“My employer health cover is enough” Group plans are useful, but not enough because of the terms and conditions.

DO YOU have medical insurance Most people in the organised sector are covered by group medical insurance from their employers. While such covers are definitely useful, they may not be enough. Group plans have too many strings attached and offer very low cover due to sub-limits on various heads. A person who depends only on his group medical cover is never fully covered. Besides, the cover is valid only till you are with a company. If you are between jobs, you and your family may not have any cover during the intervening period. The group health cover may also become invalid if the company fails to pay the premium or if the insurer pulls out of the contract. In both situations, the employee has little say in the matter. Moreover, not all employer-provided health policies offer protection to the entire family. If you have dependent parents, you will need to buy a separate health cover for them. In recent years, many companies have cut costs on health care by reducing the coverage or introducing restrictions.


Negotiating Tips for People Who HATE Negotiating

I hate negotiating. (Hate negotiating.) To me, a negotiation always feels at least a little confrontational and I’m a confrontation-averse kinda guy.

Unfortunately, negotiating is a fact of business life.

So if like me you’re an admitted negotiating sissy, here are a few ways to make negotiating a little less stressful, a little more fun, and a lot more successful:

1. Go first.

Many hesitate to make the first bid because the think going first could mean missing out on an opportunity. “If I quote a price of $5,000,” the thinking goes, “and he would have offered $7,000, then I leave money on the table.” In the real world that rarely happens, though, because the other side usually has a reasonable understanding of value.

The value of an offer is highly influenced by the first relevant number—an anchor—that enters a negotiation. That anchor strongly influences the rest of the negotiation. So go ahead and set that anchor. Make the first offer.

Research shows that when a seller makes the first offer the final price is typically higher than if the buyer made the first offer. Why? The buyer’s first offer will always be low. That sets a lower anchor.

In negotiations, anchors matter. So set one. If you’re buying, start the bidding low. If you’re selling, start the bidding high.

2. Never set a range.

People love to ask for ballpark figures. Don’t provide them because ballpark figures set anchors, too.

For example, don’t say, “My guess is the cost will be somewhere between $500 and $1,0000.” The buyer will naturally want the final cost to be as close to $500 as possible—even if what you are eventually asked to provide should cost well over $1,000.

Never provide an estimate when you don’t have enough information. Keep asking questions instead.

3. Use silence as a tool.

Most of us talk a lot when we’re nervous, but when we talk a lot we also miss a lot.

If you make an offer and the seller says, “That is way too low,” don’t respond right away. Sit tight. The seller will start talking in order to fill the silence.

Maybe he’ll list reasons why your offer is too low. Maybe he’ll share why he needs to make a deal so quickly. Most of the time the seller will fill the silence with useful information—information you would never have learned if you were speaking.

Listen and think a lot more than you speak. When you do speak, ask open-ended questions. You can’t meet in the middle, much less on your side of the middle, unless you know what the other side really needs.

Be quiet. They’ll tell you.

4. Expect the best.

High expectations typically lead to high outcomes. Always go into the negotiation assuming you can get what you want. Always assume you can make a deal on your terms.

You can’t get what you want if you don’t ask for what you want. 

5. Concede for a reason.

Say a buyer asks you to cut your price. Always get something in return by taking something off the table. Every price reduction or increase in value should involve a trade-off of some kind.

Follow the same logic if you’re the buyer. When you make a second offer, always ask for something else in return for a higher price.

And if you expect the negotiations to drag on, early on ask for things you don’t really want so you can concede them later.

6. Don’t negotiate alone.

While you have the final word being the ultimate decision-maker can leave you feeling cornered. Always have a reason to step away and get a final okay from another person, even if that other person is just you.

It might feel wimpy to say, “I need to talk this over with a few people first,” but it’s better to feel wimpy than to get pressured into a decision you don’t want to make.

7. Use time to your advantage.

Even though you may hate negotiating, never try to wrap a negotiation up as soon as possible just to be done with it. Haste always results in negotiation waste.

Plus there’s another advantage to going slowly. Even though money may never change hands, negotiations are still an investment in time. The more time the other side puts in the more they will want to close the deal… and the more likely they will be to make concessions so they can close the deal.

While a few people actually will walk away, most will hang in for much longer than you might think.

8. Ignore bold statements.

Never assume everything you hear is true. The bolder the statement the more likely it is to be a negotiating tactic.

