Four health insurance products from New India Assurance

New India Assurance Company would launch four new products in the health segment in another six months, a top company official said today. The products, waiting approval from insurance regulator IRDA, were Family Floater, Top Up, Critical Illness and High Network Individual, as this segment was contributing 27 per cent of the total business, G Srinivasan, Chairman-cum Managing Director, New India Assurance Co, told reporters here. Srinivasan, here to inaugurate two branches and 12 micro offices under Coimbatore Regional Office as part of its financial inclusion plan, said that the company was aiming for a 20 per cent growth and set a target of Rs 15,000 crore premium during this year, as against Rs 12,500 crore last year, with Rs 12,000 crore from domestic and Rs.3,000 crore from overseas operations. Stating that the company has recorded a Profit After Tax of Rs 262 crore for quarter-one, he said the PAT this fiscal would touch Rs 1,000 crore, since the company expected to renew 80 to 85 per cent of the existing policies and the remaining 15 per cent from new premium. The company’s expansion to new territories to Myanmar, Canada and Qatar was under process, he said, adding, that it would also expand the agent base to one lakh in the next two years, from the present 55,000 agents. Similarly, the company would add another 400 micro offices across the country during this fiscal, taking the total number to 1,000, Srinivasan said.

Source: The Economic Times
Date: 26th August 2013

General insurers offer high discounts to corporates as auto business slows

General insurers have started offering deep discounts to corporate clients in the wake of drop in the motor insurance and fall in new industrial projects, say industry officials. “There are instances where the industry has started offering deep discounts to corporate clients as no new projects arecoming up. On the back of a shrinking pie, companies are offering discountseven for operational projects,” said an official from a large state-run general insurance firm. Discounts on offer range up to 95 per cent in some cases, he said, adding that this kind of rate is not sustainable in the long-run. An official from a private insurance firm said discounts offered in the recent time are due to the dip in motor insurance business, following the falling sales in the auto sector. “The motor insurance segment has slowed due to the fall in auto sales. This has prompted some insurance players to offer discounts in other lines of business like commercial insurance segment,” managing director and chief executive at Bharti Axa General Insurance Amarnath Ananthanarayanan said, adding offering of discounts has started in the last one month. He also said these offers are not sustainable in the long-run and his company is not offering such deep discounts to clients. Due to the general slowdown, growth of general insurance industry has come down to around 12 per cent in recent months from an average of around 18 per cent seen last fiscal.
This was mainly due to dip in the motor insurance business, which constitutes around 45 per cent of the total business.
Also, commercial business has also seen slowdown due to lack of new projects, creating fear of an overall low growth for the industry in the current fiscal. However, some industry officials differ in their views towards the discounts offered by general insurers. “I think, after the Detariffing in 2007, competition has pushed the premium down in some lines of business. So, one can’t infer that if some discounts are offered, they are the direct result of the slowdown in some segments of general insurance industry,” General Insurance Council secretary general R Chandrasekaran said.

Source: The Economic Times
Date: 21st August 2013

8 Ways To Move Up In Your Entry Level Position

Just because you’re entry level doesn’t mean you can’t churn out awesome work and positively affect your company’s bottom line.

As an entry level employee, you’ve got to kick @$$ and take names to eventually move up from your position. But it’s up to you to decide what kind of entry level employee you’ll be.

Here are a few tips for getting ahead in your entry level position:

1. Find a mentor. I owe much of my success today to my mentors throughout the years. Gaining a professional mentor will have a serious impact on your career. You’ll gain a sounding board, valuable contact, and someone who can share their ups and downs within the industry.

Seek out someone within your company or industry who you admire. Your mentoring relationship could take off with an email, tweet, or even a LinkedIn connection. Invite this person to coffee to learn more about their professional experiences.

2. Seek out feedback and act accordingly. Advancement comes with improvement. No one expects you to be perfect as an entry level employee, but you should be proving to your manager that you’re interested in learning and improving over time.

If you aren’t receiving regular feedback from evaluations or reviews, reach out to your manager to set up a time to chat one-on-one about your performance. Create a plan for self-improvement based on what’s shared with you, or keep a daily log to help you keep track of your accomplishments.

3. Build your network. Develop professional relationships inside and outside of your company. Advancing in your career often comes down to who you know. Make sure you’re at company events like cocktail hours, and attend networking events and conferences within your industry. Not only will you gain important insight within your field, you’ll also making lasting connections.

4. Don’t wait around for assignments. You’re not doing your company any favors by sitting around waiting for work. Instead, do plenty of research and observation so you can figure out where there are opportunities to dive in and help your company. This could mean brainstorming new ways to promote the company online or presenting a new solution for a slowed internal process. Just remember, twiddling your thumbs isn’t going to prove your worth to your manager.

5. Figure how how to get immediate ROI. If you aren’t making your company enough money to cover the cost of your employment, then you’re probably not going to be around very long. This is especially important if you’re an entry level startup employee. You don’t want to be an expense line, so try to find ways to bring in more money than you’re costing the company.

