India Inc’s New Gender Math Starts from the Top

Four headhunting firms report 100 live search mandates for women CXOs

India Inc is aggressively trying to improve gender diversity at the top management level with four headhunting firms together reporting nearly 100 live search mandates for women CXO-level executives. This is more than double the number of mandates the four firms they had at the same time last year.

EMA Partners International has 26 client mandates for women at CXO level compared with about 12 a year ago, says A Ramachandran, client partner, EMA PartnersInternational. Global executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles has seen a 60% increase in women CXO searches over the last two years. It now has man dates for about 30 such searches. For Kelly Services, 30% of its CXO mandate from Indian clients is for women candidates, compared to only 10% a year ago. Similarly, at RGF Executive, 40% of CXO mandates are for women. Companies like Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Jindal Steel & Power Limited and Schneider Electric have given mandates to search dates to search firms to scout for potential female CXO talent. Jindal Steel is currently scouting for a woman candidate to head its finance department, says director group-HR, Rajeev Bhadauria. MNCs were among the earliest to step up hiring women at senior management levels. But Indian companies are also keen on this now. “Indian promoter driven organisations are on an aggressive bid to get high potential women talent at CXO level,“ says Anindita Banerjee, executive director at RGF Executive Search. “Initially, the whole push came after it became mandatory to have women directors on the board. But this process triggered thinking in this direction.“

“There is a (gender) gap at the senior-most level and most organisations have realised the need for gender diversity at every level,“ says Harsh Mariwala, chairman of Marico Limited. “India needs board-level women representation; so companies are trying to create a pipeline one level below,“ adds Kamal Karanth, managing director, Kelly OCG.

“We will prefer more and more women when it comes to filling up positions with no compromise on merit,“ said Prince Augustin, EVP Group Human Capital & Leadership Development at Mahindra & Mahindra.

While demand for top women talent has gone up rapidly, actual success rate of such searches hasn’t kept pace, say search experts.

RGF Executive Search has seen demand go up by 40%, but success rate is only around 20%, according to Banerjee. Such searches take longer, echoes Karanth of Kelly OCG.

Forum for Women in Leadership (WILL) estimates that 8-10% of senior management leadership in India are women, compared to 22-25% in the US.“There is a lack of understanding on diversity…on why should we have diversity, for innovation, competitiveness, for different ideas and different skills,“ says Poonam Barua, founder chairman, WILL.

Source: The Economic Times

Date: March 31, 2015

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HOW TO INTERPRET NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION IN OFFICE

Unspoken messages have the potential to make or mar your relationships in the workplace. Find out how to decode them.

Communication coaches say 93% of all interactions is non-verbal and only 7% is actual words.

Though not entirely accurate, it is true that there is a wealth of information you receive and share in non-verbal interactions at the workplace. You should learn this language to improve relationships and boost effectiveness. Here is how you can train yourself to send the right non-verbal messages and interpret those sent by others.

Read the signs

You are an expert on non-verbal communication even before you start training consciously. In social situations, your subcon scious mind can detect who likes you and who doesn’t, whether the environment is safe or not, whether a touch was inappropriate or not, etc. However, the subconscious mind or your gut feel can also be wrong. We tend to filter and accept communication that confirms our beliefs. No single message in isolation is conclusive, whether verbal or non-verbal. To understand the non-verbal mode better, first check for context. A colleague may slap you on the back and you may recognise it either as a warning or congratulations, depending on the situation, inter-personal history and the culture you are operating in. Secondly, look for groups of similar messages. Typically, in a 30-minute conversation, there may be over 300 nonverbal messages sent. Thus, a loud voice alone may signal insecurity, but along with good posture, relaxed tone and a firm handshake, it indicates the confidence of a team leader. Finally, check for harmony or compatibility between verbal and various groups of non-verbal messages. If a colleague is congratulating you on your success but his voice is cold, he averts his eyes and does not offer a handshake, you ignore his words and believe that he is either jealous or resentful. Let’s look at the three areas from which you derive non-verbal messages.

Space

This includes personal space and the environment at work. In personal space, each of us operates within an imaginary air bubble that gives us freedom to gesticulate and communicate without hesitation. If you step into someone else’s bubble, it signals either intimacy or aggression and the per son may subconsciously show dis comfort by stepping back, turning away or getting aggressive. Look at your own and the other’s pos ture and hand movements within this space. A wide posture occu pying more space and open hand ed movements that are in line with what is being said, signal higher confidence levels, self-esteem and freedom of expression in the situation. The other space that is relevant is the workspace. This has two components–the environment that you control and that which you don’t. Your work table and cabin are under your control and how you use this space helps you send appropriate signals to others. Can you make out whose office appears intimidating and whose cubicle is chaotic? What is your understanding of the people? Team leaders determine the medium of communication, location and timing of meetings and thus control communication by organising the common space. Since the common workspace affects all employees and their interpersonal communication, new companies invest in making spaces bright and open to signal friendliness.