Strong statements are either a bullying tactic or a sign of insecurity. (Or, often times, both.) If you feel intimidated, walk away. Otherwise, listen closely for what lies underneath the bluster and posturing.

9. Give the other person room.

You feel defensive when you feel trapped; so does the other side.

Push too hard and take away every option and the other person may have no choice but to walk away. That means you both lose. So…

10. Don’t try to “win.”

Negotiating isn’t a game to be won or lost. The best negotiation leaves both people feeling they received something of value.

Don’t try to be a ruthless negotiator; if you hate negotiating you simply aren’t built that way.

Embrace that fact and instead always try to…

11. Build a relationship.

Never take too much from the table, and never leave too much.

As you negotiate, always think about how what you say and do can help establish a long-term business relationship. A long-term relationship not only makes negotiating easier the next time, it also makes your business world a better place.

And that alone is an outstanding outcome.

Source: Linked In

General Insurance Corporation to cut terror cover cost, doubles limit to Rs 1,500 crore.

MUMBAI: National reinsurer General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re) has decided to bring down the cost of terror cover and has increased limits under the national terror insurance pool which it manages. Also, in a shift from its earlier stance, the terror pool would pay commission to insurance brokers to discourage them from placing business in the international market.


      GIC will now offer cover up to Rs 1,500 crore, which is double the limit it was offering five years back. The rates have been lowered because there were not many major claims after the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. “Overseas underwriters are undercutting us in terror insurance. But brokers are placing business overseas without verifying whether claims are likely to be paid,” said A K Roy, chairman, GIC.


      He added that there was an incident where a large Indian business house’s terror insurance claims were not settled by an international underwriter despite losses following a Naxalite attack.

      After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, terror has become an excluded risk from all insurance policies and international reinsurers had stopped covering any losses on account of terror attacks. To ensure continuity of cover, the Indian non-life industry set up a ‘terror insurance pool’ which would provide cover without recourse to international underwriters. Since then, the global market has opened up and rates have softened. To incentives brokers to place business in India, GIC has decided to offer commission to brokers who bring terror insurance business.


      Speaking to newspersons at the inauguration of GIC HousingBSE 3.36 % Finance’s new head office in Mumbai, Roy said that GIC’s share of international business has increased to 50% from 45%. He added that the corporation was keen to diversify its business from various markets as this would add stability to the business.


       Roy said that the corporation was on the lookout for an acquisition of a reinsurance company with Lloyd’s membership to get a foothold in the world’s largest reinsurance market. “We find that it is better to have business from across the world as, if there is problem in one market, there are other markets to make up,” said Roy.


      As a part of a consortium of aviation underwriters, GIC has a share in most aviation claims. Roy said that GIC had a 3% share in the missing Malaysian Airline flight No. MH 370. “We will go by whatever decision is taken by the lead underwriter,” said Roy. According to news reports, German insurer Allianz was the main underwriter of the airline and has already started making payments on the claim.


