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

Five ways to get back to work after a break It’s not easy to get a satisfactory job after a hiatus, especially for women. Here are the various options that can help you kick start your career all over again, says Chandralekha Mukerji

 A returnship programme works like an internship and acts as a bridge to get back to work. Companies recruit on a temporary basis, test your skills and train you. They then absorb you if you perform well. You are likely to be paid for the projects you work on, but do not expect the compensation to match industry standards. “Nearly 70-80% of the candidates get an offer after completion of their training with the company,” says Jyotika Singh, founder and facilitator, relauncHER, a platform that helps bring women back to work after a career break. Most big companies, including Tata, GE, Cisco, HCL Tech, Dell, IBM, L’Oreal and Maybelline, have returnship programmes only for women. “This is because over 90% of the resumes with career breaks are of women,” says Sairee Chachal, founder, SHEROES, a mentorship and job search platform for women professionals. 

 Finding a job is tougher when you have taken a break and lost touch with the right people in the industry. Here, return-to-work boot camps, like the ones by SHEROES and relauncHER, help. They arrange for industry meet-ups and create forums for networking with the HR heads and industry leaders, who can mentor you to make the process smoother. “Returning to work requires realigning priorities with reality and a structured approach, and an ecosystem helps one build better momentum,” says Chachal. However, these forums do not guarantee recruitment. “Understand that you might have to start at a level lower than the one you had earlier, and you should be ready to explore new avenues,” says Singh.

  You may not realise it, but volunteering can help you find employment, especially if you are trying to learn new skills or shift to a new sector. An employer values an on-job experience more, so rather than doing a course to upgrade your knowledge, you can give your services for free to fill the gap in your resume. You can also try overseas volunteering. The selection criteria are quite simple. The companies might ask only for a graduation degree in the area of work, or for an interview. Most of these programmes also give you a stipend. Organisations like iVolunteer Overseas can help you find such opportunities in areas like health, disability, education, livelihood and community empowerment.

  There are many part-time options for professionals with prior experience. You can be a freelancer or choose a flexi-time option can work in an office or from your home. These options look for experience in business development, recruiting, programming, teaching, marketing communication and content development. People with technical skills will also find ample opportunities. If your profile or skill-set doesn’t match these, try applying to a start-up. 

 Starting a business is gratifying, but has its challenges, more so if you are returning to the market after a break. A franchise or an affiliate programme, where you become a part of a partner network, can be a safer route. “It allows you to de-risk the operation with established business models and a support structure provided by partners,” says Singh. You receive training to run the business along with support material. One of the constraints here is initial investment. Even a low-cost franchise, as the one from SmartQ Education Solutions, a Mumbai-based venture in afterschool educational activities and workshops, requires a one-time, non-refundable, initial partner fee of 40,000 and 2,000 for the joining kit. The renewal fee is 10,000 annually.

 

Source : The Times of India

Date : 12/5/2014

CAPITAL GAINS A postgraduate degree in commerce not only trains students in the same subjects as an MBA, but also allows them to contest for similar jobs, finds out Aditya Harikrishnan

Factors such as stiff competition from professional degrees including MBA, the slow pace of updating curriculum, lack of practical focus and a misconception that the degree only leads to teaching jobs, have contributed to a steady decline in the popularity of an MCom degree. 
    However, most students at the crossroads of choosing their higher education path fail to realise that a postgraduate degree in commerce offers a strong academic focus which not only builds upon the foundation laid by a BCom degree, but also imparts the much needed skills to handle tasks such as accounting, financial analysis, actuarial analysis and risk mitigation, etc. 
MCOM VS MBA 
    
The two-year MCom programme covers a range of subjects in the financial domain such as economics, financial management, corporate financial accounting, quantitative analysis, income tax, corporate law, organisational behaviour, security analysis, etc. This list also includes marketing, human resources, foreign trade, advertising and sales management, consumer behaviour, business and e-commerce, etc, all of which are either taught as separate courses or as exclusive specialisations in a management programme. 
    Informs PR Venkitaraman, a Kochibased education counsellor, “The syllabus of both an MCom and MBA degree is almost similar. However, while an MBA hones an individual’s soft skills, a PG degree in commerce inculcates a much deeper understanding of finance among students.” Concurs Sunaina Sardana, professor, Lady Shri Ram College, “An MCom refines the analytical abilities and problem solving skills of students while opening up avenues in academics.” 
PRACTICAL EMPHASIS 
Furthermore, the syllabus of an MCom course has been modified in a number of states to incorporate components 
that enhance practical knowledge. Informs Jeh Barucha, professor, HR College of Commerce, Mumbai, “Under the 60:40 system, students are increasingly taking up stimulating research assignments that have both, a theoretical base and a strong practical emphasis. These assignments offer tremendous learning opportunities as they require students to identify business opportunities, act as consultants and develop business and marketing strategies for organisations.” 
    Other aspects that work in the favour of a PG in commerce is its low cost when compared to an MBA degree, as well as its focus on niche subjects such as accounting, taxation and securities management, which have a great market demand. 
CAREER SCOPE 
A postgraduate degree in commerce allows one to take up corporate as well as government jobs. One can take up the job of an accountant, book-keeper, budget analyst, risk management consultant, finance advisor/ analyst/ controller, etc, in big companies. One can even appear for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams to pursue lucrative administrative careers with the Indian Revenue Services (IRS) in national/state banks, the Reserve Bank of India, income tax bureau, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), etc. Adds Sardana, “MCom students, in particular, find it easy to clear the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) paper owing to the breadth of subjects covered including organisational behaviour and human resources.” 
    Venkitaraman advises, “To increase their chances of employment, students who pursue MCom must take the effort to build upon their soft skills and overall personality development to be able to compete with management graduates.”