Body language Body

language includes your face, eyes, hands, postures, movement and touch. We usually look at the face and eyes to understand the seven basic emotions of anger, fear, disgust, contempt, joy, sadness and surprise.Most people learn to keep up their guard while communicating at work. However, tiny movements of the eye and lip muscles often reveal the underlying feeling. Apart from subduing your facial expressions at work, you can also choose to intensify your joy on hitting a sales target with your team, neutralise your expression while negotiating with a client or mask your expressions with a smile if you are in face-to-face customer service.Smiles and eye contact help you bond better and faster with newcomers in a workplace.Your hand movements, postures and locomotion go together as a group and signal self esteem and your perceived control over the situation. A manager in control of his team and targets is likely to display a relaxed walk during his presentation with extravagant hand gestures and an erect posture. Lastly, touch can be professional or friendly-social in nature and is largely determined by society, culture and context.

Sound and silence

Finally, we have sounds and silences in verbal communication known as para-language. These include tone, pitch, pauses and audible fillers. By controlling the tone you can signal a wide range of emotions to your audience, and the fact that you are a credible professional and an expert on the subject you are speaking on. Similarly, a high pitched voice can distract from the actual content of words and leave a negative impact. Appropriate pauses in your communication will emphasise what you said; longer pauses will have your audience lose interest.Fillers–uh, ah, you know–are to be avoided since they signal an immature or under-confident speaker. Longer silences during communication are an effective tool and in different situations, can be used to get the other person to share additional information, convey thoughtfulness or even hesitance. Practice silences well along with your tone and speed, to send a wide gamut of messages.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 30-03-2015

Are women-only covers a good buy?

Plans tailored for women may not offer the spectrum of benefits available in a regular health policy.

Health insurance is not priority for women in India. A recent survey among 1,009 women found only 39% of them had health cover. Of this figure, 22% had bought insurance for themselves, while the rest depended upon policies bought for them by male relatives or employers.

The survey, conducted by ICICI Lombard General Insurance, found that despite a rise in claims filed by women in 2014, not too many women were coming forward to buy health insurance. Given the low awareness for the need of health cover, should women opt for products tailored for them?

What’s on offer?

Insurers like Bajaj Allianz, Aegon Religare Life and Tata-AIG General offer products or rider benefits exclusively for women.

Tata AIG’s Wellsurance Woman is a combination of a hospitalisation and critical illness cover that pays for 11 critical illnesses. Aegon Religare’s Woman Care rider is attached to its term insurance policy and covers critical illnesses afflicting women as well as congenital disabilities affecting their new-borns.

Bajaj Allianz’s Women-Specific Critical Illness Insurance covers eight women-specific critical illnesses. It also offers a payout of 50% of the sum insured in case of birth of a child with congenital disabilities.

As these are primarily defined benefit products, the sum is handed over once a claim is made. Also, since the amount is paid out even if another claim has been filed under a regular indemnity policy, it can be used to fund any lifestyle modification or recuperation expenses.

Is it worth it?

As a woman, you need to ensure that you have a cover of at least `5 lakh, at least under a family floater policy. Budget permitting, you can buy a top-up cover, which gets triggered only after the base policy of say `5 lakh is exhausted.

If you are convinced about critical illness covers, you must first evaluate the terms and conditions. “There are hardly any great specialised plans available for women. Insurance companies have attempted creating such plans but they have no major cost or feature advantage, vis-avis a standard regular plan in the market,“ says Mahavir Chopra, Director, Health Insurance, Coverfox Insurance Brokers (See chart).

For instance, insurance plans targeted only at women charge anything between `900 and `3,000 as premium, depending on sum insured and cover women-related critical illnesses and hospitalisation. On the other hand, a regular health plan covers the same illnesses and more for a lower premium.

At first glance, products dedicated to womenspecific ailments may look attractive, but should they find a place in your portfolio? “You should weigh both options against the premium before buying a specialised product. The overall deal works in the favour of regular plans than such specialised plans,“ says Chopra.

The survey found women more susceptible than men to ailments like anaemia, arthritis and urinary infections. Yet, 75% of the respondents did not go for preventive check-ups. “Women do not give priority to their health. They must give importance to financial protection against medical emergencies,“ says Sanjay Datta, Chief, Underwriting and Claims, ICICI Lombard.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 30-03-2015

`51% FDI In Insurance Would Be Better’

India should allow insurance of credit in the domestic market, says Jean-Marc Pillu, chief executive of France’s biggest credit insurance company Coface. In an interview with ET’s Saikat Das, Pillu says it is one way of reducing cost of funds for small & medium enterprises. Edited excerpts:

What is your assessment of India, given the bad loans in the banking industry and a possible revival of the economy?

