Airtel Payments Bank partners with ICICI Prudential Life to offer insurance products

Airtel Payments Bank partners with ICICI Prudential Life to offer insurance products

One of the primary objectives of digital revolution is to bring convenience and ease of operation for the end consumer. Buying protection in the form of life insurance has become much easier now. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has entered into a corporate agency agreement with Airtel Payments Bank to offer digital access to life insurance and savings plans to the customers of the latter.

To begin with, on the protection platform, ICICI Pru iProtect Smart and on the savings platform, ICICI Pru Anmol Bachat will be available in phases to Airtel Payments Bank customers. ICICI Pru Anmol Bachat plan is a unique micro-insurance product offering dual benefits of savings and protection in small value sachets, designed for the underinsured while ICICI Pru iProtect Smart is a term plan that offers protection. The products will be available at over 60,000 Airtel Payments Bank – Banking Points across India. It will be a paperless process for Airtel Payments Bank customers to purchase life insurance products.

Mr. N S Kannan, Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance said, “We are delighted to partner with Airtel Payments Bank. This partnership has paved the way for the Bank’s account holders to expeditiously purchase life insurance and offer a financial safety-net to their families. Bridging the protection gap in the country is an imperative and the need of the hour is to offer affordable & simple products and leverage technology to smoothen the purchase experience. This association will enable the Bank to offer a long term savings product and enable customers to achieve their financial goals and simultaneously facilitate increasing our presence in underserved customer segments.”

Mr. Anubrata Biswas, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Payments Bank said, “We are delighted to partner with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance as part of our endeavor to offer a bouquet of well-designed and innovative insurance products to millions of underinsured and uninsured Indians through our extensive distribution network and digital reach. This association is one more step taken by us to contribute towards the Government of India’s vision of creating a financially inclusive society.”



Independent directors ask for insurance cover prior to appointment Independent directors, who have been under the lens, are now putting D&O as a pre-condition for joining the board of an organisation.

Independent directors ask for insurance cover prior to appointment

Independent directors, who have been under the lens, are now putting D&O as a pre-condition for joining the board of an organisation.

A Maharashtra-based engineering firm faced a difficult situation recently, right before its board meeting to reappoint three independent directors. One of the directors stated that he would not consider the re-appointment unless the company bought a Directors and Officers (D&O) liability policy for him and the rest of the board members.

While D&O insurance covers are mandatory as per the Companies Act 2013, not many companies have actually gone about buying it.

“These three directors threatened to quit,” said the chief executive of a Mumbai-based insurance broker. “Now the company, like many others, is being forced to buy D&O,” he added.


The demand is understandable. In the recent past, in cases like IL&FS debt crisis and the PMC Bank scam, the role of independent directors has been under regulatory watch, with some of the directors being probed for their actions/in-actions. A cover, will help them meet the costs.

What is a D&O policy?

A D&O policy covers the liability incurred by acts of omission and commission by top management of companies. This includes independent directors and all other members of the board. Any personal liability due to a criminal or civil case filed against the top management is also covered by the D&O cover.

The D&O cover will pay for any demand for damages against a person for civil/criminal proceedings. Further, it will also pay against any regulatory or administrative enquiry that hampers a director monetarily. Further, any public relations expense that is incurred due to an impending case is also covered by this insurance product.

The policy premium ranges between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, based on the sum assured of Rs 6 crore and above.

Sources said that less than 15,000 such policies have been sold by general insurance companies so far. Insurers said even among the listed entities, the size of the cover taken by majority companies is at least 40-45 percent lower than what is required.

Depending on the business as well as the location of the offices, insurers now offer specialisation based on the risks.

For instance, if you are a manufacturing firm employing 100 people in a factory set-up, the liability coverage that you will require is much higher for workmen compensation than a software firm employing engineers in an urban area

For new board appointments as well, independent directors are now seeking D&O as a pre-condition.

“A host of independent directors do not have a full-time job and hence their liabilities are much higher than the other management,” said the underwriting head at a mid-sized general insurance company.

From the April to August period, insurers sold liability covers worth Rs  1,293.15 crore, which is a 14.4 percent year-on-year increase.

The growth may further speed up, with directors now insisting for the cover.




Exclusive: Amazon Pay to sell third-party insurance products

Amazon is considered being a late entrant in the Indian digital payments space. However, the firm’s experiment with payments started just after demonetisation with Amazon Pay Balance (APB). APB was launched in December 2016. Nine months later, Amazon launched another payments product – Amazon Pay with a PPI licence in August 2017.

