long as the insurance covers risks incurred outside India. The Division Bench reversed both the orders of the Single Judge and that of the IRDA order which had earlier held that such foreign insurance companies need to compulsorily be registered with the IRDA. The Government of Ukraine and Belarus, with the object of rendering medical aid to foreign citizens, made it obligatory for foreigners visiting the respective countries temporarily to have medical insurance. Ukrinmededstrakh, an Ukranian company, and Belgosstrakh, the Belarusian State Insurance Organisation, were granted exclusive licence by their respective countries for providing such obligatory medical insurance to foreigners temporarily staying in their respective countries. M/s Radiant Overseas Pvt Ltd (Radiant), an Indian company, entered into separate agreements with Ukrinmedstrakh and Belgosstrakh where under Radiant was authorized to sell the authorized medical insurance policy of
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
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the said countries to Indians intending to visit the two countries and collect insurance premiums from intending visitors. Radiant, after getting permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India, was issuing certificates for emergency medical aid to the intending visitors to Ukraine and Belarus and the premium so collected was remitted to the Government of Ukraine and Belarus respectively. Meanwhile, IRDA - the statutory regulatory authority in the Insurance sector in India passed an order dated 30 April 2010 restraining Radiant from selling insurance policies, collecting money towards insurance premium or carrying on any activity related to and connected with the business of insurance. It held Radiant ought to have obtained a permission or licence from IRDA, as mandated under proviso to Section 2C read with Section 3 of the Insurance Act, 1938 thereby authorizing such person to carry on insurance business or to function as an agent or a broker of an insurance company in India. Radiant challenged the said order of the IRDA before the Delhi High Court (Single Judge) on the ground that the certificate of medi-claim being issued by Radiant had no effect on the territory of India and was active only in the territory of Ukraine or Belarus; that the provisions of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 were not applicable to foreign insurance companies and that the activity undertaken by the appellant was not governed by the IRDA Act as it pertained to selling of foreign insurance for risks incurred outside India. The Single Judge of the Delhi High Court dismissed the writ petition holding that the collection of premium and the delivery of the certificate in India by the petitioner (i.e. Radiant) amounted to carrying on the business of insurance in India. It further held that the petitioner was carrying on insurance business in India on behalf of foreign insurance companies and that the petitioner could not claim that its business fell outside the purview of the Insurance Act and that it did not require licence from IRDA. Radiant appealed against the said order of dismissal of the Single Judge before the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court presided by the Acting Chief Justice. The key issues for consideration before the Division 17
Bench were: a. Whether insurance laws of India have extra-territorial application? b.
Whether laws and regulations governing Insurance business in India can govern the business of insurance outside India and if not, can it govern the business of buying in India of such foreign insurance?
Whether provisions of the Insurance Act and IRDA Act were applicable to foreign insurance companies and would mere selling of insurance (to cover risks incurred outside India) in India amount to doing 'insurance business in India'? d. Whether an Indian company acting in India, as an agent of the foreign insurance company to sell insurance for risks incurred outside India, is engaged in the business of insurance in India and is therefore required to carry a valid license / registration from IRDA?
The Division Bench, after detailed discussion on the law and legislative intent of the insurance legislations in India, held that there is no extra-territorial operation to insurance laws of India. It further observed that the business of foreign insurance companies of covering risks incurred outside India cannot be said to be insurance business in India (within the meaning of Insurance Act), even if the premium for such insurance is paid in / from India and insurance policy is issued India. The essence of the business / contract of insurance is the coverage of risk and if the policies issued by the foreign insurer do not cover the risk as long as the insurer remains in India, mere issuance thereof cannot be said to be carrying on insurance business in India. Accordingly, the Division Bench was of the view that there cannot be said to be an insurance business only in effecting a contract which is contingent and is to be operative and enforceable not in India but only outside India. The court observed that without the contract being operative and enforceable in India, mere ministerial act of issuance of the contract in India cannot be said to be amounting to carrying on insurance business in India. There are 27 life and 27 non-life insurers in India, many of these formed in partnerships with foreign insurers. Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd is one of the few private non-life insurers
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without a foreign partner. Similarly Sahara India is working without a Joint Venture partner. Till now, private insurers were barred from setting up overseas branches or acquiring stakes in foreign entities to set up joint venture businesses. Foreign insurers, however, can buy up to a 26% stake in an Indian insurance firm. The new regulations will allow Indian insurers to set up foreign insurance joint ventures by subscribing to the paid-up equity capital of such firms. Indian insurers will also be able to form foreign subsidiaries by holding at least 50% of the paid-up equity capital or gaining control of the boards of such firms, and expand their networks through full-fledged branch offices abroad. The draft guidelines require Indian insurers to have adequate financial net worth before approaching the regulator to set up foreign ventures. The minimum net worth has not been specified. Actual expansion will depend on jurisdictions of the countries where the Indian insurers want to set up joint venture firms. But there is a huge opportunity with the NRI (non-resident Indian) diaspora. The provision for Indian insurers to go global is mooted at a time when they are struggling to expand within India. US-headquartered New York Life recently exited the India insurance business after its 10-year-long association with Max India. Tata AIG Life Insurance became Tata AIA Life Insurance Company following the exit of American International Group (AIG) from the Hong Kong-based insurer AIA Group. Tata AIG was set up in 2001 as a joint-venture between the Indian conglomerate Tata Group and AIG. Reports have also surfaced that Dutch major ING Insurance International is set to make an exit from Indian insurance industry. The company holds 26 percent stake in ING Vysya Life Insurance Company. Many global insurance giants had exited the Indian operation mainly because of the structural problems in their respective domestic markets While life insurers are settling down with new models to adapt to new rules that came into effect from September 2010, non-life insurers are reeling under losses on account of huge claims in their motor and health insurance books. "Public sector companies have been doing it for a long time, and private companies can also set up shops now. IRDA is currently circulating preliminary draft guidelines on what would be required of Indian insurance companies in order 18
to allow them to open operations overseas. As the drafts circulate among domestic insurance companies, IRDA has asked for feedback from insurance companies before the end of 2012. Many of the preliminary guidelines appear to be aimed at ensuring that domestic Indian insurance companies seeking to commence overseas operations are on solid financial footing to do so, and that doing so would not pose risks to local business and policyholders. As it stands now, domestic Indian insurance companies are not permitted to expand overseas, either through branch offices or investment in foreign firms, while foreign companies can currently own stakes in domestic insurers of up to 26 percent. The draft allows for insurance companies of any category to apply to the regulator for permission to open foreign businesses after the insurers have been in operation domestically for 10 years. The proposed regulation would allow domestic insurers to start a foreign operation in a number of ways, either by opening branch offices, the formation of foreign subsidiaries by controlling the board or owning 50 percent of the paid-up equity capital, or by starting a foreign joint venture. While many insurance companies in India have joined with foreign insurers to make joint ventures, any company that a domestic Indian insurer engaged with overseas to create a joint venture outside of India would not be allowed to enter into the domestic Indian insurance market. Although there is a drive to make certain that Indian companies wishing to start operations abroad will have the financial wherewithal to do so without putting domestic business at risk, there are no concrete financial guidelines at the moment, whether with regards to the minimum net worth necessary to apply to the regulator for authorization or the capital requirements for establishing joint-venture's overseas. However, the guidelines do mandate any losses incurred or capital requirements that must be met by foreign branches must be paid for by shareholder funds only, so as not to interfere with the policyholders' funds in the domestic Indian business. This could open a doorway to many opportunities for Indian insurance companies to globalize their business. In many places such as countries in the Middle East, there is a sizable Indian Diaspora which some insurers may already be considering tapping in to, however the opening of an office would also allow them to underwrite local business as well as expatriate Indians.
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The case for continuous
know everything, are the three most frightening words you could overhear in the corridors of a management college. In a fast changing dynamic world can we really say we know everything? Can we really say we have reached a stage where there is n need for us to learn or unlearn? The answer is an emphatic NO. Today, organisations are looking for managers who have the capacity to be learning managers; who have the capacity to learn from their surroundings and continuously adapt themselves. Organisations are looking for students who are like Arjuna in the modern day corporate Mahabharata managers who possess key skills like initiative, active learning, focus and continuous learning. Let me use a story from the Mahabharata to provide an insight as to how continuous learning and active learning were highlighted even in some of our ancient texts. When Guru Dronacharya was appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the Kuru army, he immediately announced the formation of 'Chakravyu'. While discussing the same with Duryodhana, he asked that Arjuna's attention be diverted to another front so that he could capture Yudhistra, thus bringing the war to an end as Arjuna was the only person, apart from Ashwathama, able to enter and exit the 'chakravuyu'. On hearing this, Dushassana flew into a rage and accused Dronacharya of being partial and teaching Arjuna more than all the other pupils. The answer Guru Dronacharya gave Dusshasana is also my case for continued learning from managers and students alike. Dronacharya told Dushassana that the reason Arjuna was more capable than all the Pandavas and Kauravas alike was not because he (Dronacharya) ought him more, but because he (Arjuna) was an active learner and while everyone took his teaching as the end. Arjuna took his teaching as the beginning and continued his quest for learning and hence was the only student of his who could challenge him on the battlefield. 19
In order to be a good manager, one should be able to learn continuously, otherwise one may face the prospect of stagnation; one would be like a ship that has come into the harbour and the only thing that can now happen is stagnation leading to decay. Continuous learning allows one to be creative in problem-solving while active learning, a keen desire to learn something new every day, will differentiate managers and students from others. One can do active and continuous learning if one takes the initiative and remains focused on goals like Arjuna, who was the only student who took the initiative to go to Dronachasrya and ask him to teach him the skills required to enter and exit the 'chakravyu' and remained focused throughout on his objective of being the greatest archer in the world. Increasingly, students are being churned out by MBA institutes without any up gradation of the skills they already possess. Students need to do a skills audit to find out what skills they had while entering the coursed and what skills they possess at the time of exiting the course. And when they enter the corporate arena, they must make sure they continue their quest for learning and become like Arjuna who took Guru Doronachaya's teachings as a beginning and not the end. Otherwise the chance of being just a face in the crowd is very high. Remember MBA is Masters in Business Administration not Mein Bhi Aaya. Thus, it is essential for students to choose only those management schools which focus on inculcating the above mentioned skills in students and prepare them for their role as corporate warriors. Business schools that use the case studies approach to impart management education should be preferred over those that follow the traditional method of imparting management education, which only encourages learning by rote. The case studies approach inculcates logical and analytical skills in managers of the future and improves the problem-solving skills of students and allows them to logically approach practical problems faced by organisations.
