Work-life balance fading away, says Randstad survey

Most of the employees surveyed said they were expected to be available by phone and e-mail during holidays

There is a blurred line between working hours and private time within India Inc, with a majority of employees in a survey saying that their employers expect them to be available outside regular office hours.

Most of the employees said that they were expected to be available by phone and e-mail during holidays as well, and they feel extremely pressured to do so. This reveals the increasing work-life balance issues among India Inc, said the Randstad Workmonitor survey, which was done with a sample size of around 600 people.

Moorthy K Uppaluri, MD and CEO of Randstad India, a recruitment company, said that the way India Inc works today has undergone a paradigm shift.

‘Going to work’ is all about getting work done, regardless of where one is and thus an ideal workplace is one that eliminates geographical and technological barriers to create a dynamic ecosystem – where work travels to people; not the other way round.

Employers should be aware of this scenario where the boundaries of work and life are getting blurred and hence offer their workforce with the much needed flexibility and freedom at work to keep them motivated, he said in a release from Randstad.

Source: Business Line

Date: 24/09/2015

Swiss Re’s Admin Re to acquire Guardian Financial Services for GBP 1.6 billion

Swiss Re’s business unit Admin Re® has agreed to acquire Guardian Holdings Europe Limited, the holding company for operations trading under the name Guardian Financial Services (“Guardian”) from private equity company Cinven for GBP 1.6 billion. The acquisition will extend Admin Re®’s position as a leading closed life book consolidator in the UK, with over four million policies in force.

As a result of the acquisition, Admin Re® will further diversify its current business and increase its assets and reserves.

Closing of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and could be completed in early 2016.

Admin Re and Guardian are both buyers and consolidators of blocks of inforce life and pension insurance business. With this acquisition of Guardian, Admin Re will add 900 000 annuity, life insurance and pension policies in the UK and Ireland.

Michel M. Liès, Swiss Re’s Group Chief Executive Officer, says: “This acquisition is an excellent opportunity for Admin Re® to further enlarge its successful business and diversify its portfolio. It is proof that we can deliver on our ambitions to seek profitable growth opportunities for Admin Re® in the UK. The expected returns exceed our profitability targets for new business and represent an excellent fit with our Group strategy as well as with Admin Re®’s capabilities and existing infrastructure.”

This will bring the policy count of Admin Re’s UK business to over four million and strengthen its established business.

Source: AIP News Bureau

Date: 23rd September 2015

Source: AIP News Bureau

Date: 23rd September 2015

Swiss Re finds big gaps in insurance coverage

Global reinsurer Swiss Re has found big gaps in insurance coverage (pure protection) in Indian households. The mortality protection gap report for Asia Pacific by Swiss Re has found that the gap in India was $8,555 billion in 2014.

Clarence Wong, head of economic research and consulting, Asia Pacific, Swiss Re, said while there was an increase in insurance coverage in India, it has not been adequate to fill the protection gap, which referred to the extent to which a family was insufficiently covered for death of their earning member.
The reinsurer is now looking to engage with Indian insurance companies to use technology for better penetration of the products. India had life insurance penetration of 2.6 per cent of gross domestic product in 2014. The study said the sum insured per working person with dependents in India was $2101 in 2014 (about Rs 1.3 lakh), which is much lower than other APAC countries like Australia, which has a sum insured of $303,401 per working person with dependents. India ranked ninth with respect to per capita sum insured in 2014.

In China, the protection gap has seen a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 17 per cent of 2004-2014 and has seen the gap rising to $32,074 billion in 2014 from $6,540 billion in 2004. In India, the gap was $3,067 billion in 2004, which has gradually seen a rise every year.
The reinsurer is planning to firm up its India plans and intends to apply for a branch licence. But it has said it will do so only after the insurance regulator brings out detailed regulations for foreign reinsurers’ branch presence in India. The new insurance Act allows foreign reinsurers to have presence by way of physical branch in India.

“Abroad there have been insurers using technology to close the gap. Some markets have even used wearable devices where one’s physical activity monitored on it will be used to determine premiums. This will soon become common. But insurers will have to focus on protection products, rather than savings and investment products,” said Wong

However, Indian families are most willing to pay for term-life products, even if they are higher than the market price range. Wong explained that there was also the problem of under-insurance, since life protection cover should ideally be 10X the annual income. Per working person, the protection gap was $35,181 (about Rs 22 lakh) and this has seen a 10 per cent CAGR growth from 2004-2014.

