Turn That Temp Job Into a Permanent Position

Temp jobs may seem like relics of a by-gone era, but in the wake of the Great Recession and its record job losses, temping has once again found a place in our corporate culture. Temporary assignments can be a viable alternative in an environment where permanent, full time positions are hard to come by. A job is a job after all. But what if you could actually turn that temporary position into a permanent one? While there are no guarantees, there are things you can do as a temporary employee to make sure you come out at the head of the pack.

My mother is living proof of this. She took a temporary position as an administrative assistant at a small trucking company in the early 80′s. After a couple of months on the job, her supervisor (also the owner of the company) told her that he was seeking someone for a full time office manager position. My mother was in the running with a few other candidates and some of her stiffer competition had degrees and qualifications that blew her away on paper. My mother, however, got the job.

A year later, she was a 25% owner of the company and helped grow it into a thriving business. So how did she manage to get the job despite being “less qualified” than her competition? She became indispensable. The beauty of a temp position is that it’s almost like an extended interview in which you can actually walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. If you want to make sure your next temp gig ends in a full time hire, these tips can help increase your chances.

1. Work Hard

Duh. This kind of goes without saying, but I’m including it because all too often, people won’t give 100 percent on a temp assignment. They perceive it as less important than a permanent position and don’t see the point in busting their hump at a job they won’t have for more than a month or two. While I wouldn’t recommend this kind of attitude in any position, it may not be too big of an issue if you know the job isn’t for you or you truly are just temping.

If you are serious about turning the position into a permanent one, then you need to put in the extra effort. Make yourself available, flexible and indispensable. Pretend like you’ve already got the permanent position and you’re gunning for a promotion. Volunteer to take on tasks, lend a hand on someone else’s project if you’re done with yours, get in early and stay late if necessary. Just make sure they can’t live without the quality work that you do.

2. Learn About the Company and the Culture

Once you’ve got your amazing work ethic nailed down, turn your attention to the larger picture. Do some research on the company and get to know their story. Where the company comes from and who the leadership team is will directly impact the kind of culture you experience on the job. Is the company small and friendly but subject to a lot of unspoken rules about hierarchy and dress code? Or do you work at a large corporation where the relationships aren’t as warm but procedure is clear and important? Understanding these nuances and working within them signals to your supervisors that you’re a good fit.

3. Be Part of the Team

One of the unfortunate side effects of being a temp is feeling like you’re on the outside looking in. In order to be a good fit for the company you need to make an effort to break out of your role as “the temp” and be noticed by your co-workers. Build relationships whenever you can, even if it’s over a love of crochet or fly fishing. When it comes down to getting the permanent position, your fly fishing aficionado might be the one that pipes up on your behalf. If your colleagues feel like they know you and what you’re capable of, they’ll be more likely to go to bat for you or at least sing your praises in the break room.

What’s more, even if your permanent position falls through, the friends or connections you’ve made during your time at the company can be a huge networking tool when it comes to finding that next position. Building relationships is key – period. If you want to be more than the sum of your resume, people need to know who you are.

4. Ask for the Job

If you want to be considered for a permanent position, then at some point you need to communicate this fact to a supervisor or colleague, but be careful. There is a fine line between being clear and being a stage five clinger. There’s a good chance your supervisor isn’t psychic so letting them know that you would be interested in a permanent position would be a good idea, but don’t ask about it your first week on the job and don’t ask about every week on the job. Should the subject come up on its own take advantage of the opportunity without being aggressive or pushy.

My mother landed that permanent position back in ’81 because she knew that working hard, integrating, building relationships and asserting herself was going to put her over the top when the time came. There was no guarantee that was going to get the position, but she made it as hard as possible for her supervisor to say no, and in the end he couldn’t.

Source : LinkedIn

The 7 Deadly Sins for Job Hunters

I’m no stranger to Sydney’s job market. This is my fourth job hunt.

Anyone who’s new to Sydney will sympathise with me. It’s challenging to find out where one fits in a new country with a different corporate culture and what’s more, we’re amidst a great deal of economic changes.

Just take a look at the job titles. Many of those were not around a few years ago.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you the 7 universal sins of job bunters in the hopes that it may aid you in finding your calling sooner.