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HEALTH COVER needs a check up ealth insurance is perhaps the only service where an increase in sales has resulted in greater underwriting losses for insurance companies. It also has the unique distinction of being a segment where all constituents insurers, third-party administrators, healthcare providers and insured - are unhappy with the present set up. Yet, there is a huge demand for this product, making it the fastest-growing business for general insurers and a great 'door-opener' for retail sales.
Clearly there is a need to fix the health insurance industry in India. Unfortunately unlike other financial sectors, where there are successful models in developed markets to be picked up and tweaked for the Indian markets, no such successful experiences are available. The US managed healthcare is in a mess and in the UK, citizens have to wait for years to receive treatment under the National Health Scheme. The shortcomings of various health insurance programmes have made them the subject matter of election campaigns in developed nations across the globe. In India, the health insurance penetration remains abysmally low. But even among the few who do have health insurance, the product offers no certainties. There is no certainty that the policy would be affordable when renewed, nor is it certain that every possible financial shock from healthcare expenses will be taken care of. The tough decision for the authorities is to define the objectives of the country's healthcare policy. For a country with a socialist legacy, the primary issue is whether healthcare benefits should be provided through the insurance route or whether it should be through subsidized healthcare. Some members of a panel looking at affordable healthcare for senior citizens feel that subsidies should be provided in healthcare rather than in health insurance. The government appears to be veering towards a health insurance system, with the finance minister announcing a universal health insurance scheme where the poor can buy 20
subsidised cover of up to Rs.30,000 for a premium of a rupee a day. If universal health insurance is the objective, policymakers have to narrow down their choices further. A universal health insurance regime makes the possession of cover an almost mandatory requirement. If there is a mandatory element, then there also has to be a ceiling on the cost. But at the same time, insurers should have the freedom to charge higher rates for those who lead unhealthy lifestyles. If indeed the objective is to go the health insurance way, the authorities have to bear in mind the inflationary impact of health insurance. Studies have shown that deepening of health insurance draws more investments into high-end medical treatment and this in turn pushes up-healthcare costs. Early advances in medicines resulted in low cost vaccines and antibiotics that actually lowered cost of treatment. Present day advances is keeping ailing people alive longer at a much higher cost. One school of thought is that health insurance could focus only on providing cover for serious illnesses with the individual being asked to bear costs for minor treatments. But nowhere does the adage 'a stitch in time' hold more good than in health. For instance, there has been a case in the US where government-sponsored healthcare was not available to treat a dental infection case. As the infection remained untreated, it progressed into a serious health issue which was entitled for state treatment. This resulted in the state spending the thousands of dollars in treatment to avoid spending a few hundreds in prevention. Finally, if the objective is managed healthcare through health insurance, policymakers have to decide the extent of choice to be made available to the individual. This is a tough call given the variation in charges. Until some time ago, a south Mumbai hospital's charges for a bypass surgery ranged from Rs.85,000 to Rs.2,50,000 for the same case depending on the class of hospital bed chosen. Fixing health insurance would not be easy. A good start would be for the policymakers to spell out the objectives.
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DISASTER MANAGEMENT - Their benefits
In July 2005, Naomi Klein found herself on a beach in Sri Lanka. The waters were turquoise blue. The beach was empty except for a cluster of hand-painted wooden catamarans. It was picture postcard perfect. But it was a paradise created by the deadly collusion of nature and government, says the 37-year-old Canadian journalist in her latest book Shock Doctrine - The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Barely seven months ago, the Boxing Day tsunami had devastated Sri Lanka. But once the rubble was cleared away, what was left, says Klein, was what the tourism industry had been coveting all along oceanfront property, perfect for plush resorts. "It was a land grab," says Klein, who speaks in urgent, perfectly formed sentences. The fisher folk found themselves pushed into inland camps in the name of safety and security. But resorts were exempted from the buffer zone restrictions as long as they classified their construction as "repair". Meanwhile the government pushed through a controversial water privatization programme. "The US government was pushing that the tsunami was an opportunity for Sri Lanka to really launch its high-end tourism market," says Klein. "The World Bank was very aggressive in pushing the government to adopt these policies in exchange for giving aid." The NGOs, says Klein, now feel they were accomplices to that "land theft", providing aid that in effect kept the tsunami victims in camps which were little more than "holding pens". Sri Lanka's response to the tsunami is a text book example of University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman's theories at work. In 1973, when Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup in Chile by Augusto Pinochet, the Chicago Boys went to work remaking the country. Friedman used the phrase "economic shock treatment" to describe his prescription for Chile. Klein ticks them off. "Deep social cuts to health care and education, 30 percent reductions - eventually 50 percent - reductions in spending. Total free trade, privatization of massive parts of the economy - Chile was the very first laboratory." And was pushed through, says Klein, thanks to "Pinochet's iron fist".
Since then as Klein documents exhaustively in her globe trotting book, shock treatment has become part of an extreme country makeover. Here is how it works. First there is a disaster, a coup, a terror attack, a tsunami: the population goes into shock, the economy is in a shambles, a perfect opportunity to push through unpopular economic measures. "In the midst of a crisis people regress, they become fearful," says Klein, whose earlier book No Logo, a punchy attack on brand culture, was called "a movement bible" by the New York Times. "This is not a moment when there can be profound debates about privatizing the electricity system." The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing is often seen as a crackdown on democratic reform. But what Deng Xiaoping was really halting was political reform, not economic reform. In 1980 Milton Friedman had actually gone to advised China on free market theory. After 1989 Deng Xiao Ping implemented his recommendations like price deregulation, cracked the country open to foreign investment and helped turn China "into the sweatshop of the world". Russia followed suit after the shock of collapse of the Soviet Union with the rapid-fire privatization of the country's approximately 225,000 state-owned companies. When Boris Yeltsin's tanks encircled parliament, Klein says it was like watching Chile in reverse. While Pinochet first staged a coup and then dissolved democracy in order to impose shock therapy, Yeltsin imposed shock therapy in a democracy and then defended it by staging a coup. The latest candidate for shock therapy is Iraq. None other than Yeltsin's former deputy prime minister Yegor Gaidar, the architect of the Russian shock therapy, was flown into Baghdad in 2003 to advise the Iraqis on capitalist transformation. Corporate taxes were lowered to 15 percent and 200 firms were privatized immediately. Foreign companies were allowed to own 100 percent of Iraqi assets. Even the US is not immune. After Katrina, the Heritage Foundation proposed making the region an economic competitive zone and repealing environmental regulations. "Within weeks, the Gulf Coast became a domestic laboratory for the same kind of government run by contractors that had been pioneered in Iraq," writes Klein. The good news, says Klein, is that many countries are wising up. In Latin America countries are going to one another for economic assistance, not to Washington and the IMF. Klein believes resistance is a must because without it she'd already had a glimpse of what would happen if we let shock doctrine play out to its logical end. During the 2007 wildfires in California some homes burned to the ground while ones next door were saved by private fire trucks. The difference? The ones who got the firefighters had paid a $20,000 insurance premium for boutique-level protection. And that says Klein is a world of "disaster apartheid" in which few people ultimately want to live.
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LIFE COULD GET EASIER FOR POLICYHOLDERS
apital markets, mutual funds, pensions as well as the insurance sector are witnessing 'reforms' on the micro as well as macro front. A lot has been said and written about the changes, such as the increase in the Foreign Direct investment (FDI), but at the end of the day, it all boils down to you and the asking questions such as, "What's in it for me?". "Would all the sweeping changes leave me better off or worse off?"
This apprehension is more so in the insurance sector. Unlike other areas, such as mutual funds, insurance contracts are very long-term in nature. Hence, there is a likelihood of policy-holders being more significantly affected by any impending changes. So far, it appeared that despite the sector's unarguable importance, the urgency to bring about sweeping change was lacking, although some tinkering around with policy features etc. was being undertaken off and on. However, it appears that the 'powers-that-be' are now been to make up for lost time.