The increase of the foreign investment limit in Indian insurers to 49 per cent from 26 per cent in 2015 will help insurers close this gap, according to Wong. The study showed that India was at the top with respect to ratio of protection lacking or protection needed. For every $100 of protection needed in India, only $7.8 of savings and insurance are in place. Wong explained that emerging markets like India are more likely to be under-insured with increased economic pressure and wage growth. Swiss Re has said insurers should focus on diversifying distribution channels, apart from having incentive structures (commission) for agents such that they focus on renewals and also have an easier underwriting process for customers. Wong added that in some high sum assured segments, the medical check-ups could be done away with, by using data analytics to get customer information.

Source: Business Standard

Date: 22-09-2015

5 Keys to Balancing Technology in the Workplace

Driven primarily by a younger, more-mobile workforce that has trouble imagining a world without the Internet and smartphones, the tendency to use technology nonstop has left HR professionals wondering:

“Is technology contributing to a more engaged and productive workforce or will it eventually leave everyone holding the short end of the stick?”

Sure, there’s an unquestionable need for technology in nearly every industry—studies show people are working longer hours because of it. But the key to a company’s success lies in knowing when and where to use technology. With that perilous and thankless task often left to HR professionals, here are five mantras to assist them when navigating the appropriate—and inappropriate—uses of technology in today’s workplace.

Eyes on the Prize

Simply stated, remind employees that when being addressed by a co-worker, colleague, superior or client, they should look that person in the eyes—and put the phone away. Period. Flipping through Tweets, Snapchat stories and entertaining Vines while someone kindly waits for your attention is the same as turning your back on them.

BYOB (Bring Your Own Brain)

When working with clients or attending important company meetings, rather than relying on the common BYOD business trend—bring your own device—suggest that employees rely solely on their innate ability to listen attentively and take written notes the old-fashioned way. Studies suggest that those who use pen and paper are more likely to remember important ideas and conversations better than those who break out the laptop and start clicking away on the keyboard. Then later in the day, perform a brain dump, as suggested by time-management expert David Allen in his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Penguin Books, 2015). Take the handwritten notes, prioritize what’s most important, and organize them in a Word document, Excel file or on PowerPoint slides.

Be Seen but Not Heard

Imagine the shock of an HR professional in the midst of a decisive interview hearing the sound of an obnoxious ring tone, which not only breaks his or her train of thought but also kills the candidate’s chance of landing the job. Cellphones and tablets can be helpful in an interview, particularly when showing work examples via the Internet or stored in digital format, but certain situations call for silencing smartphones and keeping devices out of sight.

Rules Rule

In Donald Sull and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt’s best-selling book, Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), they demonstrate how and why rules help employees avoid the paralysis that often strikes when people confront too many choices. Particularly in a society overwhelmed by a plethora of electronic devices and technology that is advancing at the speed of sound, rules to work by, as well as live by, provide a surprisingly welcome structure that can reduce employee anxiety and stress.

Lead by Example

Executive team and management set the tone for what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to behaviors centered on technology. The staff will imitate what they see in management. It is important for managers to encourage the right behaviors. It’s all about etiquette.

Banning technology as a way of control is implausible in today’s workforce, but as the traditional eight-hour workday slowly segues into night—blurring the lines between personal life and career—it’s more important than ever before to be brave, set clear boundaries and optimize your resources.

Source: SHRM

Date: 21/9/2015

Source: SHRM

Date: 21/9/2015

IRDAI to set up a regional office in Mumbai, will help inspecting the offices of Mumbai-based insurers, brokers

In a bid to streamline its supervision, the insurance regulator, IRDAI has decided to set up its second regional offices in commercial capital of the country Mumbai that has the headquarters of most of financial sector regulators like Reserve Bank of India and SEBI.

IRDAI chairman TS Vijayan will inaugurate the regional office in the city  on Oct 1.

After New Delhi, Mumbai will have the second regional office of the IRDAI which is headquartered in Hyderabad. The office will serve the purpose of inspecting the offices of Mumbai-based insurance companies,  insurance brokers and will be headed by a  joint director of IRDAI, a top Irda executive said.