India is a very important market for the Coface Group. We are very keen on developing trade credit insurance in India. Credit insurance supports the SME segment as it provides factoring policies to banks and factors who finance this segment. But, since regulations in India do not allow credit insurers based here to insure banks and factors, the SME segment loses out on securing finances against their trade receivables at competitive terms.

What needs to be done to make SME funding better?

If the regulators ease these restrictions, backed by credit insurance, banks and factors will be able to factor the receivables of the SME sellers (domestic and exports), thereby giving this very important segment of companies in India access to finance at competitive terms.

We have more than 30% of business in emerging countries, including India.Among emerging countries, the AsiaPacific region is very promising. We are looking at a large proportion of the group from AsiaPacific, especially English-speaking countries.

How are you doing in India?

Coface has been present in India since February 2001 through its subsidiary Coface India Credit Management Services. Coface has three offices in India: Mumbai (headquarters), Delhi and Bangalore. Coface has been developing trade credit insurance in India, both domestic and exports, with four local partners -ICICI Lombard General Insurance, IFFCOTokio General Insurance, Bharti AXA General Insurance and Universal Sompo General Insurance -by providing reinsurance support through its Singapore branch.

What do your clients tell you about India?

I am optimistic about India. GDP is accelerating and inflation is under control. The Modi government is doing (its utmost) to give a push to infrastructure spending. I see the evolution.Two­three years ago, I would not have been as positive. That is the reason I am here today. I am visiting people.

Given the liberal banking rollover of loans in case of imminent defaults, is there no incentive to buy insurance? How do you get more locals as clients?

We have three categories of companies: multinationals, big but not multinationals, small and medium entrepreneurs. Being a multinational group, it gives us a lot of financial strength. It allows us to decrease our costs because the same people are working for a lot of companies in a lot of countries inside the group. We have sufficiently expanded geographically.

For example, if an Indian company exports to Greece and the importing company defaults, our investigators, being present worldwide, will go to that company. The experience, too, can be used by our entire group.

We have clients and we protect them from their clients.

What do we need to do to improve our system?

We are in a process of organic growth.Plenty of companies are to be creditinsured. It could be nice if in addition to protecting corporates, we could also protect banks. This is wish for India. If you secure clients, it secures banks.

The Indian government has passed the Insurance Bill. Aren’t you enthused?

Forty-nine percent is better than 26%, but 51% would be even better. We must have a control on what we are doing everywhere. Minority shareholding is not an appropriate scheme for us. But this will not prevent us from growing business in India. The Bill was pending for a long time and now it is passed. That gives the international community some positive vibes.

The fear of `Grexit’ has returned to haunt markets? What is your reading of it?

The consequence would be much lower now than four years ago. Four years ago, it would have destabilised the whole euro zone scheme. I don’t think this event will anymore be considered a systemic case, putting in danger the euro zone. I don’t think it will destabilise the euro zone any more; that’s why you see more messages issued on the German side saying `If they want to get out, they could get out’. From a systemic point of view, it will not damage the euro zone anymore. From a pure financial point of view, it will create some disturbances. You still have a lot of entities having Greek banks in their arms.Here, again, they have put aside some provisions to cover a big part of it.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 30-03-2015

Lloyd’s in talks to set up reinsurance biz in India

The 327-year-old Lloyd’s of London -the birthplace of modern insurance -has started talks with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority for setting up reinsurance operations in India. Lloyd’s, which isdistinguished for its ability to underwrite specialized risks, expects the niche specialty insurance market to more than treble in ten years from the present level of $850 billion driven by growth in property insurance in emerging markets such as China and India.

In an interview with TOI, John Nelson, chairman, Lloyd’s, said that India is a very important part of the institution’s international strategy and it has been working with the Indian government to bring the Lloyd’s platform onshore. “Fundamentally what this will do is provide the full reinsurance market facilities onshore in India. This will encourage growth of specialty insurance business in India by encouraging domestic insurers to underwrite more such risks.“

Unlike conventional global reinsurance companies, where risks are underwritten in one company’s balance sheet, the reinsurance cover in Lloyd’s is provided by its individual members who are specialists in different lines such as property , marine, energy , cyber risks and political risks. This reduces the utility of a conventional branch, which is why the government has created a special provision for the entry of Lloyd’s in the insurance act amendment.

“We are very pleased that the insurance bill with Lloyd’s chapter has been passed by Indian Parliament, which will increase insurance penetration. It will aid growth of economy and help diversify some of the major risks out of the country ,“ said Nelson. He added that he expected several members of Lloyd’s to set up base in India over time to meet the demand from Indian insurance companies.