At the beginning of this year, it also integrated UPI as a payment option on Amazon Pay. The app has allowed peer to peer fund transfer using Unified Payments Interface railroad. Ever since then, the firm has been beefing up its payments play by onboarding online merchants and using QR codes for offline expansion.

Amazon Pay is reportedly working with its investee firm ToneTag to integrate the latter’s sound wave technology for enabling quick offline payments. Besides pure-play payments, the firm is also preparing for a holistic fintech play, starting with insurance.

The payment arm of the firm is set to aggregate third-party insurance products.

According to three Entrackr sources, Amazon Pay has been working on offering insurance for the past few months. “Amazon Pay received requisite approval to aggregate third-party insurance products. It also has carved out a small team consisting of 6-8 employees to look after the sub-vertical,” said sources including a company insider on condition of anonymity.

Entrackr has independently confirmed that Amazon Pay got a corporate agency (composite) licence from the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA). Composite licence holders include several commercial banks and companies like Paytm Money, PolicyBazaar, LendingKart. They are allowed to aggregate and promote insurance products.

Sources emphasise that Amazon Pay will enable insurance buying by December-January. Apart from selling third-party insurance products, it will push products of Acko insurance where Amazon is an investor. “Given its 150 million registered user base in India, aggregating and cross-selling insurance seem to be an obvious as well as a sensible move for Amazon Pay,” added sources.

Entrackr queries sent to Amazon India didn’t elicit any response until the publication of the post. We will update the post as and when the company responds.

Over the past three years, Amazon infused about Rs 2,900 crore into its payments unit. In the ongoing year, Amazon Pay had received close to Rs 600 crore from the parent entity.

During these three years, the e-commerce giant also placed several bets in overall fintech space. Amazon holds stakes in ToneTag, Capital Float, Acko, BankBazaar, Emvantage and Qwickcilver.

With the aggregation of third-party insurance products, it will compete more holistically against rivals in fintech space – Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm. Amazon has established itself as one of the top two e-commerce firms, along with Flipkart. However, it requires a robust fintech ecosystem to support its e-commerce



Date 30th September, 2019

Game-changing impact of digital workers on HR

Having deployed over 1.5 Mn digital workers already, Automation Anywhere is on its way to becoming the world’s largest digital workforce platform. For organizations wanting to tread this path, it is an example of  how you can leverage the digital workforce for their cognitive automation skills and augmented intelligence, what fears continue to exist in the industry and what concerns you need to keep in mind as you head on to deploy a digital workforce.

In a recent roundtable hosted by People Matters and Automation Anywhere, industry experts from across organizations came together to discuss the game changing impact of the digital workforce on the HR function.

The session kick-started with the keynote session presented by Anurag Aman, Partner with Management Consulting (People and Change Advisory) at KPMG. Anurag brought to light some interesting statistics on the use of RPA and Cognitive Automation in the HR function, followed by a discussion led by Sonali De Sarker, Senior Director HR – IMEA, Automation Anywhere.

Sharing her insights on the impact of the digital workforce on existing processes and the physical workforce, Sarker said, “It’s important that we as HR practitioners actually move the needle rather than waiting for it to happen.”

‘HR is no more just a soft aspect of the organization’

Discussing findings from a recent survey by KPMG that assessed focus areas for HR ahead of the gradual shift to a digital labour force, Anurag Aman shared the following:

The global market for robots and artificial intelligence is expected to reach $152.7 Bn by 2025

Robots to replace 100 Mn knowledge workers

Digital workforce brings in a 30 percent increase in productivity

Digital workforce brings in an ROI of 600 – 800 percent with seamless implementation in specific tasks

Deploying a digital workforce is among the top 5 investment opportunities for CIOs

Sharing that ‘HR is no more just a soft aspect of the organization’ Anurag highlighted how cognitive platforms help augment and leverage human knowledge to perceive, reason and learn across functions. Interestingly, Intelligent Augmentation which is nothing but a partnership between humans and machines can be leveraged to drive impactful business outcomes, with both humans and machines focused on what they do best.

When it comes to strategizing and decision-making, intelligent automation happens in three stages. While humans continue to act and think like humans, machines are more occupied with providing information in the form of rules (workflow automation), learning (enhanced automation) and reasoning (cognitive automation and predictive analytics).

With the extent of impact of robotics and cognitive automation, there is definitely a resistance to bring them in as well. Addressing the dilemma on the right time to bring in the digital workforce and readiness of both the people and organization, Anurag said, “Ask yourself, are you doing it for efficiency, or are you doing it to really create an experience.” Some of the factors he suggested to consider as you tackle the dilemma are benefit of realization (cost vs impact), degree of transformation and availability of data.