6. Make your boss look good. You don’t need to kiss ass just make his or her job easier. After all, they’re the decision maker who will determine whether or not you move up within the company. Making your boss look good doesn’t take a ton of extra effort — just do your job right, ask questions, and turn out excellent work. This will reflect well on your boss.

7. No tasks should be beneath you. Stay humble and never forget your title as an entry level employee. No one likes being tasked menial work, but taking care of it with a positive attitude is crucial to your success. In fact, you can use these tasks as an opportunity to create efficiency in your position.

8. Never stop learning. Just because you landed a job doesn’t mean you’re done learning. It’s actually quite the opposite. Staying “in the know” about your industry will be essential to your career. Aside from taking advantage of every training opportunity offered at your company, go out and learn about your company and industry on your own — read books, do your research, attend events, or even take an online class.

Don’t let your entry level title get in the way of being an awesome employee. Above all, be proactive instead of reactive.

Sources – LinkedIn

Multiple intelligences for ethical leadership

Companies can be torpedoed by unethical behavior. The news is rarely without a story of some business leader suffering from an ethical lapse. What always surprises me is that many of these individuals are bright: good educations with impressive track records in their respective fields. Of course, greed and arrogance can certainly filter one’s judgment.

What are some emotionally intelligent checks and balances that leaders can employ to lower their risk for unethical behavior? My colleague, Howard Gardner, shared his thoughts about several intelligences that are most germane to ethical leadership in my Leadership: A Master Class series. Here’s what he had to say.

“I think that leaders in general need to have linguistic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and what I call existential intelligence. All of which are very closely linked with emotional intelligence.

Linguistic intelligence allows you to tell your story effectively. It’s crucial for leaders to share their idea with a team, investors, business partners and customers. Your authenticity – or lack thereof – will come through with how you articulate your vision. Interpersonal intelligence is important because you have to know how people are going to react to what you say. You’re obviously going to turn people off with your inability to connect. You must have some deeper understanding about yourself without being obsessive about it.

Existential intelligence is kind of honorific intelligence. Whenever we talk about leaders who go beyond the managerial category, leaders who actually move people to do and think and behave in ways they wouldn’t before, they are able to give us a view of the big picture. They have an ability to deal with big questions and help people find meaning in their work or personal lives.

The ethics comes into play when you ask yourself, ‘What’s the right thing to do in the long run? What’s the right thing to do in a transparent way so you aren’t operating in a secret vacuum?’ If you think about the long run, are transparent about it and your message is in synch with your vision and intention, it’s very hard to be unethical.”

Sources – LinkedIn

“A better understanding of the business helps you to be a more well-rounded HR head”


Sometimes, your role as head of HR can conflict with your role as CEO in certain areas/aspects and one has to do the most optimal thing without compromising on the principles and interests of either. However, it also creates opportunities; for example, when you are on a business trip, you can fulfill assignments from the point of view of both roles. Similarly, a better understanding of business issues and pressures helps you to be a more wellrounded and responsive HR head.
Certainly. From my role as a CEO, I learnt to be more deliveryfocused, ready to be adaptive to rapid external challenges and be more ‘numbers-driven’.These are the value-additions I bring to the HR domain from my CEO experience. From myHR stint, I count my knowledge of team dynamics and change management to bring about course-correction in the business and build global teams. But there are a few stark similarities too.The similarity in the two roles is that, both have to deal with a significant amount of people issues and both roles require a long-term perspective, vision and strategic thinking. However, the time horizons and delivery requirements can be different and HR is a more functional role whereas the CEO’s is a more integrative general management role. In the Aditya Birla Group context perhaps, the HR director has more opportunity to learn about many businesses.To that extent, the CEO’s role can be limiting.
Any HR manager or any other manager wanting to be a CEO must answer the fundamental question – why do you want to be a CEO? Also, you need to understand the challenges and rewards of being a CEO and the trade-offs one has to make. And once they have concluded why they want to be a CEO, the question of preparation arises. A few ways to gear up for the role of a CEO are listed below: Take an abiding interest in different aspects of the businessother than HR; Build a reasonable understanding of one other key function other than HR; Take on a rotational assignment, if possible, in operations, marketing or sales; Get a good grounding in finance and accounting; Get an understanding and exposure of corporate governance and have a knack of managing the external environment.
I think many a times, people are under a mistaken notion that not many HR people have got an opportunity to lead businesses. As a matter of fact, there havebeen many examples in the past and several leading businesses even today. Ithink India Inc is ready and I think there is an increasing number of HR managers who are also ready. The question is whether you are at the top end of the competitive set or not. One has to compete with managers from other functional areas to get to the CEO’s role. Some will get a chance and succeed, others will get such a chance and fail and some may not ever get a chance. However, CEOs need to be equal opportunity employers and must remain sensitive, so that leadership and expertise can flourish anywhere in the organisation.