Few amendments to the Insurance Bill which may be of long-term importance to you and the sector : 4 Reduction in the capital requirement from Rs.100 crore to Rs.50 crore for health insurance companies : Health is a key sector and we require increased penetration of health insurance. This relaxation is expected to increase the number of focused new entrants. Anyway, lumping health insurance under the general insurance umbrella was an anachronism, which is now being remedied. When three such focused players (Max, Star and Apollo) entered this arena a few years ago, customers were treated to a panoply of innovation, both on the product and service front. The entry of many more players will only enhance choices for customers and induce many more to be insured. 4 Extension of health insurance to cover domestic as well as international travel is also a positive proposal. However, only time will tell whether the health insurance policy can supplant a travel insurance cover or not. Stand-alone health insurers may be at a slight disadvantage, as they may not be able to bundle together the other benefits of a travel cover (such as lost luggage cover) that 'general insurance' companies can offer. Also, while a travel cover is more akin to a 'disposable' insurance policy, extending this benefit to a regular health policy may lead to the policyholder paying a higher annual premium for something she/he may rarely avail of. 4 In case the current regime of obligatory third-party motor insurance is done away with or significantly modified, it has the potential to be a true game-changer for companies and consumers. While opting for this insurance is what, the 'unlimited liability' clause been a
Life is like a trumpet - if you don't put anything into it, you don't get anything out of it.
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bone of contention for insurance companies as they believe that it encourages an 'old-digger' mentality. Any cap on this will be welcomed by companies. 4 The proposed limitation clause of three years beyond which a policy cannot be repudiated 'on any ground' appears to be a heartening feature for policy-holders. This means the insurance company cannot reject a claim after there years stating that the policyholders had hidden facts. This assumes importance especially in case of health insurance policies. For instance, it is possible that the policyholder has developed a particular illness after he/she has taken the policy, or was genuinely unaware of the illness while taking the policy. Even today, a variant of such a clause is present. However, it excludes 'deliberate misstatement of facts'. The current clause is good enough and any further relaxation could open up new ground for moral hazard. This may result in an all-round increase in premia in the longer term of companies fall victim to many cases of willful fraud. 4 It is good to see a thrust on improving the quality of insurance surveyors. Many a time, both, policyholders and companies are baffled by the surveyors' valuations. The current statutory prescriptions have not helped much. Maybe enlightened regulations will do the truck. 4 There are the usual noises on curbing mis-selling, levy of fines etc. If properly defined and implemented, they are certain to benefit policyholders. Apart from those mentioned above, certain other new developments could also serve as catalysts : l There is a lot of stress laid by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on product simplicity and mulling the introduction of the "Use and File" 23
system. This will result in companies being able to launch products without prior approval, as long as they conform to certain re-specified conditions. l
It will be interesting to monitor how the Irda will 'reduce the arbitrage between units and traditional products'. Each of these become popular at different points in time depending on market conditions.
The acceptance of a common 'Know Your Client' (KYC) Number is going to benefit all the players in the financial sector, not least, the insurance companies.
Allowing banking correspondents to sell micro-insurance products and the concept of insurance companies appointing 'Mentoring Agents' is a good idea if implemented effectively.
Liberalisation of debit investment options for insurance companies.
Reduction in service tax for premia payments.
Clarity by the Central Board of Direct taxes on the issue of grandfathering the insurance policies that are currently outstanding. However, it is moot, whether these points will actually encourage consumers to adopt insurance products or merely benefit the few who are already availing of them. Hopefully, these changes will not remain as mere icing on a cake, which is consumed by too few. (BS)
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Life Insurance Today
SUICIDE CLAUSE IN LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES nsurance companies side step all avoidable risks through restrictive and exclusion clauses in a policy. The suicide clause is a good example of a restrictive clause.
absolute assignment by saying money to the policyholder. Suppose a company has given a housing loan of Rs.15 lakh to the applicant on his new life insurance policies (worth Rs.20 lakh) that have been assigned to it as collateral security.
Generally, a suicide clause states that if death of the life assured takes place as a result of committing suicide within one year of the commencement of risk, the policy shall be void. Given below is the suicide clause as it appears in the policy of a private sector life insurance company. 'If the life assured commits suicide within one year from the date of commencement of risk or date of revived if revived, whether sane or insane at that time, the policy will be void and no claim will be payable'.
Or, a bank has given an education loan of Rs.10 lakh to a student, accepting his assigned new life insurance policies (worth Rs.15 lakh) as security. If the loanee commits suicide, the policy will not be totally void. The insurer will protect the interests of the assignee, viz. the housing company or the bank by repaying the loan. The condition for this is that notice of assignment should have reached the insurer at least one month before the date of death.
Group Insurance What is important to note here is the operation of the exclusion clause from date of revival too. Beyond the period specified in the suicide clause, the claim is payable on death by suicide. The suicide clause on an LIC policy is as follows - 'This policy shall be void if the life assured commits suicide (whether sane or insane at the time) at anytime on or after the date on which the risk under the policy has commenced but before the expiry of one year from the date of commencement of risk. The Corporation will not entertain any claim by virtue of this policy except to the extent of a third party's bonafide beneficial interest acquired in the policy for valuable consideration of which notice has been given in writing to the branch where the policy is being presently serviced (where the policy records are kept), at least one calendar month prior to death.'
Third Party Interest The above clause protects the bonafide interests of a third party which has acquired interest in the policy through an 24
In group insurance business the life covered/assured is not the policyholder. Policyholder is a company/legal entity known as 'Master policyholder'. Examples of group insurance schemes' are (i) One Year Renewable Group Term Assurance (ii) Group gratuity assurance (iii) Group Superannuation (iv) Group savings linked insurance. In these schemes the decision to introduce them for the benefit of lives covered under the schemes is taken by the master policyholder. It is unaffected by the impulsive decision of a life covered to kill himself. As such the suicide clause is not applied in group insurance death benefit is paid to nominees/legal heirs in all cases of death. The interest of a conditional assignee is not protected under the suicide clause of any insurer, the reason being that he acquires an interest consequent on death of the life assured. If the absolute assignee (other than life assured) commits suicide in the first year of the policy it does not affect the validity of the policy, instead his rights and liabilities in the policy are transferred to his legal heir. And the policy continues to cover risk on the life of the assured. (BL)
Life Insurance Today
INDUSTRY AWAITS CLARITY ON REFORMS
pening the pension sector to foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to lead to the entry of many foreign companies. However, several issues are yet to be clarified. Hira Sadhak, former chief executive of LIC Pension Fund, said allowing the scheme with guaranteed returns was a welcome step. However, he added FDI in the pension sector would come in only when a regulatory mechanism was in place. "Risk management and backing of the regulatory system should be in place before foreign players come into the market," he said. According to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill approved by the Cabinet, the foreign investment cap in the pension sector would be 26 per cent of the percentage approved for the insurance sector (whichever is higher), and maybe incorporated in the present legislation. However, there is uncertainty on whether FDI in pension would be capped at 26 percent or 49 percent. PFRDA Chairman Yogesh Agarwal had said he would be happy with 26 per cent. T. R. Ramchandran managing director and chief executive of Aviva Life Insurance, said. "To begin with, it is not clear if FDI pension is approved up to 26 percent, or it is linked to insurance. But this move would definitely give more teeth to the PFRDA. Now, there are no foreign players in the pension space. However, this move alone cannot lead to foreign players' interest in pension. They would come depending on the nature of participation the sector allows, as pension products are available under both the Insurance
Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA),as well as the PFRDA." P. Nandagopal, managing director and chief executive of India First Life Insurance, said the business case for foreign players to enter the Indian market was weak, as changes for pension here were very low. However, he added India was a good market for foreign players to enter, as it was still under penetrated. A senior Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance official said foreign players entered any sector only after all papers and norms were clear. "Till it is approved in the Lok Sabha, we can't say much. But I believe this space has a lot of potential and, hence, more players should come in. But will that mean insurers can get a licence from PFRDA and enter the space? Maybe." He said. The PFRDA Bill, 2005, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2005 to provide for a statutory PFRDA. However, since the Bill and the official amendments based on the recommendations of the standing committee on finance could not be considered by the Lok Sabha, the Bill lapsed on dissolution of the 14th Lok Sabha. In Budget 2011-12, the government had stated the revised PFRDA Bill would be moved in Parliament. Accordingly, PFRDA Bill, 2011, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2011. The legislation sought to empower the PFRDA to regulate the New Pension Scheme. Insurance players design pension products according to IRDA norms. For a company to launch PFRDA approval pension products, it would need a licence from PFRDA. This means the company would have to enter the PFRDA-approved product space as a separate entity, not as an insurance company. (BS)
Life is much shorter than I imagined it to be.
Life Insurance Today
Tax breaks for insurance likely (Wider Umbrella -More concessions for pension schemes, removal of tax on firstyear premiums mulled) "The government is finalizing
a slew of tax concessions for life insurance policy holders including the possibility of additional tax breaks for pension schemes and removal of service tax on first year premium payments. The revenue department will examine whether, in addition to the National Pension Scheme (NPS), some pension products that insurance companies offer can be included in a separate limit over and above the Rs.100,000 limit allowed under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, finance minister P. Chidambaram said recently. Also, insurance firms will be allowed to invest in infrastructure projects that will enable companies to dig into household savings to raise resources for building expressways, ports and railways. The finance minister said he has asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to give their report on the changes in the tax structure for life insurance companies by October 10. Chidambaram had recently discussed these measures in a meeting with chief executives of life insurance companies on September 4. "A number of steps would be necessary and desirable to give a fillip to the life insurance industry and expand the spread and penetration of life insurance were agreed upon during the discussions," said the finance minister. The government is also examining whether social security insurance schemes such as Janashri BimaYojana (HBY) and Aam Aadmi BimaYojana (AABY), can be exempted from service tax, Chidambaram added. The Central Board of Direct Taxes will examine whether income tax breaks can be given to contributions made to post-retirement medical scheme offered by insurance companies. Besides, insurance companies will also not carryout 26
additional "know your customer (KYC)" checks for persons who have bank accounts. Banks will also be given the status of "brokers' mandated to sell products of more than one insurance company offering the customer a bouquet of policies as opposed to the current "one-bank-one-insurance company" policy. A Blueprint to connect users, banks and industry. Finance minister P. Chidambaram recently announced a host of steps to improve insurance penetration. Here's what lies ahead.