 

Source : The Times of India

Date : 12/5/2014

Five Ways to inspire your team members

At a time when an increasingly impatient generation is joining the workforce, and the rest are grappling with a gloomy economic outlook, a manager’s job has gone far beyond just getting the job done, to inspiring his team to commit, and innovate on a daily basis. Shreya Roy speaks to experts to find about ways to inspire your team. 
1 State the Purpose and Let your Team in on the Vision A team can’t function in void, without understanding what they are working towards. Paint the big picture for your team, and show them where their efforts are headed. “An inspiring leader is one who understands how to mobilise people towards a shared goal,” says Shilpa Vaid, senior vice president and head- HR, Bharti AXA General Insurance. 
2 Be Authentic and Show Courage With changing times, team members are not likely to respect a know-it-all. Managers today are also dealing with a generation that is more inquisitive, unafraid to ask tough questions. “Having humility, accepting what you can and can’t do, is necessary to inspire people around you. The current generation needs to see the real you,” says Vaid. 
3 Recognise and Encourage The new workforce has been raised in an environment where parents and schools spend more time in recognising their efforts. “When you walk down to your team members, recognise them for the good work they have done, and do it till it comes naturally to you,” says Mark Driscoll, Human Capital leader, PwC India. 
4 Be Empathetic and Respect Individual Differences Understand that not everyone is motivated by the same things. As a leader, it is your responsibility to understand what works for each of your team members. “Don’t be surprised if what works for you does not work for everyone else, and have patience for those who may not be driven by the same ambition as yours,” says Vaid. 
5 Walk the Talk 
    
A good leader not only shows the way, but also goes the way. Nothing 
    inspires a team more than seeing an energetic leader who is down in 
    the trenches, performing with the standards that he expects from his 
    team. “Do what you say, and walk the talk,” says Driscoll.

 

Source: Economic Times

Date: 9th May 2014 

British Petroleum to aid Reliance Industries in revamping human resource practices

MUMBAI: Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries has kicked off an exercise to implement a few contemporary human resource practices of its joint venture partner BP Plc, as it prepares to nurture diverse talent to face the challenges of future. A team led by oil giant BP’s vice-president (HR) David Oxley is currently in Mumbai to review RIL’s HR systems. BP executives and RIL’s HR team are, in fact, working together to introduce large-scale digitisation and technology deployment for various people processes 

Reliance is looking at an upgrade of its people processes and practices to prepare it for the next wave(s) of growth. It believes that our aspirations will need differentiated calibre of leadership and domain depth in all our businesses. David Oxley, a VP of HR at BP, is spending time with us along with a set of other HR practitioners of BP to help us review and strengthen our HR systems,” Prabir Jha, head of Human Resources, RIL, said in an email response. 

India’s largest private sector company, which is fast expanding its global operations, is looking to mould talent who can take up responsibilities anywhere in the world. RILBSE 0.18 % had conceived a programme called Reliance Accelerated Leadership Programme (RALP) in 2010 to groom a new breed of future leaders. 

The new exercise will also seek to look at talent differently in its fast-growing retail and telecom businesses. These sectors require new-age employees who are keen to work in companies which offer work-life balance. RIL has been hiring talent from premier management institutes, guys who enjoy their work and leisure in equal measure. “We need to proactively reorient our practices for the new-age employees and remain the preferred talent destination,” Jha said. RIL has moved over to a five-day w .. 

As part of the business transformation initiative, senior managers have been given powers to speed up the decision-making process, which involves transfer of power to control expenses which was earlier in the hands of a higher authority 

“Reliance consistently reviews its set of delegated authority at different levels to help improve the speed of decision making and balance authority with accountability. This constant re-articulation has defined our ability to take expeditious decisions to enable customer delight,” Jha added. The revamp of HR systems signals a radical shift in its approach towards people as it focuses more on consumer-centric business. 

“If RIL were to compete with global multinationals, they need to learn from what other companies are doing and bring in best practices. If the company successfully marries its intrinsic strengths such as scale and flawless execution with global HR practices, it will be a great combination going forward,” said K Sudarshan, managing partner (Asia), EMI International, a global search firm. 

RIL had different strategies at varied points of time to manage its challenges revolving around human resources. In the first 10 years after 1991, when it was hungry for growth, it hired many public sector managers to set up huge refining capacities. It was RIL veteran VV Bhatt who shaped RIL’s HR policies then. Bhatt bought several executives from public sector oil companies such as ONGC, IPCL and Indian Oil. 

In 2012, when RIL grappled with slowdown in key businesses and prepared to expand its bouquets to include new areas such as telecom and media and push forward in retail, it launched a Reliance Accelerated Leadership Programme, (RALP), a programme conceived and conceptualised for developing a new reservoir of executives for top leadership roles within the organisation.

 

Source: Economic Times

Date: 08 May 2014

Place: Mumbai