The group, which for centuries did most of its business from London, is now moving toward a more decentralized model where it will have regional platforms. According to Nelson, capital has been pouring into the business because of the high returns and the opportunity to diversify . Lloyds on Thursday announced pretax profits of $4.9 billion “Low interest rate (regime) is attracting non-insurance financial investors into the market, particularly specialist markets like Lloyd’s which provided a return of capital close to 15%. There are two reasons why they like this business -returns and the fact that performance is unrelated to other classes of business,“ said Nelson. Although returns on fixed investments have fallen, Lloyd’s has seen a big jump in underwriting margins due to the absence of catastrophic claims in the last three years.

“Last big year (in catastrophic claims) was 2011 -when we had Thailand floods, the Christchurch earthquake, tsunami in Japan and US winter storms. Compared tothat, 2012 to 2014 have been benign,“ said Nelson.

Insurance companies say that presence of global reinsurers on the ground will enable them to better understand the risks in India. This will lead to improved pricing and availability of insurance cover.

Source: Times of India

Date: 27/03/2015

Lloyd’s in talks to set up reinsurance biz in India

The 327-year-old Lloyd’s of London -the birthplace of modern insurance -has started talks with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority for setting up reinsurance operations in India. Lloyd’s, which isdistinguished for its ability to underwrite specialized risks, expects the niche specialty insurance market to more than treble in ten years from the present level of $850 billion driven by growth in property insurance in emerging markets such as China and India.

In an interview with TOI, John Nelson, chairman, Lloyd’s, said that India is a very important part of the institution’s international strategy and it has been working with the Indian government to bring the Lloyd’s platform onshore. “Fundamentally what this will do is provide the full reinsurance market facilities onshore in India. This will encourage growth of specialty insurance business in India by encouraging domestic insurers to underwrite more such risks.“

Unlike conventional global reinsurance companies, where risks are underwritten in one company’s balance sheet, the reinsurance cover in Lloyd’s is provided by its individual members who are specialists in different lines such as property , marine, energy , cyber risks and political risks. This reduces the utility of a conventional branch, which is why the government has created a special provision for the entry of Lloyd’s in the insurance act amendment.

“We are very pleased that the insurance bill with Lloyd’s chapter has been passed by Indian Parliament, which will increase insurance penetration. It will aid growth of economy and help diversify some of the major risks out of the country ,“ said Nelson. He added that he expected several members of Lloyd’s to set up base in India over time to meet the demand from Indian insurance companies.

The group, which for centuries did most of its business from London, is now moving toward a more decentralized model where it will have regional platforms. According to Nelson, capital has been pouring into the business because of the high returns and the opportunity to diversify . Lloyds on Thursday announced pretax profits of $4.9 billion “Low interest rate (regime) is attracting non-insurance financial investors into the market, particularly specialist markets like Lloyd’s which provided a return of capital close to 15%. There are two reasons why they like this business -returns and the fact that performance is unrelated to other classes of business,“ said Nelson. Although returns on fixed investments have fallen, Lloyd’s has seen a big jump in underwriting margins due to the absence of catastrophic claims in the last three years.

“Last big year (in catastrophic claims) was 2011 -when we had Thailand floods, the Christchurch earthquake, tsunami in Japan and US winter storms. Compared tothat, 2012 to 2014 have been benign,“ said Nelson.

Insurance companies say that presence of global reinsurers on the ground will enable them to better understand the risks in India. This will lead to improved pricing and availability of insurance cover.

Source: Times of India

Date: 27/03/2015

Insurance co told to pay Rs 3.5L for car stolen while on rent

Observing that nature of use of a vehicle cannot be ground for an insurance company to repudiate a theft claim, a consumer forum directed TATA AIG Gen Insurance to pay a compensation of Rs 3.50 lakh to a Sewri resident whose car was stolen in 2012.
The owner used to give the car on hire, the reason cited by the insurance firm for repudiating the claim.“On consideration of facts and circumstances in the case, the law seems to be well settled that in case of theft of vehicle, nature of use of the vehicle cannot be looked into and the insurance company cannot repudiate the claim on that basis,“ the Central Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said. Vilas Vaitty had insured the vehicle r Rs 4 lakh. On April 4, 2012, the vehicle or Rs 4 lakh. On April 4, 2012, the vehicle was stolen from outside a guest house in Nerul. A complaint was lodged and the insurance company was informed. On October 9, 2012, Vaitty was told that the claim had been repudiated. He filed a complaint before the forum in 2014.
The insurance company , in its reply, said the policy subscribed to by Vaitty was called the Private Car Package Policy . “As per policy condition, the vehicle cannot be given on hire. Therefore, he is not entitled to the insurance claim and the complaint is lia ble to be dismissed with cost,“ it said.
The forum however said even if there is breach of condition, in view of the law aid down by the Supreme Court, the complainant is entitled for the claim.

Source : The Times of India
Date : 24th March 2015