Tax Breaks "Breaks for some insurance pension products approved by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA),in addition to the National Pension Scheme (NPS),over and above the limit of Rs.1,00,000 under section 80C of the I-T Act. "Exemption on first year premium and subsequent premiums on policies of some social security insurance schemes. 4 Treatment of annuity policies on par with subscriptions to NPS 4 Exemption likely on contributions made to post retirement medical schemes offered by insurance companies under Section 36(1)(iv) of the I-T act 4 At present, TDS applies on every payment of commission above Rs.20,000. The CBDT will examine whether the exemption can be shifted from every payment of commission to a cumulative commission payment exceeding, say,R.50,000 or any other threshold in a year.
User-Friendly 4 The Insurance regulator to allow "use-and-file" system for insurance products against the current file-and-use method to increase penetration of products. 4 While file-and-use allows the insurer to introduce new products after filing with the regulator, use-and-file allows the insurer to introduce products, desired to have been approved after 15 days of its intimation to the IRDA. 4 The IRDA to design standard "use and file" products, as well as notify guidelines to reduce the arbitrage between "units" and "traditional products".
Bank-Friendly 4 No extra know-your-customer (KYC) checks for persons with bank accounts. 4 "Broker" status for banks to enable them sell products of more than one insurance company against the current "one-bank-one-company" policy. (HT)
Life Insurance Today
INSURANCE with just a click There was a time when,
for many, going online meant using the internet for only research purposes. Gradually, more people logged on to the Web and soon there was the concept of buying allsorts of products online. However, it did not stop at that. Instead, it progressively evolved into the service industry from various domains like travel and banking offering an online version of their services. Insurance too, quickly caught up to this trend. These days, insurers are offering an array of plans to their customers. These plans are not only cost-effective, but the simple to understand and buying one is much more hasslefree. Take a look at how online products are gaining popularity in the domain of life insurance.
Offerings The life insurance industry has come a long way, as today, exclusive plans are also offered online. Right from ULIPs to endowment plans, investment plans, or even retirement plans, they are all available online. Today, all leading life insurers offer online term plans along with a host of other life insurance plans through the web channel.
Purchasing online While some people maybe skeptical about buying a financial product online, purchasing life insurance online does in fact come with various benefits. Some of them are: Less Time Consuming : Since buying an insurance plan online comes with the option of going through certain formalities with the click of a button, it allows you to go through the procedure a lot quicker, as information is available at the click of a button, or even through call assistance. Products are Simple : Online life insurance plans are usually
comprehensive and simpler to understand. For further ease of use, the product/plan is explained with additional tools like audio-visual aids, FAQs, etc. Ease of Purchase : Another advantage that online insurance comes with is the case of purchase. This usually means that there is less paper work in this form of purchase, as compared to when doing the same in person. Also, one has the option of paying through various modes of payment such as net-banking, credit-cards, debit-cards, etc. In addition to ease of purchase, some life insurers may also offer lower premiums or charges.
Points to Remember All said and done, there are certain factors that must be kept in mind by everyone when opting to buy an insurance plan on line. Some of these things to remember are : Understand the Product/Plan : This is the first, most important thing to keep in mind at the time of buying any insurance plan. If you do feel doubtful about features, cover offered, the premium to be paid by you, etc., make sure that you first clarify the same by approaching them through the life insurer's call centre. You should go ahead with the purchase only once you are sure that the plan offers you exactly what you are looking for. Make sure the source of purchase is authentic : Since you are opting for a virtual medium of purchase, it is also extremely essential that you ensure that the website from which you are purchasing the plan is a reliable site. This is why it is recommended that all such online purchases be done from the official website of the insurer. Make a Safe Payment : Once you have clarified all doubts, you should also make sure that the site from which you are purchasing the product offers the requisite online security for financial transactions. Ensure that the connection offered is a secure connection, i.e. an https connection rather than an http connection. Beware of 'Special Offers' on Life Insurance : You should cross-verify from your insurer in cases where you may have received emails regarding schemes stating special offers with the life insurance plan, in the name of certain insurers. This step ensures safety from falling prey to commonly occurring phishing scams. (Ind.Exp.)
I thought I would share some of my all time favorite marketing quotes with you all, feel free to add some of your own favorite quotes to this thread!
Life Insurance Today
LifeBond Advantage from Aviva Life Insurance
Overview Aviva LifeBond Advantage is a Single Premium unit linked insurance plan that offers you an opportunity to invest a lump sum for medium to long term together with Life Cover and flexibility to access your money after 5 years, besides the regular tax benefits through: 4 9 unit linked funds as well as two options for life cover 4 Extra financial protection through the inbuilt Accidental Death Benefit 4 Systematic partial withdrawal for hassle free structured withdrawal 4 Opportunity for additional investment with a nominal life cover (top-up)
Specifications 4 Entry age: 02-65 years 4 Policy term: 10-73 years (minimum age at maturity 18 years; maximum age at maturity 75 years) 4 Premium Paying Term: Single Premium 4 Base Premium: Minimum Premium: Rs. 50,000 Maximum Premium: No Limit 4 Top-up Premium: Minimum - Rs. 5,000; Maximum - No limit 4 Inbuilt Accidental Death Benefit
Benefits Death Benefit: 4 In the unfortunate event of your death, Life Cover or the value of units pertaining to single premium, whichever is higher, is payable along with accumulate Loyalty additions (if any ) 4 Life Cover or the Fund Value pertaining to top-up premium, whichever is higher, shall also be payable Loyalty Additions: 4 You are eligible for Loyalty additions if you stay invested for more than 10 years 4 The addition will be 4% of Fund Value pertaining to Single Premium at the end of 10th policy year and 2% on every subsequent 10th policy year till the end of the Policy Term 28
Maturity Benefit: 4 On maturity, you can either take out the fund value and terminate the policy or opt for Settlement option 4 Settlement option â€“ This allows you to keep the money invested in the fund even after maturity and enables you to receive the same systematically over a period of 1 to 5 years. You can opt for this option at maturity Other Benefits: 4 You can opt for Systematic Partial Withdrawal for regular cash flow so that a fixed amount of money is credited to your bank account from your policy fund at a desired interval 4 Partial Withdrawals without having to surrender your policy allowed upto 4 times in a policy year 4 Policy allows you to make a lump sum investment through top up premium facility. The Minimum top up allowed is Rs. 5,000; no limit on maximum. Each top-up will carry a Life Cover (Sum Assured) of 1.25 times the top-up premium Tax Benefit: 4 The Policy offers tax benefits as per the prevailing laws of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Tax laws are subject to change This illustration is for a male aged 35 years, who selects option B and invests 100% into Enhancer Fund-II.
Life Insurance Today
Rising Star Plan from AEGON Religare LIfe Insurance
Your dream has always been to see your children outshine your dreams. To be able to meet their needs and aspirations is what you always strive towards. Life, if systematically managed, can keep changing for the better leading to a more secure future for your children. AEGON Religare Rising Star Plan aims to help you in doing just that. It not only makes provisions for your children’s future but also ensures that their future remains secured. With the help of our Life Advisor, fill out the Life Planner that will help you take the steps to having your own plan.
How does the plan work? Step 1: Decide on the amount of premium you wish to pay every year Step 2: Choose the amount of insurance cover you want (Sum Assured) Step 3: Decide on the policy term and premium pay term of your policy Step 4: Invest your premium in choicest of 4 Funds OR a unique 'Invest Protect' option.
Features & Benefits Death- In case of your unfortunate demise during the term of the policy, the nominee will receive the following as death benefit: 4 Higher of Sum Assured or 105% of all premiums paid immediately; 4 All future premiums will be waived and paid into the Policy Fund Value; 4 An amount equal to the annualised premium will be paid every year to the nominee 4 On maturity, Policy Fund Value will be paid. Maturity - On maturity, you receive the fund value existing on
the maturity date. If you do not wish to take the entire maturity amount at one go, you can avail of the Settlement Option. Tax Benefits - The premiums paid and the benefits received under the policy will be eligible for tax benefits as applicable from time to time. Please consult your tax advisor for details. Partial Withdrawal – You can partially withdraw money after first 5 policy years. The maximum amount of partial withdrawal allowed in any policy year is 20% of the fund value at the beginning of that policy year. You can also avail of AEGON Religare Rising Star Plan’s Systematic Partial Withdrawal facility by which we redeem units periodically from your unit account and credit the money to your bank account. You can opt for systematic partial withdrawal frequency; say monthly or quarterly for the duration you choose. Switch - This feature helps you shift your investment from one fund to another. Four switches are free in a policy year. Top-Up Premium - A Top-Up premium is an additional amount of premium over and above the contractual basic premiums with a minimum amount of Rs. 5,000. You can top-up your premium anytime after the 1st policy year and apart from the last 5 policy years. Discontinuance - You can discontinuance the policy any time. Discontinuance value is paid after first 5 years. Discontinuance value is fund value minus the discontinuance charges of the year in which the premiums were discontinued. The charge will depend upon the period for which you have paid your premiums, as given below. There is no charge on topup or if the policy is discontinued after 4 policy years. This charge remains fixed throughout the policy term.
I try and read these as I start each day, goes well with my morning Oatmeal!