Sin #1: Ignoring the Hidden Job Market

Exploring the hidden job market is as easy as asking your friends and family how work’s going. Maybe they need someone with your skills and background. Make sure that everyone in your social circles knows that you’re looking for a job. Being unemployed is nothing to be ashamed of.

Sin #2: Not Having a Transition Resume

It may be that your skills are no longer valid in today’s economy. In that case, make sure you can apply your soft skills to the new types of jobs that you’re seeing in the job market. Use some of the new keywords you’re seeing associated with the jobs you’re interested in and describe what you’re seeking as an objective in your transition resume.

Sin #3: Not Coaching Your Referees

Make sure your referees know what types of jobs you’re pursuing and that you agree on which achievements, strengths and weaknesses will be discussed should they be called.

Sin #4: Discussing Money too Early

Take some time to understand the role, the objectives and the employer’s needs before there’s any discussion of money. Your aim is to demonstrate that you value the work you’ll be doing and that you’re passionate about the role. This is what good employers look for.

Sin #5: Falling into the “Tell me About Yourself” Trap

The way to address this question should be to discuss the question of why you’re there and what you’re looking to do for the employer. Always relate this question to what your employer may be looking for in meeting some of their challenges.

Sin #6: Talking too Much

The talk you have with your potential employer should be limited to the scope of what you can bring to the company, initially. Once you develop better relationships, over a course of interactions, you can start opening up more.

Sin #7: Not Approaching Companies Directly

Don’t restrict yourself to job boards. Target a few companies you’d like to work for and check their websites and listings regularly.

I hope these are some good pointers for now and remember it’s only the job market. Nothing is as deadly for your career as not doing anything. Make sure you’re calling, meeting, talking and networking on a daily basis to attract those opportunities.

Feel free to try out new approaches and just approach anyone you think might be in a position to help you. This is the only way to learn and improve.

Good luck!


Source : LinkedIn

5 Keys to Becoming Indispensable at Work

There are times when every business is going through a restructure. Some companies seem to do this every few years, some every year, and some seem to be undergoing one eternal restructure!

Have you ever noticed that some people are restructure proof? Fear does not grip their body at the mention of that word. They never leave. They never get demoted. They are important to the company.

This reminds me of a story. Please excuse me; we are a training company, so there is always a story.

A big corporation hired several cannibals. “You are all part of our team now,” said the HR manager during the welcome briefing. “You get all the usual benefits and you can go to the cafeteria for something to eat, but please don’t eat any of the other employees.”

The cannibals promised they would not.

A few weeks later, the cannibals’ boss remarked, “You’re all working very hard, and I’m satisfied with you. However, one of our secretaries has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to her?” The cannibals all shook their heads, “No,” they said.

After the boss left, the leader of the cannibals said to the others angrily, “Right, which one of you idiots ate the secretary?” A hand rose hesitantly in admission. “You fool!” said the leader. “For weeks, we’ve been eating managers and no one noticed anything, but noooooo, you had to go and eat someone important!”

Are you someone important to your company? Would they miss you if you were no longer there?

When most people hear that dreaded word ‘restructure,’ fear fills their mind and the thought arises: “Am I going to be made redundant?” This is generally followed by a blubbering cry of, “Who will hire me? I have a mortgage to pay, car payments, and I need money to wash the dog!”

How can we make sure that we are someone important? What can we do to be in the best position to remain in the company? How can we be one of those people that are indispensable?

In my preparation for writing this blog, I decided to get some wisdom from people I respect. I asked some of our best clients — senior managers who work for global companies. These people have walked the walk; they have been bulletproof when it comes to restructure.

These are their 5 Keys to Becoming Indispensable at Work:

  1.  Hold the mindset that change provides opportunity.

There is an ancient wisdom etched into Chinese vocabulary. The Chinese ideogram for crisis consists of two separate characters. One means danger; the other means opportunity. The proper translation is that a crisis is a dangerous opportunity. When confronted with a crisis, you need to recognise both the danger and the opportunity. Often the danger is more readily apparent, while the opportunity can be deftly concealed. The thing to keep in mind is to look for the opportunity as well as the danger. Crisis holds the potential for both.