Sources – The Times of India
Date – 21-8-2013

Non-Life Cos Ready to Offer Cover for Almost Free

Business-starved non-life insurers are doing business for almost nothing at all. Public and private sector non-life insurance companies are offering irrational discounts to grab dwindling customers in a slowing economy.
“Since the overall economy is not growing, there is a cut-throat competition for whatever business is coming up,” said TA Ramalingum, head of underwriting at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company. A housing complex in Gurgaon, adjoining Delhi, was recently offered a . 500-crore insurance cover at a premium discount of 99.75%. Fire and engineering insurance contributes . 10,000 crore to the . 70,000-crore non-life industry. Growth of the non-life industry depends on industrial growth, vehicle sales and health covers. The industry is looking at a growth rate of just 10-12% in the current fiscal against the 19% growth it achieved in 2012-13.
“Companies have split fire insurance into flexa (fire, lightening, explosion and aircraft) and catastrophe risk, and they are offering ridiculous discounts on flexa rate,” said KG Krishnamoorthy Rao, managing director and CEO at Future Generali General Insurance.
Low loss ratio, or the percentage of premium earned to claims paid, fell to 60% in the absence of natural calamities last year. “Last year, we did not have large claims. This helped companies in undercutting,” said Ramalingum. But with floods in Uttarakhand and Kerala this year, the industry is staring at estimated claims worth . 2,000 crore.
“Some insurers are offering policies at near 100% discount due to competition,” said a non-life insurance company executive. “This year is going to be a mayhem in pricing.”

Sources – The Economic Times
Date – 20-8-2013

India Inc Drives ‘Do-Good’ with Sabbaticals Companies encourage employees to work for social causes, enrich sabbatical policies

Pranjal Dubey, a development manager at Sap Labs, has not gone to work in two years but is still an employee of the company. Dubey, who handles the technology team and projects for Asia Pacific and Japan, applied for a sabbatical in 2010 to launch the Sant Singaji Educational Society in his ancestral village in Madhya Pradesh.
Sap Labs has stood by Dubey in his dream to improve socio-economic conditions of youth in the village. The organisation typically offers sabbaticals fromthree months to two years, but Dubey plans to extend his sabbatical by another year to make his project self-sustainable.
Companies like Sap Labs are re-defining sabbaticals by encouraging employees who use them for the greater good. Sabbaticals are usually long leave periods granted to employees for personal exigencies or educational pursuits. Some companies, especially in the IT sector, are increasingly using sabbaticals to retain top talent, says Kaustubh Sonalkar, director of the people and change practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “The practice, prevalent abroad, is catching up in India,” he says.
Encouraging employees through sabbaticals helps in stemming attrition rates and the career rut that typically sets in after a few years. “Allowing employees to engage in social projects outside of work helps in organisational brand-building and gives employees a sense of purpose and achievement,” adds Sonalkar.
Organisations like Infosys also encourage employees to pursue sabbaticals for societal benefit apart from pursuing higher education and personal reasons.Under the community empathy policy, the company gives employees monetary support and a platform to involve themselves in development projects. Employees have the option of returning to regular work schedules after completing projects of up to a year.
“Those who return from a sabbatical display a broadened perspective of social issues and causes,” says Richard Lobo, AVP and head of employee relations at Infosys. The renewed understanding of macro issues also makes employees more productive and innovative, he adds.
About 50 employees have availed of the policy since its inception in 2008. Mohan Kadapure, a technical lead at Infosys, is one of them. This year, Kadapure applied for a sabbatical to work with Bangalore-based NGO Janaagraha to understand the different aspects of public policy. “From being focussed on solving business problems of technical clients, the sabbatical enabled me to do my bit to improve government processes,” he says. Kadapure worked on public records of operations and finance at Janaagraha and helped compile a first-ofits-kind study, which will be released this year.
Cadbury India is warming up to the idea of sabbaticals with plans of launching a formal policy this year. “Our intent is to help colleagues make theright choice, offer the right space, support them through the change and help them land a role they value,” says Rajesh Ramanathan, director, HR atCadbury India.
Companies are also looking at ways to keep employees engaged, post-sabbaticals. Maruti Suzuki is revising its sabbatical policy to make it more employee-friendly. Specifically, it is working on redefining the benefits of joining, post-sabbaticals. The idea is to align it to the aspirations of young talent –over 400 engineers and MBAs joining them every year – says SY Siddiqui, COO (administration).
As for the employees, sabbaticals offer greater motivation to influence change on the ground. Sap Labs’ Dubey, for instance, has also launched the Sant Singaji Institute of Science and Management, which provides vocation-oriented graduate degree programmes for young people in and around his village of Sandalpur. Dubey’s dreams have taken on a much larger dimension, and he says it would have not been possible without his company’s support. “Not only did I get considerable encouragement for my sabbatical, but my institute also benefitted through SAP’s CSR division, which starts computer labs in economically backward places,” he says.

Source: The Economic Times