“Initially, the Mumbai office of IRDAI will have staff  of seven including  a joint director rank official who will be heading the office. It will also comprise one inspection team of four staff and an official – in charge of consumer affairs department (CAD)-  to receive complaints or grievances against insurers,” said Nilesh Sathe , member, Irda .

“The job of the inspection team, which will be deputed from the Hyderabad office will be to inspect the offices of insurance companies  and insurance brokers’ which are based out of Mumbai. It was getting difficult for us to send the inspection teams from Hyderabad on a frequent basis and hence the decision to set up full fledged regional office ,” he added.

Spread across 5,000 sq ft area, the regional office will operate from the Royal Insurance building near Churchgate which will be rented it out to Irda by Kolkata-based National Insurance Company which owns the building.

The New Delhi office, spread across  2000 sq ft area is quite small and it has got a survey and liaisoning team operating from there, which is headed by Mukesh Sharma, joint director, IRDAI. .

It must be recollected Maharashtra along with other states were in a race to host the IRDA headquarter in 2000.  The then chief minister of Maharashtra, Vilasrao Desmukh had even offered land free of cost in the push Band  Kurla Complex (BKC) to locate IRDA’s head office  but Chandra Babu Naidu, -the present chief minister Telengana- who was the chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh had managed to pip others in getting IRDA’s  head office in Hyderabad.

Source: AIP News Bureau

Date: 21-09-2015

ONE-ON-ONE – Expat CEO will require foreign regulator’s nod: IRDAI chief

The passage of the amendments to the Insurance Act has resulted in increased activity in the sector. In an interview with TOI, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) chairman T S Vijayan clarifies on some of the fine print relating to the liberalization. Excerpts:

Have you directed insurance companies to go public and get listed on the stock exchanges?

We have come out with a discussion paper on this. There is no time frame for this. Having listed companies will improve the level and frequency of disclosures. At the time of liberalization, though it was not specifically mentioned, the spirit of the legislation was that promoters should gradually dilute their stake and there should be professionally managed companies.

There has been some dis cussion on the joint venture companies being `Indian’.Arethere any guidelines on these?

Of the half a dozen or so companies that have sought to raise foreign direct investment, one has received approval.There is an item in the legislation that the companies should have Indian management.We do not have a separate definition of our own. We are only seeking clarification from the companies on how they are ensuring compliance. The Companies Act is very strict on this, but all we are trying to see is whether board representation is in keeping with the ownership. We want that the companies should be board-run and we cannot have a situation where promoters submit an agreement giving the foreign partner all rights.

Does the CEO need to be an Indian? What about chief executive on secondment from the foreign partner?

If the employee who is on secondment from the foreign company is appointed by the Indian board, we do not have any problem. However, in such cases, we will be seeking a clearance from their domestic regulator. This may take some time.

Will the FDI limits be applicable only to insurance companies or to all intermediaries?

The foreign direct investment limit will apply to all intermediaries, includingbrokers, surveyors and third-party ad ministrators. The foreign direct investment limit in these companies will also go up to 49%. It is only in the case of corporate agents, where existing entities can take up insurance broking, that the FDI limits will not apply.

Do you have plans to open up banks for distribution of products of more than one insurance company?

We have allowed banks to sell products of more than one insurance company . There is no compulsion on them to sell products of multiple companies, but we are seeking clarification from them on how they are meeting all the requirements of their clients through this partnership.

When will you open an office in Mumbai?

Our Mumbai regional office is ready and it will be opened in the first week of October. We are planning to have a couple of departments, including inspection department, in this office.

Source : Times of India

Date : 15th Sept, 2015

Star Health Looks to Raise Rs. 400 crore to Fund Expansion

Chennai-based Star Health Insurance is looking to raise `. 400 crore from a clutch of private equity investors to fund its expansion plans, according to its chairman and managing director V Jagannathan.

Star Health is a joint venture between ICICI Venture, Sequoia Capital, Tata Capital Growth Fund, Alpha TC Holdings and Oman Insurance Company . “We have appointed JM Financial to raise this fund,“ Jagannathan said, adding that Star Health needs capital to grow its business.According to Jagannathan, last year the company grew its gross written premium income by 34%.He said the industry has the potential to grow at 25-30% a year.