In studying hundreds of famous people, whether politicians, sportspeople, business people, or spiritual leaders, I have found that crisis comes to every person in some way. Those who rise in the midst of crisis and see it as an opportunity to change and grow become greater and more powerful. They reach heights that they would never have attained had they never experienced that crisis. As masterful innovator Walt Disney put it, “You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth might be the best thing in the world for you.”

When change is imminent, hold the mindset that change provides opportunity, remain positive, and don’t dwell on the danger but dwell on the opportunity.

  1.  Do not overfocus on the next job position but rather on the skills to be developed.

I think that most people today are aware that the company does not have the same amount of loyalty to you that they used to a few years ago. There was a time the company would have a track for your life. You could go and meet with your manager and they could tell you where you are going and when you will get there.

Today, you are your manager and you need to plan out your own career path to your dream job. Therefore, it is important that you are not focused on the job position, but rather on the skills required.

I like to say it like this: “You have to do the job before you get the title.” In other words, if you want to be the CIO, then you need to develop the hard and soft skills required for a CIO; you need the education of a CIO, you need to start dressing like a CIO, acting like a CIO, speaking like a CIO, and then one day, when you have had the right amount of experience, someone is going to say, “I think Jessica would make a great CIO!”

  1.  Building relationships with key decision makers.

It’s not only what you know but whom you know. I have seen people scoot all the way up the ladder of a company through being connected closely with key decision makers.

Think of football coaches: they build their team and work with players for years, and then they get headhunted to another club as head coach, and what is the first thing they do? They try to get their key players to move to the new club, as well. They are like a positive cliché. Where one goes, they all go. Some coaches and key players move together all the way through their playing life.

Why? Because just as the players think that the coach has made them succeed, the coach thinks that the players have helped him or her succeed. They are a powerful team, and they feel powerful together. Sir Edmund Hillary needed Tenzing Norgay to climb Everest. We all need to find an “internal coach” whom we can work with and who would support us to climb our Everest.

  1.  Exhibit the ability to get ‘stuff’ done.

How do you build these key relationships? You build them by working on projects with key stakeholders, complimenting their skills, and making them look good.

As one senior manager put it to me, “Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work for some great ‘blue sky’ leaders, but they couldn’t project-manage their way out of a lunch bag. While I’ve probably not been the best at brainstorming new and creative ideas, in many situations I’ve been able to take their ‘kernel’ of an idea, pour some fertiliser on it, and make it grow and flourish into a great program and actually implement it.”

In projects, there are two key parts–the front end and the back end, people and tasks, marketing and operations, talkers and doers. If the key stakeholder is a talker, then you need to be a doer. If you are the key doer to the key stakeholder, then you ain’t going nowhere fast! They need you to keep making their projects succeed.

  1.  Treat everyone with genuine respect.

It’s not just about managing well, but also about how you treat your peers, team members, and vendors alike. You never know who you may be working for or with some day, so treat everyone as you’d want to be treated and keep confidences when someone confides in you and wants some advice. As one senior manager in a global I.T. company put it to me, “I believe in creating good karma with those you interact with.”

Along with the other things I have mentioned, this will stand you in good stead with decision makers and bring you allies and supporters in the organisation. When business takes a turn for the worse and they’re considering who to cut, you often won’t make the list if you have built those relationships and have shown the ability to deliver with quality over and over again.

Source: LinkedIn

IRDA seeks to demat life covers

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) is considering making it mandatory for life insurance companies to issue policies in dematerialized form from later this year. In the short term, it will make it mandatory for lifecompanies to link up their systems to insurance repositories and provide policyholders with an option to hold policies in electronic form.

Last year, the insurance regulator had licensed five companies to provide insurance repository services.

These were NSDL Database Management Limited, Central Insurance Repository Limited, SHCIL Projects Limited, CAMS Repository Services Limited and Karvy Insurance Repository Limited.

Insurance repositories are the equivalent of depositories in the capital markets.

Just as an investor needs to open a one-time depository account, the repository re

quires policyholders to open an e-insurance account free of charge. Although the service was inaugurated by then finance minister P Chidambaram in Septemberlast year, life insurers have been slow to come on board.

As a result, only about one lakh e-insurance accounts have been opened and the number of policies that have been dematerialized are a few thousand.

