`Insurer has to alert client of policy change’ – Rebecca Samervel Mumbai:

A consumer forum has observed that unilateral changes made to a mediclaim policy by an insurance firm amount to ‘deficiency in service’.
The forum cited Supreme Court observations: “…old policy is revived and is sort of a substitution of obligations under the old policy unless such policy provides otherwise. It may be that on renewal, a new contract comes into being, but the said contract is on the same terms as of the original policy.” The South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed New India Assurance Co Ltd to reimburse Rs 40,000 and pay Rs 10,000 compensation to a senior citizen, Chandrakant Khare, after the firm fraudulently capped at Rs 24,000, amount due for cataract surgery.
Khare had taken a policy for his wife in 1999 and it was renewed every year. In August 2012, the sum assured to his wife was Rs 1 lakh. In November 2012, she underwent cataract surgery for both eyes and the expense was Rs 88,520.
When he claimed the amount, the company sent two cheques of Rs 24,000 each. Khare told the forum that no terms and condi tions could be changed without his consent and the firm had acted in an unjust manner.
The forum agreed that Khare never got any notice from the firm. “…IRDA has issued directives that senior citizens holding policy for many years shall not be compelled to migrate to revised product on renewal if it is to their disadvantage,” the forum said.

Source : The Times of India
Date : 25/9/2014

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AI Likely to Pay 15% More Premium to Extend Cover

Air India is set to extend its insurance cover, and is likely to shell out up to 15% higher premium because of a big claim related to an accident in Jaipur and hardened premium rates globally.

Air India had paid $24 million last year and its contract with New India Assurance has a provision to roll over the cover. It is expected to insure aircraft hull for $10 billion and take a liability cover of $1.5 billion. New India Assurance has made a presentation to Air India to extend the policy, said an executive of the state-run insurer.

“The rates have hardened in the international market. Premium will go up by 10%-15% because of the Jaipur loss,” he said, asking not to be named.

“If they go for a fresh cover the cost may go up further.” Air India had filed for an $18 million claim due to an accident in Jaipur. If it decides to extend the cover, it will be the second straight year when Air India has gone for the rollover. The airline has used this provision last time and nothing stops it from extending it this year also, said the executive cited earlier. Hull and machinery insurance is a protection for airline from any damage. The airline takes a cover of $175 million per aircraft. The policy is due for renewal on October 1. Air India has already floated a tender to call for technical bids.

Rates have increased for both aviation insurance and reinsurance following the missing of a Malaysia Airlines plane in March and then the alleged shooting down of another aircraft of the same airline over Ukraine. Premium is directly proportional to claims. Rates had been steady before the Malaysia Airlines tragedies as there weren’t any many claims in recent years.

Source: The Economic Times

Learning and Development at workplace: Changing Paradigms, Emerging Trends

Eighty-nine percent of Indian companies are expected to increase the time and effort they spend on Learning and Development (L&D) of their critical workforce in the near future, according to the report, `Learning and Development at Workplace: Changing Paradigms, Emerging Trends’. The report is the result of the joint efforts of Grant Thornton India, 24X7 Learning, and the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode. The study is based on a survey of the L&D practices of the top 150 corporates of India with emphasis on the corporate training market.

With the shelf life of information dropping drastically, and employees re-training spread across much larger diverse geographies, the dynamics of the L&D industry is rapidly changing. “But there was no detailed report on the sector from India. We realised that those involved in L&D do not have a hang on what is the requirement of this segment, what L&D managers need and what are their expectations. The report will benefit both vendors of L&D as also corporates, that is, the participants of L&D, government policy makers and others,” says Karthik K S, Founder and Executive Chairman, 24X7 Learning, the pioneers in e-learning in India.
The report has thrown up some interesting insights. For instance, it was found that, in sharp contrast to past practice, organisations nowadays prefer performance over tenure when it comes to nominating employees for professional courses.

Eighty-four percent believe that e-learning is an efficient and cost effective tool for organisational learning and its popularity continues to grow in the country. However, the report shows that its use as a tool for L&D is still at a nascent stage as compared to the developed nations such as the US and UK. “E-learning is still not a major mode of delivery. This represents an opportunity to increase the share of e-learning by delivering focused content to companies,” states the report.

The report further reveals that about 57 per cent of learning and development programs are funded entirely by organisations. A whopping 95 percent believe that management development programs help groom employees for leadership roles. In more than half of the organisations, higher education programs are part of the employee benefit schemes, reveals the report. In addition, the report also discusses the case studies of several companies and their experiences with L&D and e-learning.