With the augment of cognitive automation and RPA, there are a plethora of specialty roles expected to emerge within the HR domain. Some of these are:

People planner

Service delivery leaders

Robotics capability manager

Behavioural scientist

Process Optimizer

People Data analyst

Performance consultant

Employee experience consultant

People performance architect

People Strategist

What you need to know about digital workforce

HR can deploy digital workers across multiple functions. From sourcing profiles and coordinating interviews within talent acquisition, facilitating seamless documentation at the time of on boarding, staffing process automation, to leave record management and triggering messages to managers to intervene after gathering relevant data points, digital workforce does it all when it comes to transactional processes. As shared by Sonali De Sarker, bots in staffing process automation can result in reducing costs by 60 percent and time by 2x. Their team was able to save 140 minutes per new hire, by deploying over 20 bots within their HR team for hiring and onboarding, and they hired 700 employees in the time period. “Bots can enable the human in your employees, with less focus on transactional conversations and more time for meaningful conversations,” added Sarker.

Emphasizing on leveraging the physical-digital partnership between humans and bots, Sakshi Khosla, Associate Director – Human Capital, Max India said, “You need humans to infer insights, to make logical conclusions and use the data generated by bots”. She further added that a common mistake that organizations make in tech adoption is that they try to make it one size fits all. “That’s the issue, because every organization is different, every context is different, every context at a particular point is different,” added Khosla.

Stating how humans have always been resistant to change and how crucial it is to step up now, PepsiCo’s VP – HR India, Suchitra Rajendra added that while it is good to have a parallel process and see how things shape up, it is important to recognize the resistance and realize the impact, “If we don’t do it, we will be left behind.”

Key things to take care of as an HR

While a digital workforce significantly helps in timely tracking and updating of records, bringing down inaccuracy in data, streamlining processes, thereby providing much more time to the physical workforce to leverage their human skills, there are concerns that need to be taken care of before implementation. HR leaders need to focus on these critical concern areas as they think about bringing in a digital workforce.

Process understanding needs to be excellent: Employees who will be working with digital workers need to have the right understanding of how automation works. Get the right people to map the processes and educate them on how automation works and how to work with bots.

Upskilling/reskilling teams: Leaders need to identify what kind of jobs employees can take over, as bots take over transactional and routine work. A recurring concern in the digital age is the threat to job opportunities for humans. Addressing this concern, Sarker said, “It does not threaten the job of your team members, rather it upskills them. Design the bots according to your requirement, and make it accessible and usable for your team.”

Change management with business: Have conversations with business about where HR as a function needs to deploy bots. Understand the scope and assess the impact. With deploying a digital workforce being among the top five priorities for leaders today, it is important to understand the investment perspective before trying to bring in digital workers just to join the bandwagon.

User experience perspective: With your employees being the ultimate users, and co-workers of bots, it is essential to understand where to implement them. When you face an issue, you do not want a machine, you want to interact with a human. “We need to understand when we need to pause the machine interaction and interface directly. We need to make sure we know when to intervene and make the experience right,” added Anurag.

In the digital age and what appears to now be a race, organizations have been contemplating implementation, and struggle with adoption. In the race to on board digital workers and stay ahead of the market, one must not forget to evaluate and assess if the organization and people are ready for that change.

Source-People Matters


Insurance cover a must for fintechs participating in RBI sandbox

MUMBAI: The start-ups taking part in Reserve Bank of India’s proposed regulatory sandbox would be required to take an insurance cover based on the risk of operation and potential customer liability before entering the program, the central bank said in its final framework document released on Tuesday.

Sandbox entities shall be required to take liability/indemnity insurance of an adequate amount and period to safeguard the interest of the customers,” as per the document. The regulator had earlier placed a draft regulation inviting stakeholder comments on the public domain in April.


The cover of the policy would be based on factors such as exposure to customers, the number of claims that may arise of a single event and number of claims expected during the operating period of sandbox.

The policy cover shall begin with the start of the testing stage and end three months after the exit of the sandbox entity from the RS.”


The framework document also doesn’t provide any legal waiver to the companies operating in the sandbox. Furthermore, any loss incurred by the customer would have to be borne by the sandbox entity, the central bank said.


The Regulatory Sandbox is a special environment to enable time-bound testing of innovations under a regulator’s oversight. It allows for the testing of new financial products, technologies, and business models under a set of rules and supervisory requirements, with appropriate safeguards.