Source: Economic Times

Date: 4/4/14


Stuck in their 
    workstations twenty-four seven, a majority of our Indian workforce leads a stressful and sedentary life. While companies struggle to keep their staff motivated nowadays, an event like a marathon provides 
an interesting diversion. A corporate marathon is a celebration of employees bonding together to encourage a spirit of community wellness in the area and help showcase their endurance and tenacity. 
    Today, several large organisations have realised that teams that play together, stay together. 
Microsoft India Development Center concluded its month-long ‘Giving Campaign’ with a five-km run last November. They saw participation from over 150 employees across all Microsoft businesses at the Hyderabad campus. Another US-based consulting company, Deloitte, had organised its 10K marathon recently. Held in Hyderabad as well, it had 3,500 employees putting their efforts together and demonstrating a sense of social responsibility. 
    Wipro has started a running club at their Bangalore office, where more than 50 employees along with their families and friends come to train for long distance running with an expert coach. The facility is available at no cost to the employees and their friends. With a lot more sponsors, and participation from various groups, The Wipro Chennai Marathon is an event that Chennai has embraced fully. TCS has a great history of marathons. Their association with the Mumbai Marathon began 
with the 2008 edition where they have been the title sponsor of the TCS World 10K Bangalore since 2011. TCS is associated with such events to promote wellness and raise money for local charities. Every year, they have 1,500 participants running in various categories in the Mumbai Marathon and 4,000 participate in the TCS World 10K Bangalore. 
    A financial services company, Wells Fargo organised its 10K run recently. Driven by the credo of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, the Wells Fargo centres and facilities are sustainable sites with high-performing features, and strict energy and resource management. Priyadarshini Chhetri who participated in the 10K run/walk/ride said, “I often go cycling for fun on the weekends but this was the first time I had participated in an event like this. When I registered for the event, I thought that this would be a good way to check how fit I am and test whether I can complete 10km on the cycle. I was really happy to cycle all the way!” Vishnupriya Saksena, head of corporate sustainability, Wells Fargo India Solutions said, “We are committed to finding new ways to minimise energy consumption, use renewable sources of energy, and inspire others to do the same. In addition, volunteers consistently work to educate and create awareness about greener living amongst team members through various initiatives, look for opportunities to change or enhance current processes to make them greener, and also participate in external events which help the environment.” 
    Sasi Kumar, executive director, Ernst and Young says, “Marathons prove to be a spectacular way of combining a social wellness programme and building a sense of social responsibility at the same time. In my view, corporate runs and marathons help people relate to a larger sense of direction and purpose both at personal and professional levels. They also bring in a culture of working hard for longterm goals. As a runner, at a personal level, I have gained immensely in terms of bringing discipline in life, being able to engage my ‘self ’ within, staying focused and sustaining persistence over a longer period.” And so, new milestones continue to be forged in the history of corporate milestones.


Source: Times of India

Date: 9/4/14

NEGOTIATE A GOOD SALARY Wait patiently and don’t hesitate to ask for the compensation you want.

    It may be the last leg of this journey, but negotiating the salary is perhaps the most crucial. Here are some tips on how to strike a great bargain with the new employer. 
Don’t discuss pay too early 
Don’t make the mistake of quoting your salary expectations before you are asked to. Experts say one should be ready to talk about compensation, but not initiate the discussion. If you jump the gun and state your expectations too early, the employer will be forced to take a decision which could also go against you. Wait patiently till the company has decided that you are the best man for the job. Then you can ask for a good remuneration and, believe us, the company will try its utmost to meet your expectations. 
Don’t commit too quickly 
Bargaining is part of the game. You should not fault an employer for giving an offer that doesn’t sound great. A lot of people fail here because they think the company will take back the offer and hire somebody else. It doesn’t work that way though. Most companies expect candidates to negotiate. So, don’t be afraid to push the envelope and say no. Even if it doesn’t sweeten the deal, no company will take back the offer because the candidate rejected it. 
Mention your options 
If you have been shortlisted by another employer or already have an offer, tell the interviewer about it. This is also useful when you are negotiating an increment at your current company. The fact that you have a choice, will force the employer to improve the offer. Don’t make up stories of offers in your pocket, though. It’s not difficult to crosscheck and shows you in a poor light. 
Designation and grade matter 
Even if the salary looks good, don’t agree to the offer if it is a step down for you in terms of designation and salary grade. Though designations and grades vary across companies and sectors, don’t accept something that is lower compared to your current assignment. A higher grade is better because you can expect a raise without needing a promotion. 
Analyse offer in detail 
Even if you are a chartered accountant, you can’t instantly analyse the pay package offered to you. One needs to look at the taxability of the various components of the compensation package. Calculate the take-home pay and the percentage hike to know if it is good, bad or ugly. Don’t sign on the dotted line till you know your final take-home pay.

Source : The Economic Times

Date – 7/4/2014

BEFORE YOU CHANGE First explore if you can change the factors that are riling you.


First explore if you can change the factors that are riling you.