Grant Thornton in India is a member firm within Grant Thornton International Ltd. The firm has today grown to be one of the largest accountancy and advisory firms in India with over 1,500 staff across the country. The firm specialises in providing assurance, tax and advisory services to growth-oriented, dynamic companies.
24×7 Learning is one of the foremost pioneers in the e-learning field. The company has partnered with over 225 global organisations across all verticals, to successfully address their training challenges and achieve their business goals. Through its end to-end, cutting-edge training solutions, 24×7 Learning has met the learning needs of over 2.5 million users by transcending geographical barriers, and providing learners with an engaging, intuitive, collaborative and personalized learning experience. The Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK),is a joint effort between the Government of India and the Government of Kerala and is one of India’s premier Business Schools.The institute attracts some of the best talent from across the country, year after year. IIMK started with its first batch of 42 students in 1997 and has grown tremendously over the years with current batch strength of over 350 students. Today, IIMK is the fastest growing management school in the country.

The L&OD Roundtable is Asia’s fastest growing forum for Strategic HR L&OD professionals, with over 5800 members globally. Aimed at building capability among HR practitioners, the L&OD Roundtable is a not-for-profit forum which provides application oriented knowledge. The L&OD Roundtable was essentially conceived as a community of like-minded professionals in the areas of Learning, HR and Organisation Development, coming together to learn and grow as a whole.

The report was released at the recent Best Talent Management Practices of Asia Seminar & Awards 2014, by L&OD Roundtable, held in Mumbai on September 18, 2014.

Source: Times of India
Date: 23/09/2014

Future Generali India expedites the claim settlement process for J&K victims

Future Generali offer full support who are affected by the floods and has fast tracked the process of financial relief to its valued customers.
In accordance with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) communication, Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Limited (FGILI), a joint venture between Future Group – the leading retailer of India, Generali Group – a global insurance group and one of the worlds 50 largest companies and IITL- a leading NBFC, has set up a special helpdesk to expedite the claim settlement process for the victims of the Jammu & Kashmir floods. The company has set up a dedicated helpline number and email id (1800-102-2355 / 022-41514749/ claimsrelief@futuregenerali.in) for any queries and clarifications. The company has also assigned a dedicated branch representative who will assist the claimants in this process.

Future Generali remains committed to offer full support to those who are affected by the floods and has fast tracked the process of financial relief to its valued customers.

Source – India Infoline
Date – 18/9/2014

JACK OF ALL TRADES?

The transition of an employee from one discipline to another can facilitate career growth

Growing as a professional entails gaining varied exposure and skill-sets. As a result, many employees look for opportunities to explore different departments and areas in their organisations. Not only do these bring variety in their job roles, but they also give them an edge in their career prospects.

Tina Vas, VP ¬ global HR, Brillio, elaborates, “Some professionals are focused on their discipline and believe in specialization, while others choose to explore multiple disciplines for different reasons like exposure, understanding of other disciplines and sometimes, a potential career change. When you analyse competencies required to succeed in a role, it is very much possible to offer such opportunities to employees internally. For example, core skills for a recruiter and a sales role are very much aligned; they are just serving two different ends of the spectrum.“

Sidharth Agarwal, director, Spectrum Talent Management, explains how experience in different disciplines of the organisation aid in the growth and promotion of an employee, “In today’s competitive times, a resource with multiple specialization could be an asset to organisations, predominantly from a cost leverage perspective. This increases the chances of growth at one’s employer organisation.“ Raghavendra K, VP and head human resource development,Infosys BPO, elaborates, “We provide an array of opportunities through channels like Internal Job Postings (IJPs), focused job rotations placements in specific functions, subsidiaries, locations, short-term assignments in international locations or functions, formal `career conversations’ for individuals with their managers, `internship at client location’ where clients sponsor the selected top performers to work with them for projects, etc. Such opportunities open door for the employees to build their careers.“ The mingling of different departments can also provide a valuable experience to employees. S J Raj, senior VP-HR, Newgen, explains, “We promote lateral as well as functional movements and have platforms through which we encourage interactions between departments. In our Experienced Pool-in Discussion Sessions (EPDS), people from marketing, HR, finance, sales and product teams are brought together to brainstorm to respond to challenges across functions.“

Mark Driscoll, human capital leader, PwC India, talks of ways to make this transition smoother, “Organisations must ensure that opportunities are showcased to everyone and there is full transparency in the selection process. Advance planning is critical; if the transition is planned with proper timelines, it becomes easier for all stakeholders to adapt to the change.“

R Anand, VP global rewards, people & leadership, HCL Technologies, describes their success story in this area, “We have envisaged an employee-driven process facilitated through an application called `Career Connect’, which is accessible on the online social networking platform MEME. This application enables employees to connect with their peers, colleagues and managers to get guidance and references for the growth of their career. Every employee begins his / her career journey here by identifying an aspired target role, which is different from his / her current role.“

Hence, organisations are equally upbeat about giving employees the exposure they need to other avenues.