Life Insurance Today
No . of lives covered under Group Scheme Sep’12
27.93 109.34 68.01 46.82
123.46 414.81 268.32 328.18
183.87 468.91 102.37 182.07
2582 62222 27 18
15419 296458 113 140
20499 422558 41 446
37.47 45.97 0.04 0.00
97.25 199.08 0.46 0.00
11.21 253.99 1.15 0.00
76 17681 0 0
1168 82000 0 0
1210 108935 0 0
8.84 89.21 0.90 18.16
41.12 405.91 21.62 101.40
119.03 442.47 21.25 91.47
837 63003 11 19
8808 334578 106 115
16319 439585 103 98
13.13 169.53 113.36 17.66
106.12 700.39 963.44 114.81
643.08 689.64 1055.87 64.63
901 70673 12 11
7751 313827 45 51
50939 303411 75 77
2.01 24.73 8.58 18.31
15.85 140.59 48.43 56.98
71.03 295.64 28.32 75.34
179 11644 0 8
1314 66511 1 85
5739 138522 5 56
9.29 246.68 59.92 0.00
52.03 1134.06 380.45 -0.01
111.88 1023.58 184.70 142.07
24952 61634 35 0
50519 293562 217 0
16018 244826 163 6
7.82 234.45 40.17 20.00
51.90 1218.74 257.56 501.62
148.53 1014.15 279.50 473.41
372 54537 11 4
2782 421332 94 11
9649 565554 89 17
1.15 82.23 0.44 40.63
6.59 420.79 2.89 250.82
46.35 518.71 2.24 234.75
90 37022 0 38
464 244219 1 226
1001 362531 1 143
0.58 32.79 0.09 5.40
4.53 157.50 0.34 130.11
20.93 179.76 0.48 99.55
96 9695 0 6
566 63984 0 48
4250 61866 0 52
9.56 36.48 14.40 14.34
38.38 154.59 75.84 93.81
117.86 154.84 56.24 85.51
537 11996 7 51
2151 61129 17 375
7328 67019 23 337
22.81 143.02 11.79 4.73
104.53 622.74 63.32 19.64
109.45 658.90 43.65 28.58
15 46153 0 68
117 221399 15 630
446 265015 14 525
14.84 32.58 0.16 5.86
122.13 229.44 1.69 20.57
76.35 154.59 4.62 35.14
1736 11850 0 21
19442 84452 0 125
5891 66780 2 294
1.56 3.99 0.00 0.00
7.08 16.11 0.00 0.01
8.99 16.34 0.00 0.00
388 5763 0 1
1548 24286 0 3
1997 21171 0 0
9.96 16.02 10.60 1.02
58.71 73.87 48.39 5.94
93.69 48.11 39.66 3.97
1208 11851 0 5
7253 49925 0 42
11586 42548 0 11
Life Insurance Today
No.of Policies/Schemes UptoSep’11
Bajaj Allianz Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium ING Vysya Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Reliance Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium SBI Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Tata AIA Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium HDFC Standard Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium ICICI Prudential Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Birla Sunlife Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Aviva Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Max LIFE Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Met Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Sahara Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Shriram Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium
STATISTICS - LIFE INSURANCE
FIRST YEAR PREMIUM - SEPTEMBER, 2012
No . of lives covered under Group Scheme Sep’12
0.14 15.14 2.87 0.00
0.16 78.11 13.35 0.00
0.71 79.87 13.33 0.00
2 7827 2 0
2 42705 2 0
127 48779 1 0
0.68 9.16 0.02 3.04
5.01 45.68 0.10 39.03
13.54 109.06 0.20 10.01
121 6766 0 3
765 35810 0 25
1962 64322 1 60
6.08 24.37 0.00 3.29
19.53 89.85 0.00 10.91
53.43 72.89 0.00 7.81
568 10856 0 0
2811 41517 0 3
3361 28655 0 15
0.00 21.22 1.31 3.19
0.02 195.73 3.21 94.06
0.04 229.41 2.31 77.16
0 3601 0 7
1 32994 0 23
1 31887 1 6
0.26 11.11 0.01 0.00
1.99 57.12 0.07 6.03
10.78 75.88 0.32 0.00
18 5667 0 0
130 27595 0 0
601 28456 0 0
0.13 10.94 0.00 0.00
0.87 58.43 0.00 0.00
6.22 34.60 0.00 0.00
7 7645 0 0
118 40552 0 0
704 24762 0 0
15.83 30.69 4.54 0.17
81.95 107.21 23.92 4.15
127.37 92.59 29.36 6.39
1075 18661 0 0
5803 63445 2 17
8692 47102 0 15
4.24 16.26 13.80 0.64
22.91 72.48 97.05 7.60
128.05 47.00 12.35 64.76
286 7805 4 3
2004 42208 22 30
10256 22940 1 27
0.05 1.91 0.03 0.38
0.08 8.44 0.29 1.02
0.09 0.62 0.08 0.00
5 1101 0 8
6 5350 2 35
2 361 1 0
194.36 1407.83 351.04 203.64
962.22 6601.66 2270.74 1786.67
2102.47 6661.54 1877.99 1682.61
36051 545653 109 271
130942 2889838 637 1984
178578 3407585 521 2185
1554.90 1873.95 1897.33 122.15
5993.77 13331.76 15250.91 765.09
5594.18 9823.81 14980.80 6322.60
163212 2424849 17 2286
798448 12358999 60 10620
908382 12270977 9013 2653
1749.26 3281.78 2248.36 325.79
6955.98 19933.42 17521.65 2551.76
7696.65 16485.35 16858.79 8005.22
199263 2970502 126 2557
929390 15248837 697 12604
1086960 15678562 9534 4838
Note: 1.Cumulative premium / No.of policies upto the month is net of cancellations which may occur during the free look period. 2. Compiled on the basis of data submitted by the Insurance companies
Life Insurance Today
No.of Policies/Schemes UptoSep’11
Bharti Axa Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Future Generali Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium IDBI Federal Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Canara HSBC OBC Life Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Aegon Religare Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium DLF Pramerica Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Star Union Dai-ichi Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium IndiaFirst Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Edelweiss Tokio Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Private Total Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium LIC Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium Grand Total Individual Single Premium Individual Non-Single Premium Group Single Premium Group Non-Single Premium
STATISTICS - LIFE INSURANCE
FIRST YEAR PREMIUM - SEPTEMBER, 2012
Important Insurance Contacts Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority 3rd Floor, Parisrama Bhavan, Basheer Bagh, HYDERABAD-500 004 Andhra Pradesh (INDIA ) Ph: (040) 23381100 Fax: (040) 6682 3334 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org OMBUDSMAN OFFICES IN INDIA AHMEDABAD 2nd Flr., Shree Jayshree Ambica Chambers, Near C.U.Shah College , 5, Nayvug Colony, Ashram Road, AHMEDABAD - 380 014 (O) 7546150 Fax:079-7546142 E-mail: email@example.com
BHOPAL 1st Floor, 117, Zone-II, (Above D.M. Motors Pvt. Ltd.) Maharana Pratap Nagar, BHOPAL - 462 011 (O) 2578100, 2578102, 2578103 Fax:0755-2578103 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
CHENNAI ## Fatima Akhtar Court, 4th Flr., 453(old 312 ) Anna Salai, Teynampet, CHENNAI -600 018 (O) 24333678, 24333668, 24335284 Fax: 044-24333664 E-mail ad: email@example.com
BHUBANESWAR 62, Forest Park, BHUBANESWAR - 751 009 (O) 2535220 Fax:0674-2531607 Email :firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
DELHI 2/2 A, 1st Floor, Universal Insurance Bldg. Asaf Ali Road, NEW DELHI - 110 002 (O) 23239611 Fax: 011-23230858 firstname.lastname@example.org GUWAHATI Aquarius, Bhaskar Nagar, R. G. Baruah Rd. GUWAHATI - 781 021 (O) 2413525 EPBX: 0361-2415430 Fax: 0361-2414051
CHANDIGARH S.C.O. No. 101,102&103, 2nd Floor, Batra Building Sector 17-D, CHANDIGARH - 160 017 (O) 706196 EPBX: 0172-706468 Fax: 0172-708274
Insurance Websites Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority Allianz Bajaj Life Insurance Life Insurance Corporation of India HDFC Standard Life Insurance ING Vysya Life Insurance MaxNewYork Life Insurance Birla Sun Life Insurance ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Aviva Life Insurance SBI Life Insurance Metlife India Insurance Om Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Reliance Life Insurance Tata AIG Life Insurance Sahara India Life Insurance Shriram Life Insurance Bharti AXA Life Insurance Future Generali India Life Insurance IDBI Fortis Life Insurance Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance AEGON Religare Life Insurance DLF Pramerica Life Insurance Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance IndiaFirst Life Insurance Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance Risk Management Association of India Million Dollar Round Table Insurance Institute of India Actuarial Society of India National Insurance Academy Institute of Insurance Surveyor & Adjustors
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Life Insurance Corporation News LIC to invest Rs. 2,40,000 cr in FY13, 15% of it in equities Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has invested up to Rs 8,000 crore in equities in the last six months. The public sector behemoth has an investment target of Rs 2.4 lakh crore for the present year, of which 10-15 per cent will be invested in equities. Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Ficci seminar on capital markets, DK Mehrotra, CMD, LIC said, “Our investment target is Rs 2,40,000 crore for FY13, of which 1015 per cent will be in the equity market. We have so far made investments of around Rs 75,000 crore, of which Rs 7,0008,000 crore is in equities.” He said that he expects LIC’s corpus to grow from the present Rs 12,00,000 crore to Rs 32,00,000 crore by 2020. “Today, our mark-to-market value (MTM) of our equity investments is more than Rs 3,00,000 crore. When the markets our bearish, we find this as an opportunity to buy. We have a robust research team which is scanning around 2,000 companies all the time,” said Mehrotra. On a question on LIC asking the insurance regulator to relax the investment limit of investing up to 10 per cent in the shares of a single company, Mehrotra said, “The present cap of 10 per cent restricts participation in the equity market. Presently, there is a lack of headroom in good investable companies due to this cap. We have presented our case to the regulator and would be happy if the cap is increased to even 15 per cent to 20 per cent.”