One reason for the slow pick-up is that only ten of the 24 life insurance companies have signed up to provide de

mat policies to their customers. Some of the larger players, like Life Insurance Corporation and SBI Life Insurance, are yet to come on board. Private companies that provide e-insurance account include ICICI Prudential, HDFC Life, Birla Sun Life, Star Union Dai-ichi and Aegon Religare.

According to S V Ramanan, CEO of CAMS Insurance Repository , demat policies would benefit both the customer as well as the insurance company . “In both maturity and death claims, there is no requirement for submission of original policy. Given the long-term nature of life insurance, loss of policy document is a frequent problem faced by customer,” he said.

He added that insurance companies would benefit as much of the back office work of sending reminders and maintaining records would be undertaken by the repository. “This will be similar to what is happening in the mutual fund industry where all aspects of customer service are taken care of by the registrar and transfer agents and the funds focus only on selling an investment. There is a huge cost saving and companies will have to open fewer offices for customer service,” he said.

The other advantage of an account with a repository is that the customer will have to undergo the ‘know your customer’ procedure only once and subsequent purchases can be done on the basis of the information already stored with the repository.

Source : The Times of India

Date :22-5-2014.

Checklist to review before you start your job search

In my experience, people looking for roles are often led by what roles are on offer rather than thinking about what they truly want from their next career move. This tends to make sense as they are usually busy with their current position and don’t have too much time to spend on the job hunt. It is often a ‘quick look’ at a job board that sparks the interest in pursuing something as a wait and see.

My question to candidates is always ‘what is their ideal role?’ regardless of the position they may be a candidate for. The reason being, if this is a career move that is going to be at least 3-4 year proposition, you need to assess the opportunity against what you REALLY want, rather than letting the role criteria dictate what you think is best for you. As an executive recruiter, this also helps me assess if someone is a suitable candidate for the role.

So here is a small checklist of things to consider:

  1. Culture & benefits – What are the important hallmarks of the culture you want? Is it openness, inclusion, celebration? Flexibility, bonus, career progression, international relocation, additional annual leave etc
  2. Values – What are the values of the business and do they align to yours?
  3. Hiring Manager – What is it you want in your manager ? Do you need coaching or do you want autonomy or a blend? What are the questions you are going to ask to establish what’s important to you?
  4. Business results – Is the business tracking well/are they in a good position for growth? This may impact the engagement/motivation of employees.
  5. Portfolio & scope– What will you be working on? Is it something you can see yourself believing in? Are you mandated?
  6. Team – Are you part of a cross-functional team or working in a silo? Is the team collaborative? Will you manage a team? Is this important to you?
  7. Location – Is the role location viable? Can you really handle that commute every day?
  8. Travel – Is there a lot of travel? Is this something you want that isn’t offered?

You can rate these factors or tick yes or no to realise what is important to you. By thinking about this in general terms first, you can then assess any roles as they come up against the check list.

You may not be in a position to have everything on the list but at least you can go into the search with a clear idea on what the ‘ideal’ looks like.


Source : Article from Linked In. 

Cold Calling Objections – “I’m not interested.”

Picking up the phone and cold calling can be one of the hardest things we have to do in our sales careers. That is until you are equipped with the skills to overcome cold calling objections and challenges by potential prospects.

We are going to start with the Top 3 Knee Jerk/Reflex reactions you get from prospects when calling on them.

  1. I’m not interested.
  2. Can you send me some information?
  3. We have already been taken care of.

Just to be clear, Knee Jerk and Reflex responses have nothing to do with you. When you call, people are busy. Their focus is not on you or your product. You are interrupting their day, and whatever they were doing, so they want to get back to whatever it was as soon as possible. If what they are currently doing is working, why should they listen to you?

Our goal on this call is to get their attention and redirect their focus to the benefits of speaking with us regarding our products or services.

Prospect Response #1: “I’m not interested”

This is used to get you off the phone, and let them get back to what they were doing. Even if it was nothing. Our challenge is the status quo, and our goals is to win the right to speak about our products or services. Choose of the options below, and begin to test which one works best for you.

Option #1:

“That’s fine and many of my best clients told me the same thing as well. But as they learned more about this and saw the benefits, they were glad they took a few minutes. One thing they liked….(add what they liked), is that something that you could benefit from?”