Source: The Economic Times
Date: September 10, 2014

ARE WE FACING A LEADERSHIP CRISIS?

Leadership rhetoric is on the rise but there is very little evidence to suggest that the quality of leaders has increased

Only 40 per cent of leaders say that the overall quality of their organi sation’s leadership is high and a mere 25 per cent of HR professionals view their organisation’s leadership as high-quality, according to `The Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015′ by Development Dimensions International (DDI), which surveyed 13,124 leaders across 48 countries. The report further reveals that leading across countries and cultures is the least effective leadership skill while 48 per cent of leaders feel HR is not involved in their development.

A DEARTH OF WOMEN LEADERS?

The DDI report also reveals that organisations with better financial performance have more women in leadership roles.The Indian government has gone so far as to insert a compulsory clause in the new Companies Act, asking every listed company and every public company with a minimum paid up share capital of Rs 100 crore or an annual turnover of at least Rs 300 crore to institute a woman director. “I think Indian organisations are waking up to the fact that boardroom diversity creates a better environment for improved governance, financial performance as well as balanced decision-making. So even though there is only about five per cent women representation at the boardroom currently, I am confident that the numbers are significantly going to increase in the next five to seven years.However, when compared with global or even APAC standards, it is true that we have significantly much more ground to cover,“ agrees Purnima Menon, CMO, CSS Corp.

MANAGING VERSUS INTERACTING

As per the DDI study, 41 per cent of leaders spend their time managing, 25 per cent spend it interacting and 34 per cent split their time equally. What can be done to encourage more leaders to spend time interacting with employees and teammembers? “Developing the team necessitates higher effort and hence, higher quantum of interaction. Change in the leaders’ valuation process needs to include 1) appreciation for hisher contribution in hisher role 2) hisherinvestment in development of talent over and above the usual quarter to quarter measures. This will encourage the leader to spend more time interacting anddeveloping talent,“ suggests Dhananjay Bansod, managing partner, IKYAHuman Capital Solutions. “Beyond employees, interactions with customers, partners and vendors are essential too. It is, therefore, very important that proper communication channels are established in organisations, which enable employees to communicate with leaders. This could be done through technology tools such as intranet or emails or traditional methods like meetings, openhouses, etc.,“ adds Kabir Lumba, MD, Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd.

LEADERSHIP PROGRAMMES: ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL?

The report indicates that leadership skills for different people develop at different rates depending on one’s personality and seniority. Do leadershipdevelopment programmes in organisations take this factor into account sufficiently?
“Identification of leadership competencies is the first important step in this direction and all development interventions and subsequent growth up the ladder need to be aligned to these competencies. This is where individual coaching, mentoring, movement across roles based on individual styles, preferences and strengths play an important role in leadership develop leadership development. Providing opportunities consistently to experience varied challenges can bring in a faster development, particularly amongst high-potential employees,“ suggests Amit Das, president and CHRO, Reliance Communications.THE ROLE OF MILLENNIALS The DDI report reveals thataggressivegrowth organisations such as those in the high-tech industry, have a significantly higher proportion of millennials. How can organisations maximise the productivity of millennial employees and groom them to be effective leaders? “In line with the dramatic reduction in business cycle times, we are witnessing an unprecedented need for an ever-increasing leadership pipeline. This has led to reduced leadership maturity cycles, meaning that employees are expected to demonstrate leadership much earlier in their career, which may not be in sync with maturity and experience as these develop over a period of time. Millennials, who are fastpaced and eager to achieve and be recognised are ideally suited for such positions. They can be harnessed if they are aligned to the growth strategy of businesses. We need to incubate leaders from this generation by providing opportunities for them to learn and flex their `leadership muscles’ in a controlled environment,“ advises Deodatta Kurane, group president, human capital management, Yes Bank Ltd.

Thus, it is clear that there are areas organisations need to work on before they canboast of a flawless leadership.