LIC has managed to hold its own against private competition is its hundreds of thousands of agents who procure the vast bulk of its business. The insurer has, over the years, honed a complex system of incentives and perks to keep its agents performing. There is a minimum amount of business they have to do every year, to maintain their status as agents on LIC's records. Agents are organized into a hierarchy of clubs - at the branch level which is the lowest ,then the division, the zone and finally the chairman's club. Movement from one to the other depends on the amount of business procured. For instance, to get into the branch manager's club, an agent has to mobilize business which pays him or her a commission of at least Rs 35000 on new policies, and Rs 50,000 of 'renewal' premium commission (premiums on policies sold in earlier years). This criterion has to be met in at least two of three preceding years and the current year as well. Additional criteria in terms of actual lives insured must also to be met. From there, the bar gets progressively higher - for the chairman's club, the criteria has to be a minimum business of Rs 2lakh first year commission, and Rs 2lakh renewal commission. Club membership entitles you to an office allowance, reimbursements of phone bills, and loans for office expenses and overheads, or for a son or daughter's wedding, and cheap home loans and car loans. A member of the chairman's club for instance, can get an interest-free car loan of up to Rs 6lakh repayable in 6 years. They can take subsequent car loans of up to Rs 7.5lakh, also interest free.
On a question on whether LIC will go for an IPO, Mehrotra said, “We have sovereign guarantee, government support and do not require capital, therefore IPO is not necessary for us.”
LIC's key to success: Incentives and perks to keep agents performing Insurance agents of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) may not be employees of the giant Government owned insurer, but then LIC is not your standard PSU. A key reason why "The things we fear most in organizations - fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances - are the primary sources of creativity."
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Postal Life Insurance can now cover more groups of employees Life insurance behemoth, Life Insurance Corporation of India, and new-generation private life insurers had better sit up and take notice. The Government has allowed the country’s oldest life insurer, the Postal Life Insurance, to cover more groups of people. The Department of Posts can now offer Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) to employees engaged/ appointed on contract basis by Central/State Governments, where the contract is extendable. Employees of joint ventures in which Central/State Government, public sector undertakings and public sector banks have a minimum 10 per cent shareholding and employees of all scheduled commercial banks can be offered life insurance cover by the Department. Members/employees of co-operative credit societies and other co-operative societies registered under the Co-operative Societies Act and partly/fully funded by the Central/State Government, Reserve Bank of India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development and public sector banks can also be covered by the Department. Further, employees of deemed universities and educational institutes accredited by recognised bodies such as National Assessment and Accreditation Council, All-India Council of Technical Education, Medical Council of India, and/or affiliated to Universities/Boards are eligible for insurance cover from For rural population Rural Postal Life Insurance was introduced in 1993, to provide cover to the rural population, especially those in the weaker sections and to women workers. Insurance industry experts say that the Department of Posts, with its vast network of 1.55-lakh odd post-offices across the country, may be well-placed to meet the rural/social sector obligation under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s rules. PLI has grown from a few hundred policies in 1884 to 50.07 lakh as on March 31, 2012. As on March 31, there were over 1.35 crore active RPLI policies.
LIC books Rs.25,500 crore profit in first half of fiscal State-owned Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) booked a profit of at least Rs.25,567.57 crore in the first six months of 2012-13, data compiled by Mint shows. During this period,
India’s benchmark equity index rose around 8%. LIC has equity investments worth at least Rs.3 trillion allocated across 800 listed firms. Of 24 life insurers, LIC is the largest with total assets worth at least Rs.13 trillion. During the first six months of the fiscal, LIC booked profits in at least 90 listed firms. The benchmark Sensex has risen 7.81% between April and September. In October, it rose further after the government cleared some key reform proposals and eased foreign direct investment restrictions in aviation and retail. LIC has booked profit in almost all frontline stocks, including Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), Tata Steel Ltd, Tata Power Co. Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), Maruti Suzuki Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd. All these stocks have had a good run since April. Of these stocks, L&T, M&M, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank outperformed the 30-share Sensex by a wide margin. During this period, the value of pure equity schemes managed by the Indian mutual fund industry rose close to 4%, from Rs.1.56 trillion to Rs.1.62 trillion. “LIC books profit whenever there is a fair appreciation in stocks. We realize that we play an important role in supporting the equity markets. Our investments are mostly long-term and we have often managed to book profits even during market dips,” said an LIC official who declined to be named. “From the profits, we pay dividends and bonus, and our investment strategy is balanced in such way that we create maximum value for both policyholders and stakeholders,” An email sent to LIC’s spokesperson did not elicit a response till press time. The insurer has at least 300 million policies in force. In the first half of this fiscal, LIC collected premium of Rs.35,341.53 crore, marginally lower than Rs.36,721.39 crore during the same period a year ago. As the largest domestic institutional investor, LIC has been a key market mover. During 2008 and 2011, when foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were pulling out of Indian stocks, domestic institutional investors, led by LIC, invested heavily in the market. In 2008, when FIIs sold Indian stocks worth Rs.53,796.9 crore in the wake of a global liquidity crisis, domestic institutions, which largely consist of life insurers, bought Indian equities worth Rs.72,966.78 crore. Similarly, in 2011, domestic investors bought Indian equities worth Rs.26,788.44 crore net of selling when FIIs were net sellers of shares worth Rs.34,17.7 crore.
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ING life insurance appoints law & kenneth as it new advertising agency ING Life Insurance today announced the appointment of Law & Kenneth Communications as its mainline advertising partner. The appointment comes on the back of a pitch process that was initiated in October 2011 with a clear objective to find a strategic partner who would bring forth its planning skills and consumer knowledge to play an important role in ING Life’s growth plans. About Law & Kenneth coming on board, Mohit Goel, Executive Vice President – Marketing, ING Life India said, “We have been through an ‘exciting and intensive’ evaluation process during the course of which we tested multiple advertising agencies on their strategic thinking and planning capability. The process followed by us was quite different from a typical evaluation of an agency that is largely based on creative output and capability. We felt that Law & Kenneth’s expertise in planning and strategy would add a lot of value to our business. We look forward to a fruitful and long term relationship”
SBI Life Insurance gets new MD & CEO Atanu Sen has assumed charge as managing director and CEO of SBI Life Insurance, the largest private life insurer of the country. According to the latest IRDA report covering industry data up to June 12, SBI Life ranks first amongst private life insurer of the country. According to the latest IRDA report covering industry data up to June 12, SBI Life ranks first amongst private life insurance companies in terms of new business premium collection for 2012-13.
SBI life insurance buys nearly 31 lakh shares of TV broadcast SBI Life Insurance Company Ltd recently acquired a 30.66 lakh shares of TV18 Broadcast Ltd in a deal worth Rs 8.43 crore through open market route. As per bulk deal data, SBI Life Insurance Company purchased 30.66 lakh shares of TV18 Broadcast for Rs 8.43 crore on the National Stock Exchange. In another bulk deal, SBI Life Equity Fund purchased 19.34 lakh shares of the media firm for Rs 5.32 crore on BSE. Separately, Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund offloaded 18.86
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lakh shares of TV18 Broadcast on the NSE for a deal valuing at Rs 5.19 crore. Besides, Templeton Mutual Fund sold about 19 lakh shares of the media firm for Rs 5.22 crore on the BSE. At both the bourses, the transactions took place at an average price of Rs 27.5 apiece. Shares of TV18 Broadcast jumped by over 12 per cent to close at Rs 30 apiece on the BSE.
Aegon Religare life insurance to expand online product offering Aegon Religare Life Insurance Company has decided to expand its product offering in the online space. "We have filed with the insurance regulator a unit linked insurance policy (ULIP) to be sold only online. While an online health insurance policy is under development we will also launch an improved new online term assurance policy i-term," Chief Marketing Officer Yateesh Srivastava told. Happy with the Rs.11-crore premium from its online term assurance policy, mostly from high networth individuals that was not in the company's fold earlier, the Mumbai-based company, he said, would expand the number of cities where online purchase of policy is possible. "Currently the online purchase of term assurance policy is available in 42 cities where we have tie-ups with clinical laboratories. As there is a demand for online term assurance policy from other cities we will be expanding there signing up with clinical laboratories to do the medical examination for some policies," said Srivastava.
SBI life insurance to launch four new products SBI Life Insurance will soon be launching a host of plans across savings, protection and pension platforms. The products have been filed with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) for approval. Atanu Sen, MD & CEO, SBI Life said, "We would shortly
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be launching four new products, subsequent to IRDA approval. These plans include a family income protection plan, monthly income savings plan, traditional pension plan and market linked plan (ULIP) targeting younger audience. These products will strengthen our existing suite of plans, enabling customers a wide choice of offerings to choose from." These products will be available across SBI Life's multi distribution channels including bancassurance through State Bank branches, retail agency and institutional alliances. SBI Life has added 39 new branches and recruited additional 14,000 insurance Advisors and 2,000 certified insurance facilitators, during this financial year 2012-13.