Option #2:

“I didn’t expect you to be interested, you don’t know enough about it yet. But I do know you’re interested in (provide a benefit here – saving money, increasing production, return, etc..) and that’s what we do.” and continue with your pitch.

Option #3:

“I know that _______, if you were interested you’d have called me! But seriously, I know you get a lot of calls, and every now and then it makes sense to listen to the right call, and this is it.”

Option #4:

“________ you probably get a lot of these calls, don’t you? You know, I get them, too, and believe me, I don’t like getting them any more than you do. But every now and then I listen because sometimes I there’s some information out there that will benefit me. And this is that kind of call for you. Let me ask you a quick question (make it a good one to uncover their need!)


Source : Article from Linked In. 

5 WAYS TO Be a Good Follower at Work

To be a good leader in future, it’s important to demonstrate oneself as a good follower, a key factor in a person’s professional development.
Rica Bhattacharyya finds out a few skills that can make a professional a good follower and hence a better leader.
1 Frequent Communication Maintaining frequent communication with the manager is one of the foremost needs to being a good follower at work. “Leaders count on followers who will be self-starters in their work, but who keep them informed about what they are doing, and any challenges they may be experiencing,“ says Sudhir Dhar, senior VP and head HR, Motilal Oswal Financial Services. Most leaders have preferred methods of communication. It could be useful to know that.
2 High Commitment A good follower at work is one who is trustworthy and fully accountable and has high commitment. They should be able to give their 100% in completing the jobs without looking for excuses on their part, says Prof Daisy Chauhan, associate professor, organizational behaviour, MDI, Gurgaon. “If you aren’t going to complete it, or if you find out along the way you may not, let him/her know in plenty of time to offer help or find someone who can,“ he says.
3 Trust Matters Good followers need to have trust in their leaders or managers and their ability to lead the team. “Great leaders can be undermined by followers who criticise decisions. Good followers need to be trustworthy and transparent in actions,“ says Dhar. Adds Chauhan: “Followers find it easy to trust their supervisor when they (supervisors) are not only competent, but also have concern for their followers and consider them to be trustworthy.“

4 High Motivation To be a good follower at workplace, one should have a high level of motivation to work, says Chauhan. “This quality will help them overcome difficulties in the process of achieving difficult goals,“ she adds. Also, to be a good follower one should take initiative in taking up tasks and responsibilities. “They should be proactive in their approach by moving away from “role taking“ to “role making“. Thus, they should facilitate the work of their bosses,“ she says.

5 Critical Thinking To be a good follower, you need to be able to think for yourself. The best followers support and aid the leader when he or she is doing the right thing, and stand up to the leader when he or she is headed in the wrong direction. “Many of the same qualities that we admire in leaders -competence, motivation, intelligence -are the same qualities we want in followers,“ says Dhar.

Source – The Economic Times

Date – 20th May, 2014

No Automatic ECGC Cover for Jewellery Exporters

Banks will no longer be able to take an automatic cover for loans given to gems and jewellery exporters following a change in policy by Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India, a company that provides insurance cover for exporters defaulting on loans and shipment of goods.

Last fiscal saw several gems and jewellery companies like Winsome Diamonds, Gitanjali Gems, Shree Ganesh Jewellery knocking at the doors of lenders to recast their loans. These three companies have cumulative loans of around .

`20,000 crore. ECGC, which provides cover to loans given by banks to exporters, has witnessed a sharp rise in claims from this sector.

Senior officials from the company said that this prompted ECGC to take risk mitigation measures. Of the total claims paid by ECGC, gems and jewellery accounted for 12%. “Gems and jewellery is removed from whole turnover cover and all new accounts will now come under individual cover,” said N Shankar, CMD of ECGC.

Source: The Economic Times

Date : 20/5/2014

SBI General Insurance premium income up 54% at ₹1,188 cr

SBI General Insurance, the general insurance arm of State Bank of India, has registered 54 per cent growth in premium income at ₹1,188 crore during FY 2013-14.

Bhaskar J Sarma, MD & CEO of SBI General Insurance said, “We are satisfied with our growth during the last FY against the backdrop of an industry slowdown. We emerged as one of the fastest growing players in the general insurance industry and crossed the ₹1,000-crore mark in just the fourth year of operations.”

