Insurance companies lining up cashless OPD plans to make life easier

The next time you want to see the doctor, you may not have to pay, even if you are just an outpatient. But that’s only if you are covered by a health insurer which includes the hospital that you are visiting in its network. As with anything related to the business, there are many caveats, but this could still end up being the next big thing in health insurance — cashless OPD.
Some companies are experimenting with the concept of customers not having to pay when they visit an outpatient department, or OPD. Insurance companies only started covering outpatient treatment a few years ago, but strictly through reimbursements. That meant the customer paid and then put in a claim for the money. It wasn’t covered before that, with medical insurance policies only kicking in when there was a minimum 24 hours of hospitalisation. 
Apollo Munich’s Maxima is now offering vouchers for various services such as consultation and pharmacy.
“We are offering vouchers for OPD treatment with sub limits,” said Antony Jacob, MD and CEO of Apollo Munich Health Insurance. “This is available in designated outlets. We reimburse if the hospital is not in our network list.” There are limits — for consultations, the insurance company gives a voucher of Rs 600. There are also caps on the number of times a customer can seek a consultation to check against misuse.
The average premium for such plans is Rs 13,000-15,000, providing for coverage of Rs 3-5 lakh. ICICI Lombard is planning a similar product. “We are planning to bring OPD on cashless platform,” said Sanjay Datta, head of health at ICICI Lombard. “We will soon start a pilot.” This should help ease life for the average insurance customer.
“Cashless OPD is more about convenience, so that you do not have to follow up with the company for reimbursement,” said Rahul Agarwal, managing director, Optima Insurance Broker.
The move could encourage more people to opt for health insurance. At a time the economic slump has hit the nonlife insurance business, health is the fastest-growing segment, having benefitted from increased awareness due to the rise in medical costs. Health is also profitable for insurers with an incurred  claim ratio of 96.43%. This is the ratio of claims paid to premium earned. The government has also sought to promote health insurance by providing a tax break to those who buy policies.
Health insurance premiums grew 18.66% to Rs 13,975 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 11,777 crore a year before. Over the past seven years, the segment has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 30%, compared with 17.5% for the non-life industry 
The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority issued guidelines last year to bring uniformity in health insurance policies. These have led to the standardisation of commonly used medical terms, procedures, exclusions and claim forms. 


Source: The Economic Times

Date: 22nd January 2014

Companies like Goldman Sachs, Flipkart, Microsoft and others hiring briskly at non-IIM B-schools

A bunch of companies that will be in the thick of the IIM campus placement season — kicking off in two weeks — are already on the prowl, hiring healthy numbers from non-IIM B-schools across the country. Goldman Sachs is offering Rs 30 -Rs 34 lakh in some non-IIM colleges, while Flipkart, one of the regulars now is rolling out Rs 16-Rs 18 lakh packages.
Others like Microsoft, Asian Paints, ITC, GE, ICICI Bank, JP Morgan, Capgemini, Idea, Vodafone, Kellogg, Cognizant Business Consulting, CRISIL, Mahindra & Mahindra, Barclays, Wipro, IBM and Marico are all hiring briskly at the non-IIM B-schools. Beverage company Pernod Ricard is on the lookout for its international management trainee programme in Asia. All this suggests that IIM placements will be hotly contested this year, too, despite the bleak economic environment. 

Placement at non-IIM B-schools has been underway since December and IIM placements will start rolling in February, with older institutes from Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata leading the way. Sources from placement teams at such non-IIM B-schools say they are relieved as early hiring has been much better than their expectations. Goldman Sachs is one such example.

“Our overall recruitment from management schools has increased this year,” says V Bunty Bohra, chief executive officer Goldman Sachs Bangalore. E-commerce company Flipkart, which was one of the top recruiters at IITs with 118 hires, has taken an aggressive stance. It has already hired 20 MBAs from non IIM Bschools. Flipkart intends to hire in good numbers from the older IIMs, too, a company spokesperson said.

Pre-placement offers in large numbers have also been a saving grace in these uncertain times. Early evidence also suggests a slight uptick in salaries. “There will be at least a 15-20% increase in the average salary of 336 students this year,” says Kanwal Kapil, chairperson, placements, for MDI Gurgaon. Their average offer was Rs 12.9 lakh last year and the highest domestic salary was Rs 20.8 lakh by Amazon. WhileAmazon has recruited this year, too, an FMCG firm made the best domestic offer of Rs 23.5 lakh..

Even though early hiring is better than expected, companies are still careful to pick the right candidates. “A majority have redesigned their recruitment strategies by including additional stageslike psychometric tests, team tasks, essay writing, co-ordination and leadership qualities,” says Debashis Sanyal, dean, NMIMS School of Business Management.