Reliance life insurance begins post-sales service in insurance market Taking a leaf out of its Japanese partner Nippon Life's book, private sector insurer Reliance Life has begun its post-sales service drive across the country and plans to cover over 10 lakh customers by March next. Reliance Life Insurance Company (RLIC) has asked its 1.5 lakh representatives, including staff, advisors and channel partners to meet about ten per cent (over one million) of its existing customers by end of current fiscal to provide services beyond premium collection. RLIC, part of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group's financial services arm Reliance Capital, has begun this drive under its 'Reliance Life Plus Club' initiative. According to RLIC, it is the first insurance company in India to introduce a structured post-sales customer service platform. Commenting on the new initiative, RLIC President and Executive Director Malay Ghosh said: "Our post-sales service drive is already in force and action is part of our daily business routine. We have instructed over 1200 panIndia branches to implement it like sales targets. We hope to meet one million customers by March 2013"
M&C Saatchi-i wins a bronze at DMA ECHO Awards 2012 M&C Saatchi-i was the only Indian agency to win metal at the DMA Echo Awards 2012. The agency won Bronze for its entry 'Saptapadi' for Birla Sun Life Insurance. Rakhshin Patel, partner, M&C Saatchi-i, said, “Winning international
recognition for India can only be topped by making a habit of doing so. And it thrills me that after becoming the only Indian agency to win two Echo awards in the same category in as many years, we can now aim to take it even one level higher and make it three wins in a row.” Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer – financial services, Aditya Birla Group, added, “Our endeavour is to always delight our customers, not just with our products and services but also with our communication. Our direct marketing partner, M&C Saatchi-i, continues to do us proud, winning regularly at both domestic and international award shows. I am extremely delighted to be working with the talented and committed people at this agency. They bring top level strategic and creative inputs to the table, with high levels of passion, that actually make our interactions a joy and our work extremely effective. The teams at Birla Sun Life Insurance and M&C Saatchi-i have demonstrated what passion and team work can do, by bringing in their second Echo award in a row.”
HDFC Standard Life insurance asked to pay Rs five lakh Insurance Ombudsman in Chandigarh has asked private insurer HDFC Standard Life Insurance to pay Rs five lakh with interest to an NRI complainant after holding the company responsible for mis-selling a policy. "An award is passed with a direction to the insurance company to make payment of Rs five lakh with interest at rate of eight per cent from the date of complaint that is March 2, 2010," said Insurance Ombudsman (Chandigarh), Manik Sonawane in his order. Mis-selling means deliberate, reckless or negligent sale of products or services in circumstances where the contract is either misrepresented, or the product/service is unsuitable for the customer's needs. The complainant, Satnam Singh Randhawa, who is working as a driver in USA, had said in his complaint filed in 2010 that he bought life insurance policy from HDFC Standard Life Insurance under single premium mode in 2006 during his visit to India. He said the agent of the company told him that it was a
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single premium policy but later on it was found that it was a yearly premium policy with Rs five lakh to be paid annually. Even the company representative acknowledged during the proceedings that the proposal form was not for single premium policy and Rs Five lakh was an annual premium under the said policy.
Aviva Life insurance. With its popular plan â€˜Click2Protectâ€™, which was launched in January, 2011, HDFC Life is third in the segment. While ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Kotak Life Insurance are the other big players in online sales segment. Other big players such as Reliance Life Insurance and Bajaj Allianz have also initiated this popular trend of insurance selling.
Reliance life insurance introduces life plaza Reliance Life Insurance Company (RLIC) introduced a distribution channel - Life Plaza - aimed at creating awareness about life insurance and said it plans to set up about 200 branches across the country by the end of the current financial year.
However, the largest insurer of the country, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India is still reluctant to accept the new trend. It is fully dependent on tradition way of selling plans because of its huge agent network.
Insurance premium may turn 3% cheaper "The main objective of our new distribution format is to generate greater awareness about life insurance in and around different locations where these Life Plazas will operate and create a pull for life insurance products," Malay Ghosh, President and Executive Director, Reliance Life Insurance, said.
The first year premium on your insurance policy may soon get cheaper by upto 3%, thanks to finance minister P. Chidambaram's announcement that government is considering removal of service tax on first year premium payments. At present, a life insurance policy holder pays 3% service tax n such premiums.
RLIC targets to hire about 1,000 people under this new distribution format within this fiscal and would focus on Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV cities for recruitment and setting up of Life Plazas, he said. Reliance Life Plaza would promote need-based sales, fill service gaps and also offer financial and value-added services such as tax and financial planning, Aadhar card registration, pan card generation, health checkups and nutrition counselling.
"If the service tax is removed, the benefit will be directly passed on to customers, making premiums cheaper for new customers," said Nageswara Rao, managing director and chief executive officer, IDBI Federal Life Insurance. "Any reduction in cost will benefit the sector and will help companies to attract new customers."
All Life Plazas will be managed by RLIC employees, who will handle customers' queries and process the documentation instantly at the venue, with a view to tap new customers and also provide service to existing RLIC policyholders, the company said.
Every five minutes an online term plan is bought in india Despite a slowdown in the life insurance sector, sales of online term plans are booming. Nearly 55,750 term policies were sold in the past six months, an average of one policy in every five minutes. Whereas in 2011-12, nearly 49,500 plans were sold. The leading private insurer Aegon Religare Life Insurance, which opened up the online sale of life insurance nearly two years back, is the largest player in this segment followed by
The finance minister had said that the government is considering steps to revive the insurance sector including tax breaks for pension schemes, quick approval by of insurance products, allowing banks to sell policies of more than one insurance company. Insurance companies have been facing slow growth due to a volatile market and slowing economy. First-year premium collections of 24 insurance companies fell 9% to Rs.114,233 crore in 2011-12 against Rs.125,826 crore in the year ago period. "Removal or reduction in service tax would encourage people to buy insurance policies because they will be able to get more insurance cover with the same amount of money," said Deepak Sood, managing Director and CEO, Future Generali India Life Insurance. "In India, buying insurance cover is still not in the priority of individuals. Customers need to be encouraged in such steps."
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Insurance Regulatory And Development Authority
IRDA proposes modification in depreciation rates in motor segment Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) recently brought out a proposal to include paint material in the list of items which have depreciation rates. These rates apply for replacement of parts for partial loss claims in respect of vehicles and accessories and is covered by the General Regulation (9) of the erstwhile India Motor Tariff. It is applicable for motor insurance claims under own damage (OD) category in motor insurance segment. In an exposure draft, IRDA said that different practices are being followed by general insurers as regard to the application of depreciation on painting. "The Authority has received representation from the General Insurance Council highlighting the need to recognise the depreciation aspect and also to have a uniform practice across the country and across all the non-life insurance companies," said IRDA in the draft. The authority said that paint will be included in the category of 'rubber, nylon/ plastic parts, tyres and tubes, batteries and air bags' which presently attract 50 per cent depreciation. IRDA added that since paint material is polymer based and hence the depreciation applicable to plastic parts can be applied for it. Therefore, it has been proposed that depreciation rate of 50 per cent for painting charges, would be applied on the material cost which shall be 35 per cent of total painting charges or the actual, whichever is lower. IRDA said that the net effect would be the maximum depreciation rate of 17.5 per cent being applied on the total painting charges. The insurance regulator has proposed to the companies to make the above changes in individual package policy in the policy wordings. The stakeholders have been advised to give their suggestions on the draft to the regulator by 9 November.
IRDA member decries low penetration of general insurance The low penetration of general insurance companies is a major concern, said M Ramaprasad, member, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. Speaking at a meeting organised by the National Insurance Academy, Pune, he said the non-life penetration was 0.7 per cent of the gross domestic product, a very low number. "The stagnant rate of penetration in non-life insurance is an issue," he said. Saying general insurance premiums were expected to cross Rs 60,000 crore this
year, Ramaprasad said mis-selling of products and customers' low knowledge of products were still issues plaguing the sector. "Through our system of monitoring grievances, we find about 60 per cent of customer grievances related to mis-selling of products to them,â€? he said. For the general insurance sector to prosper, it needed good product designers, transparency and products the common citizen can understand, he said.
IRDA draft on paint material may bring down motor premium The exposure draft of IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) has proposed to include paint material in the list of items which have depreciation rates. The move is aimed at having a uniform practice across the country and across all the non-life insurance companies. According to general insurers, the recommendation would help in unifying the practice of applying depreciation across insurers. It may also lead to lower
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premium for customers provided the painting charges do not increase in the near future.
IRDA refuses to approve MF-like pension plans The insurance regulator turned the tables on the industry on the dispute over delay in product clearances, saying most pension plans filed with it do not comply with regulations. The features of these products read more like mutual funds, which have a shorter time horizon, the regulator said.
Tax breaks, easy policy terms in insurance rejig The government recently announced a raft of new measures - including simpler policy structure, easier know-yourcustomer (KYC) norms and possible tax breaks - aimed at providing a fillip to the insurance sector, which is expected to generate long-term funds for investment, especially for infrastructure. A decision on tax benefits, ranging from service tax exemption for certain policies to addition at exemption for investment in pension plans sand deduction for postretirement medical scheme, was expected by October 10, finance minister P. Chidambaram told reporters while announcing the measures which he had promised soon after taking charge in August. The measures related to service tax can be implemented through notifications, but income tax related changes may have to wait until the Budget as the law needs to be amended.