Talking about the distribution channels used by SBI General, Sarma said, “Bancassurance is the lead channel contributing 65 per cent, followed by the agency channel with 23 per cent, the broker channel with 10 per cent and direct channel contributing the balance 2 per cent of the premium income.”

Source: Business Line

Why you need to top up your health cover

Your life is insured for a tidy sum, but do you have enough medical cover? Health insurance policies for Rs. 1-2 lakh, which most people opt for, are way too low for you to be able to tide over your sunset years, when medical expenses are likely to soar.

In the last five years, the cost of hospitalisation for common ailments has increased by at least 10 per cent annually. Reports suggest that for diseases such as circulatory ailments, the cost of treatment has been galloping at 12-13 per cent.

This is on top of already elevated cost for procedures related to heart ailments — such as placing of stents, pacemakers and so on. Even if the ‘no claim’ bonus adds about 5 per cent to your cover for a limited period, it would still not be sufficient to cover hospitalisation costs for serious ailments.

The numbers suggest that if you’re looking for a health cover, an individual or a family floater policy for at least Rs. 10-15 lakh may be necessary. So, how can you augment your health cover? Taking top-ups or super top-ups, buying a second policy, adding on defined benefit plans and availing of a separate critical illness cover are some of the key options. Porting to a higher sum assured is another way to bolster your health cover.

Here we explain each of these options with their merits and shortcomings to help you make an informed choice on what would suit you best.

Top-up, ‘super’ top-up

Topping up your existing medical policy is the most cost-effective method to enhance your overall health cover. The entry age is as high as 65 years with many insurers offering this type of cover. Companies such as Apollo Munich, ICICI Lombard, United India Insurance, HDFC Ergo and Bajaj Allianz offer top-up policies. A basic health cover of Rs. 2 lakh would cost you anywhere between Rs. 2,700 and Rs. 5,700 a year in premium, if you are a 35-year-old male.

But a top-up policy with a sum assured of Rs. 10 lakh and deductible of Rs. 2-5 lakh would cost you only Rs. 2,300-3,700, going by the quotes of Bajaj Allianz, ICICI Lombard and Star Health. So, for five times the earlier sum assured, you would pay a lower premium! However, do note that top- up policies are usually not cashless and would require you to foot the bill first.

There are strings attached, though. Let’s say you have basic health cover for Rs. 3 lakh and you take a top-up cover for Rs. 10 lakh. Now, all top-ups are taken with a ‘threshold’ level or ‘deductible’, only after crossing which the policy actually gets triggered.

In the above example, the threshold level of the basic policy is Rs. 3 lakh. The top-up cover would come into effect only after the Rs. 3 lakh in the threshold level is exhausted. Suppose you make a claim of Rs. 5 lakh, the base policy would pay you up to Rs. 3 lakh and the top-up policy would pay Rs. 2 lakh.

But if you have a claim of, say, Rs. 12 lakh, your base policy will cover you for Rs. 3 lakh after which your top-up policy will kick in. It will provide you with another Rs. 7 lakh, as the total sum insured is Rs. 10 lakh. You will have to dip into your pocket for the extra Rs. 2 lakh.

This shortcoming of a top-up is overcome by a super top-up policy, though few insurers offer this cover.

Now assume you have a basic cover for Rs. 3 lakh and take a super top-up for Rs. 12 lakh with Rs. 3 lakh as deductible.

If you have a claim for Rs. 4 lakh and later in the year again run up a medical bill of Rs. 4 lakh, the super top-up would fill in with Rs. 1 lakh ( Rs. 3 lakh from basic cover) for the first time and the entire Rs. 4 lakh during the second time. Thus, your full claim would be settled without you having to spend anything from your pocket. Right now, L&T Insurance, United India Insurance and Max Bupa offer super top-ups.

The premium for a Rs. 12 lakh sum assured policy with Rs. 3 lakh as deductible is just Rs. 2,100 for an individual cover for a 35-year old and Rs. 3,708 to cover a spouse and a child. As with a regular policy, there would be a minimum waiting period, exclusion of treatment in case of some ailments and individual limits for specific diseases in the case of top-ups. Some insurers, such as Bajaj Allianz, offer immediate cover in case you already have another health policy where you have paid premiums for four years. HDFC Ergo too offers credit if there is an existing policy where you have paid premiums without break and have spent some waiting period. Apollo Munich offers a top-up that makes its cover deductible free from 58-60 years of age.