    Changing jobs should be the last resort though. For instance, if you don’t get a fair deal in the appraisal, don’t counter that with a resignation. If your boss is cut up about punctuality, maybe you need to read up on time management. If you don’t get along with your co-workers, find ways to avoid a confrontation. Switch to a new job only if everything else fails. 
Get the pay you deserve 
The 10% hike estimated by the Aon Hewitt survey is the average and many employees may have to make do with far less. When consumer inflation is more than 10%, a 7-8% pay hike is actually a wage cut in real terms. If you feel that you deserve more, talk to your boss about it. You have to be persuasive without sounding demanding. You have to highlight your capabilities without bragging. 
    Do some spadework beforehand. Size up your contribution in the past year. Empirical evidence is what will convince him that you deserve a better deal. 
    A word of advice. It’s never a good idea to compare your pay with that of another colleague when discussing compensation with your boss. Instead, focus on your own contribution and compensation. 
Dealing with difficulties 
As mentioned earlier, pay is not the only reason why an individual may want to change jobs. A congenial work atmosphere is also important. If you are facing problems at the workplace, don’t let them simmer inside you. If you don’t get along well with a colleague, wait for a time of relative calm when the issue can be discussed objectively. Or get your boss to assign duties in a way that you don’t have to work with the problem guy. 
    Your options narrow down significantly if the boss himself is the problem. Working with a bully can be very stressful, which impacts your productivity, as also your health. Avoid confrontations as far as possible. However, a resignation letter is the best known and most effective remedy for a bad boss. 
Too much or too little work 
The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the employees. It’s great to be part of this hyper-productive lot, but it can take a toll on your work-life balance. If you feel bogged down by too much work and are unable to find time for your family, talk to your superiors about it. Too much work can be exhilarating in the beginning but can swiftly lead to a burnout. 
    On the other hand, too little work is also detrimental to your career growth. You don’t gain enough experience if all you do through the day is send a few e-mails and check a couple of spreadsheets prepared by someone else. Too easy a job could make you uncompetitive and unfit for a larger role. It could also be a sign that your boss doesn’t trust you. Ask for more work if you are bored.


Source :The Economic Times

Date – 7/4/2014

Family floaters gain as healthcare costs rise Buyers Bank On Cheaper Plans With Higher Sum Insured | Sales Of Individual Covers Fall

Mumbai:In a bid to cut down their health insurance bill, buyers are increasingly turning to family floater policies — covers where a single sum insured is available for all members of a family. These policies allow the customer to buy a cover with a single ‘floating’ sum insured for, say, Rs 9 lakh rather than buying individual covers of Rs 3 lakh for each person of a four member family. 
    In the case of ICICI Lombard General Insurance, the largest private health insurer, sales of family floater policies have risen 6.3% in FY14 on the back of 6.4% growth in FY13. This was even as sales of individual policies dropped 15% after a sluggish 3% growth in the earlier year. 
    “We are seeing a trend of policyholders shifting from individual to floater policies in health insurance. Our analysis is that in 99% of the cases, this is the right call as it is very unlikely that the entire sum insured will be utilized,” said Sanjay Datta, head (underwriting and claims), ICICI Lombard General Insurance. 
    According to Datta, family floaters work well from an insurance company’s perspective as well because they diversify risk. “There have been instances when individuals have bought a larger sum insured for themselves and a lower sum insured for children to cut costs. In floater policies, they do not have to make such a call,” he said. 
    New India Assurance, the largest health insurer, introduced a new floater policy in mid-March. The company has already sold over 5,000 family plans in less than a fortnight. “I would definitely say that the market is moving towards floater plans. There is a growing awareness of the need for a high sum insured and this is possible through a floater plan,” said Segar Sampathkumar, general manager, New India Assurance. 
    He added that buyers are consciously making a choice when faced with the possibility that more than one person might undergo major medical expenses, but that probability is extremely low. Even for such remote situations, there might be solutions in future. “Insurance companies might come out with solutions like a double insurance cover in case of accidents,” said Sampathkumar. 
    Manasije Mishra, CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance, said, “Our research shows that consumers prioritize families’ health over their own and they seek products that can meet the needs of all members. In our experience, as people get more healthaware, more and more are opting for family health insurance policies and with rising cost of healthcare, more customers will choose to obtain comprehensive protection for their families.” 
    Max Bupa has a policy that covers the health needs of extended families and can cover up to 13 family relationships under a single policy. 
    “The family floater policies are more economical than the individual ones. For instance, in case of a family of three covered under Max Bupa’s policy, all the family members can claim multiple times up to the individual sum assured limits and collectively also to utilize the floater amount, if needed. This will be costeffective compared to buying three individual health policies for a similar coverage,” said Mishra. 
    A family floater policy not only benefits the buyer but also diversifies the insurer’s risks Sales of ICICI Lombard General’s floater plans increased by over 6% in both FY13 & FY14 
New India Assurance sold over 5,000 of its latest family floater policy within a fortnight 
Max Bupa now offers a policy that covers 13 relationships, other cos may offer innovations like double cover in accidents


Source : Times Of India

Date – 7/4/2014