Das lists key areas in which organisations can use leadership analytics effectively: Succession planning; Leadership competency mapping; Designing leadership development programmes around leadership skill-gap analysis; Predicting financial success; Determining an individual development and a coaching strategy

Source : Economic Times

Date : 02-09-2014

Employees Rejoice as HNIs Tank up on UnlistedShares

Wealthy investors offer fat premium for Esops in IPO-ready firms

Big bucks from share sales are not just made in the stock market. Employees, especially those working for financial services and ecommerce companies, have started making a killing though their companies are not yetlisted.

In the past few months, shares of some of India Inc’s biggest financial services firms have changed hands in off-market deals as high net worth individuals and brokers chase investment opportunities in companies with a high probability of listing within the next three years.

Traditionally, an employee or a small shareholder of an unlisted company had limited options in case of an exit. They could wait for an IPO or sell it back to the management in case there was a buyback arrangement.

With the emergence of wealth management firms and the rise in the number of high networth individuals, these options have increased. The trend, which began with financial services companies, is now extending to ecommerce firms such as Snapdeal. “In the unlisted space, there’s a huge appetite amongHNIs to own firms that are not represented in the listed space,” saysRajesh Cheruvu, chief investment officer, RBS Private Banking.

Anshu Kapoor, head of private wealth management at Edelweiss Capital, says many HNI family offices are scouting for opportunities in sunrise sectors such as mobile applications, healthcare and telecom.

A look at some recent deals shows employees and other residual shareholders of financial services companies to be among the big beneficiaries. For instance, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance had offered Esops in various tranches of Rs 30, Rs 42, Rs 70 and Rs 130 in 2005-09.

These shares have now changed hands at Rs 210-225 giving a 300% return to the selling employees.

Shares of Kolhapur-based Ratnakar Bank were recently sold at Rs 170, a 209% gain for employees who bought at Rs 52-55. In March, PE fund CDC acquired a 4.8% stake in the lender at Rs 128.1 a share, valuing the bank at Rs 3,500 crore.That’s risen to Rs 4,625 crore based on the latest transactions. Employees of HDFCStandard Life exercised their Esops at ` . 28.36 apiece in March 2012 and Rs 27.37 in March 2014. Shares have been bought recently for Rs 140, a 393% return. In UTI Mutual Fund, the weighted average exercise price of Esops issued in 2007 and vested in 2012-13 is Rs 206 while the shares currently trade at . 300, giving investors a 46% ` appreciation.

Some transactions are also believed to have taken place in the booming ecommercesector with past employees of firms such as Snapdeal among the sellers. Transactions have been few and details about price and valuation could not be ascertained.

Unlike listed stocks, the unlisted space has few brokers and trades are made through known sources. Often, a broker accumulates small lots of shares from employees who have earned them as Esops, or investors who have bought earlier and arelooking for an exit. Once the broker has a sizeable chunk of shares, typically worth more than Rs 1 crore, it’s offered to HNIs.

The biggest deterrent in the case of unlisted shares, when compared with listedones, is the tax treatment, say experts. “The tax treatment of unlisted stocks is unfavourable compared with listed stocks,“ says Sandeep Ginodia, director, Sapphire Wealth Management Systems.

Investments routed through the stock exchange and held for more than a year qualify forzero long-term capital gains tax. However, taxation is different for unlisted shares: you have to pay shortterm capital gains tax of 30% if you sell before three years and long-term capital gains tax of 10% or 20% with indexation if you sell them after three years. Also, as per regulatory guidelines, pre-issue capital will be locked for one year from the date of a public issue. That means investors can sell only a year after the public issue. Also, an employee who acquires an Esop pays a perquisite tax which is the difference between the fair market value (FMV) of the shares on the date of exercise of the option and the price paid by the employee.

Since these companies are unlisted, very little financial information is available. Also, because there’s no formal platform to trade these shares, the demand-supply situation varies and the price at which deals are struck could be a function of the quantity, demand-supply situation and the sentiment prevailing in the secondary markets. Unlike listed shares, where a holder can exit through the stock exchange, liquidity is poor in unlisted companies.

You would have to look for an IPO or another buyer who is ready to buy.

Brokers advise investors to be careful about promoter pedigree and management as there have been several instances in the past when companies offloaded shares to investors and simply disappeared. Also, brokers advise investors to buy a small percentage of such shares in their portfolio as they are illiquid and if the IPO gets delayed, an exit would be unlikely. “Look at companies that have a strong management track record and are likely to go for an IPO within thenext one-three years,” says Nitin Rao, of alphaideas.in, a blog that identifies unlisted stocks.

Source : Economic Times

Date : 05-09-2014