IRDA frowns on arbitrary hike of health premiums Your health insurance renewal premiums may turn cheaper if insurance regulator IRDA has its way. The Insurance Regulatory and Development authority plans to rein in companies resorting to arbitrary hikes in renewal premiums on health policies in which benefits have been previously claimed. Several insurers have been charging higher premiums on health policy renewal if the policyholder had made a claim in the previous year, IRDA Chairman J. Hari Narayan said at CII's 6th Health Insurance Summit 2012 in New Delhi recently. The soon-to-be issued regulations for health insurance, which is the fastest growing segment in the insurance industry, will squarely address the issue of "loading", he said.
The extra amount charged by health insurers in renewal premium when claims are previously made is commonly referred to as "loading" in industry parlance. The draft norms for health insurance segment provides that "loading" must be done at the time of underwriting the policy and not at the time of underwriting the claim. "The way regulation would be fashioned is when you are loading the premium, the loading cannot be on the basis of individual claim experience, it will have to be based on the behaviour of ensure class", Hari Narayan told newspersons.
Country lacks effective regulatory system, says IRDA chief India does not have an effective system to regulate and manage its healthcare sector, said J. Hari Narayan, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development authority. He said he would be glad if this issue is considered by Parliament or State Governments. Addressing a gathering at a forum on health insurance, organised in Chennai by the Consumers' Association of India, he said the State Government run health insurance schemes were very successful. It will be good if the State Governments concerned could include those who are not part of the target group by collecting premium from those individuals, he said. It will work out cheaper for those individuals, as the insurance companies could pass on the benefit to them. Elaborating on this, he said, every insurance company spends some money on consumer acquisition if it is going to be a collective cover, the insurer can pass on the cost benefit to the consumer. Though health insurance is no more widely accepted and has been growing in the last five to six years, it should penetrate the market further as a majority of spending on health is met out of an individual's pocket. The health insurance sector grew by 33 per cent in the first half of the current financial year. Last year, it grew by 23-per cent.
IRDA's rural area product draft disappoints insurance firms The Insurance Regulatory and Development authority (IRDA)'s exposure draft on a standard insurance product for the rural and social sectors has not found favour with
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insurance companies. These companies feel the draft guidelines would be difficult to implement, as it would be unviable to sell products in rural areas at a nominal costs. In the draft, IRDA said in rural regions, insurers would not be allowed to market any product other than the proposed standard product that meets the social and rural sector obligations. Insurers usually sell products that offer either lower benefits on premiums for the standard product, or higher premiums for products whose benefits are less compared to the standard product. The regulator said that for distribution, two general insurers and two life insurers would be responsible for offering the standard product in each state. It added insurers responsible for a particular state would be termed the lead insurer for the state. It was also proposed that insurers would have to meet at least 75 per cent of their rural and social sector obligations from such allotted state(s),while other state would account for the remaining 25 per cent obligations. Recently, IRDA Chairman J.Hari Narayan had said it was important that insurance companies fulfill rural and social sector obligations. "We are examining a way to have a lead insurers for each state/geography, so that it would bring greater stability in insurance for these regions,"he had said. Amitabha Chaudhry, managing director and chief executive of HDFC Insurance, said that though it was a good initiative, many questions remained unanswered.
Govt move to give lifeline to life insurance biz For the insurance companies, the moves would provide a lifeline amid falling sales, which dipped 9% during the last fiscal and were down over 3% during April-August 2012. While the steps have been announced, the issues related to change in norms have to be notified by the Insurance Regulatory& Development Authority (IRDA) resulting in some skepticism. "On the face of it they look positive but it depends on how they are implemented," said HDFC Standard Life, MD & CEO Amitabh Chaudhry pointing to earlier attempts to fast-track product approvals, a key element of Chidambaram's game plan.
Another key step in the government's package, finalized after talks with the industry and the regulator, relates to simpler terms of life insurance policies aimed at removing the clutter that has come to be associated with such covers. Several investors have shied away from buying insurance policies due to the complicated structure. "This is truly transformational. It addresses the core issue which is customer satisfaction. It will result in simpler products which are easy to understand along with protecting their interests," said ICICI Prudential MD &CEO Sandeep Bakshi. In addition, KYC or the requirement to submit a fresh set of documents establishing the identity and address will no longer hamper policy purchases as a check done by a bank at the time of opening an account will be used for insurance too. To get more people on board and cover their risks, IRDA will issue guidelines which will allow homogeneous groups such as taxi drivers, nurses or even members of resident welfare associations to come together to buy life insurance. Currently, only employer-employee groups are recognized for group business, the finance minister said. He also promised to end the arbitrage between "units" and traditional policies such as money-back, which the industry viewed as a pointer to an across-the-board reduction commission paid to agents, which can be as high as 40% in some cases. "It appears to be a move to realign the commission and expense structure and bring the traditional products in line with Ulips,"said Reliance Capital's Sam Ghosh.
IRDA asks health insurers for indicative premiums for five years on new products The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has asked health insurance companies to indicate premium to be paid by the policyholder in the first five yearswhile filing new products for its approval. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has asked health insurance companies to indicate premium to be paid by the policyholder in the first five yearswhile filing new products for its approval. However, the companies are free to increase the renewal premium
Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time.
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based on medical inflation, cost of healthcare and its underwriting practice, say insurance industry sources.
claim costs at the initial stage itself, obviating the need for steep price revisions in premiums in subsequent years."
"The health insurer can increase the premium every year at the time of renewal, but these hikes cannot exceed the amount mentioned in the premium chart," said JF Jawadwala, executive director, Nandi Insurance Broking and Risk Management Services.
Insurers to be allowed to invest more freely
"There is no formal, written communication from the IRDA regarding raising renewal premiums. However, the regulator is advising companies to furnish a five-year renewal premium chart while filing new products, which spells out the quantum of premium hikes policyholders will see during the period." "Even for the older products, the IRDA expects the insurers to hold the premiums for at least two to three years. Whenever the insurer wants to increase the premium of the product the company has to approach the IRDA and given a written explanation for the increase in premium of a particular group/product," added Antony Jacob, chief executive officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance. IRDA chief J Hari Narayan had publicly criticised insurance companies in the past for their practice of "loading" of premium on the basis of previous claims made by the policyholder. Except on some newer products, health insurers typically increase the premiums (called loading in insurance parlance) on renewal if the policyholder has made a claim in the previous year. "We have seen that if a party makes a claim in a given year, it is likely that the insurance company may increase the premium because you have made a claim. To some extent, it means they are doing underwriting at the time of the claim. And that is not the way you do underwriting. That is what we are bringing in draft regulations," he had said, at an industry conference earlier this month. "The draft exposure guidelines state that premiums shall not be allowed to increase for a period of one year once the product is cleared by IRDA. For any pricing change, the insurance company has to submit recent three years claims experience on the original pricing, along with the expected experience and the reasoning," said a senior executive with a large private sector insurer. "Medical inflation is a cause of concern to insurers, and pricing of health insurance products need to factor in higher 41
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram recently announced a revival package for the life insurance sector. The steps include easing investment norms for insurance companies, faster product clearances and tax incentives to improve insurance penetration in the country. At present, insurance companies are required to put 75 per cent of their debt market investments in AAA-rated instruments. These do not include investments in government securities. The minister said the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA) would consider relaxing the stipulation, and provide the minimum requirement of 75 per cent in AAA instruments would apply to debt investments including government securities and other investments. "This is expected to release a space of 12.5 per cent for investments in less than AAA-rated debt instruments," Chidambaram told reporters while announcing a 12-point action plan for the sector. Currently, there are not too many AAA instruments for the insurance companies to invest in. There has been no change in equity investment norms. To address the industry's concerns on regulatory delays in product approval, guidelines will be issued by the end of November for mandating a 30-day norm for clearance of products. To speed up clearances, the insurance regulator will also introduce a system of 'use & file', against the current practice of "file & use". This means it will designs some standard products for the industry to use without seeking its approval, provided the product fulfils the stipulated conditions. Sam Ghosh, CEO of Reliance Capital, said, "Product approval, which was the biggest concern, will now happen quicker since the "use & file" system is being brought in. It has addressed our concerns on the product side and will lead to growth." In the last two years, the industry saw a severe slowdown, with policy insurances falling eight per cent in 2011-12.
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Glossary & Poll
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Life Insurance Glossary
Will FDI bill be passed in the winder session of the parliament?
Guaranteed Term A form of renewable term insurance that remains in force as long as the premiums are paid on time. With guaranteed term insurance, the insurance company cannot terminate the policy during the term. Guaranteed Insurability (Guaranteed Issue) Arrangement, usually provided by rider, whereby additional insurance may be purchased at various times without evidence of insurability. Incontestable Clause A clause in a policy providing that a policy has been in effect for a given length of time (two or three years), the insurer shall not be able to contest the statements contained in the application. In life policies, if an insured lied as to the condition of his health at the time the policy was taken out, that lie could not be used to contest payment under the policy if death occurred after the time limit stated in the incontestable clause. In Force Insurance on which the premiums are being paid or have been fully paid. Insurability All conditions pertaining to individuals that affect their health, susceptibility to injury and life expectancy; an individual's risk profile. Insurable Interest Requirement of insurance contracts that loss must be sustained by the applicant upon the death of another and it must be sufficient to warrant compensation. Insurance A formal social device for reducing risk by transferring the risks of several individual entities to an insurer. The insurer agrees, for a consideration, to pay for the loss in the amount specified in the contract. Insurance Policy The printed form which serves as the contract between an insurer and an insured. 42
Results of Poll in our October 2012 issue
Do you think increase in FDI cap will boost investment for the insurance sector Yes-60%
No- 40 %
You may send your views to : Poll Contest
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