The Mumbai-based institute has 450 students to place this year compared to 474 last year. More than one fourth of the companies coming this year are first-timers on campus.IMS Health, which provides information, services and technology for the global healthcare industry recruited a student from WE School (previously Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research) for Rs 20 lakh. This is Rs 7 lakh morethan what Accenture, the highest paying recruiter on the domestic front, offered last year. The batch of 2014 has 314 offers and 80% of the class isalready placed. “There are still several companies that are conducting the process and we should soon be be closing our hiring season with 100% placement,” says Uday Salunkhe, group director, WE School.

Down south, students of Manipalbased TA Pai Management School (TAPMI) have received over four international offers of Rs 47 lakh and highest domestic packages of Rs 12.5 lakh so far. “Engagement with prime industries such as business consulting, FMCG, investment banking, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, IT consulting, and airlines has increased substantially this season,” says RC Natarajan, , director, TAPMI.


Source: The Economic Times

Date: 24th January 2014

5 WAYS TO Strengthen Communication In The Team

Open communication plays a crucial role in binding a team and achieving business goals. Rica Bhattacharyya finds out how a manager can foster 
and strengthen communication among team members.

1 Listen to All Team Members “Ensuring each team member listens to what others say encourages the team to ask questions and stay up-to-date,” says Shalini Sarin, country partner — VP HR & CSR, Schneider Electric India. As a leader one should not allow opinions to be dismissed, as this can dent younger team members’ self-confidence. “One leadership style I like to use is to encourage the team to challenge me,” she says. “It is important for leader to recognise those who are making first attempts,” adds Kamlesh Dangi, group chief people officer, Religare Enterprises. 
2 Loosen up the Hierarchy “While hierarchies are needed for smooth functioning, they often lead to vertical communication. For communication to be multidirectional, the leader must loosen up hierarchies without creating insecurities,” says Dangi. For this to happen, the leader must also be a contributing team member. “Creating new communication platforms will give team members more opportunities to communicate with each other,” he says. 
3 Cross-Train Employees Inculcating a sense of empathy always makes room for better communication. “Allowing team members to develop an educated perspective by making them understand the critical elements of other members’ jobs and responsibilities helps foster a sense of appreciation,” says Sarin. This inspires team members to communicate with one another without prejudice, she adds. 
4 Air Issues Frequently Bringing all team members under one common roof and discussing each other’s grievances, as well as any changes planned in the organisation, strengthenscommunication within the team. “Most importantly, it encourages them to relay details directly so that openness can be achieved during communication,” says Sarin. Also, one way to break the ice is to create regular opportunities to socialise outside the office. 
5 Build Transparency Transparency helps a team communicate effectively. “Team members need to trust each other and relate to one another positively,” says Dangi. When a leader ensures that every team member understands the ‘why’ behind every decision and encourages others to do the same, then team members will not be wary of hidden agendas and may even communicate freely with each other, he adds.


News – Economic Times

Date – 31-1-2014

IRDA sets up 9-member panel to review FSLRC recommendations

Insurance regulator IRDA has set up a nine-member committee to review the 14 non-legislative recommendations made by the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC). The committee will also examine the extant legislative and regulatory framework in compliance 14 non-legislative recommendations (NLRs), IRDA said in an order. 

The non-legislative recommendations are related with consumer protection, transparency and capacity building, among others. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) said the committee will submit its report by April-end. 
The committee members include C R Muralidharan, G Prabhakara, and Mathew Varghese, all ex-Members, IRDA and M S Sahoo, ex-Member, SEBI. The committee will identify the gaps and possible improvements in the extant framework vis-a-vis the 14 NLR. 

The panel will also suggest changes or modifications to the extant framework in compliance with the 14 NLR. While not much progress has been made towards implementing the recommendations made in FSLRC report, which was submitted to the government in March last year, the Finance Ministry has called for early implementation of the non-legislative proposals contained therein. 

The finance ministry recently asked regulators to voluntarily implement the non-legislative recommendations of FSLRC, while issuing a ‘guidance handbook’ on this matter. 
According to the guidance handbook, there are a number of recommendations in the FSLRC report which are in the nature of governance enhancing and do not require legislative changes. The implementation of the NLR made by the FSLRC was discussed by the Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC). 

In its report, the FSLRC has recommended sweeping changes to the way financial sector is regulated in the country, including in areas ranging from banking and insurance to capital markets, among others.


Source: The Economic Times

Date: 3rd February 2014