In case your basic policy and the top-up policy are from two different companies, informing two insurers and getting the claim settled may be cumbersome. But if you can choose a network hospital common to both insurers, the process might be simpler as the insurance company’s desk at the hospital would help you sail through without too many hassles. There are no claim bonuses available on top-up plans as well.

Defined benefit plans

While the standard health policy usually covers you for hospitalisation, how do you cover your other medical expenses? Critical illness plans can come in handy here. They pay you a lumpsum which you may use either to meet your medical expenses or maintain your family in the event of illness.

If you have a family history of major illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, heart ailments, liver diseases, or strokes, among others, it would make sense to take a critical illness policy. Even otherwise, given the unhealthy lifestyle that many of us lead, it is safe to take such a cover.

The critical illness cover gives you a lumpsum, if you survive for a minimum of 30 days after first being diagnosed with a major ailment. Even if your actual expenses are lower than the sum assured, you will get the entire amount. So, if the expense on treatment of a critical illness was Rs. 5 lakh, and if you have a policy for Rs. 10 lakh, you will be given Rs. 10 lakh on your claim. For a cover of Rs. 10 lakh, the annual premium would work out to Rs. 3,100-3,300 for a 35-year-old, for insurers such as HDFC Ergo, Bajaj Allianz and Max Bupa.

Bharti Axa General Insurance offers a critical illness cover for over 20 illnesses at an annual premium of about Rs. 5,400. Other plans pay fixed cash benefits in case of hospitalisation. This can also cover any loss of income suffered during your stay in the hospital.

These schemes will pay you cash even if you have any other regular policy operating. So, a sum of Rs. 2,000-4,000 is paid daily, which is stepped up a bit in case of treatment in the hospital ICU.

Some defined benefit plans come with surgical benefits as well and so for defined surgeries a sum of Rs. 1-5 lakh would be paid. Insurers such as AEGON Religare and Tata AIG offer these policies and the premium is about Rs. 2,000-2,800 for a cumulative cover of Rs. 10 lakh with defined daily benefits.

Even day-care procedures that don’t require 24-hour hospitalisation are covered but the daily allowance is mostly halved in these cases.

Porting to another insurer

This is a slightly tedious and a less popular route to enhancing your cover, but worth a look nonetheless. If you have an existing health insurance policy that offers too low a cover, or your claim experience has been bad, you can move your policy to a different player.

You need to give notice to the new insurer at least 45 days before the next premium becomes due. Of course, the new insurer is within its rights to accept or reject the applicant and also to increase the premiums or co-payment clauses based on your claim history.

You will also receive credit in terms of waiting period with the new insurer, if you have paid premiums without break with the exiting insurer. If the sum assured you opt for is higher than your existing cover, the fresh waiting clauses will apply for the enhanced portion alone.

But there are statistics to indicate that only about 2 per cent of people opt for porting of medical insurance policies. This may be due to the procedures involved as well as the uncertainties about whether the new insurer would be willing to take you on board.

Taking a second policy

This is a relatively easier option for you. If porting does not work for you, retain your existing policy and take a second cover from a totally different insurer. The only problem would be that you will have to go through with the claims procedure with two different insurance companies instead of one. This may be less cumbersome if you look at insurers with common network hospitals. All the clauses on waiting period, pre-existing illnesses and exclusions would apply to the new policy.

Large-sized cover

Life policies of Rs. 1 crore have become quite commonplace but not so with medical insurance. Only a few insurers such as Max Bupa and Cigna TTK offer really high-value medical insurance policies with sum assured of Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1 crore.

The covers are extremely comprehensive and cover all illnesses and also maternity benefits.

For a Rs. 50 lakh cover Max Bupa charges around Rs. 52,000 a year, while Cigna TTK charges Rs. 37,000 for a Rs. 1-crore cover for a 30-year-old male.

Though the sum assured is extremely high, the premiums do not appear that expensive. You can choose this option if you have high surplus and are in the early stages of your career. This way, you may not need any other top-ups or additional cover at all, even later in life.


Source : The Hindu Business line

Date : 12/5/2014