Hiring activity picks up with more demand for sales and marketing, IT sector professionals

Hiring activity picks up with more demand for sales and marketing, IT sector professionals

In Delhi and Mumbai, IT sector hiring trend grew by 27%

Hiring in production and maintenance, and banking saw a dip of 10% and 21% respectively

New Delhi: Hiring activity picked up in July across India with sales and marketing, and IT sector recording good growth and banking sector witnessing a sizeable dip, a fresh survey has found.


As per the survey, hiring for professional sales and business development grew by 11%. Other functional areas which observed a rise in demand were Accounts (11%), HR (10%), Marketing (10%) and IT Hardware (7%), as per survey.


However, hiring in production and maintenance, and banking saw a dip of 10% and 21% respectively.


While for the entry and mid-executive level (0-7 years of experience), the hiring trend saw 16% growth, it was 10% for mid-management roles with 8-12 years of experience. Hiring for senior management roles with 13-16 years of experience were up by 6% and Leadership roles grew by 4% in the hiring activity.


Among cities, in the national capital region of Delhi, the hiring activity grew by 10%, in Mumbai it saw a 6% growth and Chennai it was 10%. Bangalore and Hyderabad recorded 20% and 24% growth in July 2019 as against July 2018.

In Delhi and Mumbai, IT sector hiring trend grew by 27%. However, FMCG sector recoded a 7% dip in the national capital. There was an increase in demand for entry-level professionals with experience of 0-3 years by 14% and 9% in Delhi and Mumbai respectively.


In Pune, the rise in hiring for IT-Software and BPO were 29% and 7% respectively, while hiring in the auto sector witnessed 2% dip, the survey said.




Country-wide floods may spike up insurance losses

Country-wide floods may spike up insurance losses

This could push up insured losses from natural disasters from 2014-2019 to Rs 30,000 crore

Floods have ravaged parts of Assam, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha over the past few months. Almost 60-70 people are said to have lost their lives across the country in various flood-related incidents, apart from massive loss to property and vehicles. It is expected that this will lead to a rise in insured losses.

Initial estimates suggest that insurance claims could touch Rs 50-60 crore in the next few weeks. If the monsoon rains intensify, the situation could worsen. This could push up insured losses from natural disasters from 2014-2019 to Rs 30,000 crore.

Cyclone Fani that hit Odisha in April/May led to insurance losses of almost Rs 2,000 crore which causing a rise in underwriting losses for general insurance companies. This means the claims paid exceeded the premium collected. Similarly, the Kerala floods led to claims of Rs 1,400 crore for life and general insurers.


“We have already faced a hit in Q1. If the rain situation continues, the combined ratio will also suffer,” said the head of underwriting at a private general insurer.

Claims from global natural catastrophes in 2018 were pegged at $76 billion, according to the Swiss Re sigma report. The combined insurance losses from natural disasters in 2017 and 2018 were $219 billion, the highest-ever for a two-year period.

In India, the Mumbai floods of 2005 were one of the largest cases of insurance loss events. A Swiss Re sigma report said that in the event of torrential rainfall, rapid urbanisation reduces avenues for water discharge and can lead to heavy flooding. Such was the case in Mumbai in 2005, when flooding after heavy rains resulted in one of the largest insurance loss events ever experienced in India ($0.9 billion, according to sigma data).

In the last five years, losses due to catastrophes have led to insured losses of almost Rs 25,000 crore. This includes losses due to the Uttarakhand floods, cyclones Hudhud, Fani and Phailin, the Chennai and Kerala floods.


The share of uninsured catastrophe losses varies by region. A Swiss Re report said it was typically higher in developing countries where infrastructure construction and implementation of catastrophe risk mitigation measures did not keep pace with economic growth. However, there are areas of under-insurance in advanced countries too, even in those with known medium to high exposure to certain hazards.

Insurance companies have a natural catastrophe clause that covers damage to property or vehicles for these incidents. For death due to such an incident, a term insurance cover will provide the life insurance claim.

The centre fully funding this initiative is not a feasible idea. Having a catastrophe bond to fund the claims from such incidents has been a model followed in other markets, but not yet allowed in India. A natural catastrophe pool to fund major incidents was under discussion about three years back, but it hasn’t yet been implemented.

With the rise in the number of natural catastrophes in the country, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) chairman Subhash C Khuntia said they are looking into the possibility of having a few pilot projects in vulnerable areas to offer property insurance.