Health insurance business accounts for about a quarter of the total non-life insurance business in the country. Penetration of the insurance industry has grown at a steady pace since non-state companies were allowed in 2000.

Penetration, defined as the ratio of insurance premiums to GDP, was 2.71% at the time. It rose to 4% at the end of March 2012. Nonlife insurance penetration was 0.60-0.78% over the past decade, despite health insurance growing at a 30% compounded annual rate over the past seven years.

Star Health has a capital base `651 crore. It is the first stanof .dalone health insurance company and is dealing with personal accident, mediclaim and overseas travel insurance. The company has moved away from writing mass government policy like Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. Jagannathan said that Star Health is writing mostly retail health policies, which account for 90% of its book. “We do not write much corpo rate business as it is not adequately priced,“ he said.

The government hiked foreign direct investment in insurance from 26% to 49% in March 2015.The company posted a profit of . 50 crore in the first quarter of the ` financial year. It came up with rights issue of ` . 75 crore earlier this financial year. The company operates through a network of 290 branch offices.

Source: Economic Times


HIRING SHIFT – To Pick the Best, Companies Get Innovative on Campus president Umang Kumar is visiting his alma mater, Indian School of Business, this weekend for the annual alumni event, Equinox. This time, though, he also has hiring in his mind.

Through Equinox, CarDekho -the online portal to buy and sell used and new cars -has organised Torque, a business and product casestudy competition for ISB students.The prize is a pre-placement offer . 40 lakh.with a salary of at least ` CarDekho has extended the preplacement interviews (PPIs) to each of the 10 shortlisted teams, which means up to 30 people at ISB are eligible for a PPI.

“It’s about building our brand and we wanted to assess the best talent before other companies come on campus. Be ing a consumer internet company , human capital is all we have and if we get bright people, we can extend the PPO to more than one person. We can up the salary as well,“ said Kumar.

Eager to get the best and most diversified talent, companies are pulling out all stops to get to campuses, and are tweaking their campus strategies and getting talent increasingly through innovative case studies, contests and other means.

This year, Godrej Industries and its associate companies introduced a competition, Campus Dream, as part of Godrej LOUD (Live Out Ur Dream), a platform to help young and talented realise their dreams. The company asked first-year MBA students to share their big dream for their campus. On offer was a sponsorship of up . 5 lakh to live out their dream and a to ` PPI. Team ` Avengers’ from the National Institute of Industrial Engineering won the competition. Their dream was to set up an electronic, coin-operated, laundry system.

Godrej received more than 2,300 applications for LOUD, a 40% increase from last year, and shortlisted 50 students. It expects 45% of the participants to be part of the group’s summer internship programme this year.

Deloitte’s Maverick, a popular event at b-schools, has doubled its reach to around 107 institutions this season. The programme connects with students across campuses using an engaging business simulation format. This year, more than 15,500 students have registered to participate. The winner gets an opportunity to work with Deloitte.

During the event, participants get to work on programmes which are specifically designed and developed to help create a future workforce that is skilled and trained to succeed in a corporate organisation. Also, the participants have to face current, real-world, global business challenges giving them an opportunity to contribute their opinion and share their insights on a larger scale.

“There are schools which we never visited during placements in the past and their performance during these contests made us reevaluate them. For instance, students from SIBM (Symbiosis Institute of Business Management) in Bengaluru made it as finalists one year and consistently did well in other years as well. Clearly it wasn’t a flash in the pan,“ said SV Nathan, senior director and chief talent officer at Deloitte in India.

Companies perhaps also look to get breakthrough ideas for their businesses through such contests. Under CarDekho’s product challenge, students are expected to envisage themselves as a product manager tasked with building an app which allows consumers to book inspections for their cars. The problem statement here is that most used car buyers and sellers rely on local mechanics to inspect the car they are about to buy or sell. The service given to the consumer is often not up to the mark and not standardised.

Amazon has extended its Amazon Customer Excellence Challenge (ACE) to 21 business schools this year from 15 in 2013. An innovative inter-college case study competition, ACE is open to teams from top b-schools in Asia. ACE challenges students to innovate, strategise and sample a diverse set of complex work challenges that are core to a typical workplace, including Amazon. “ACE expanded its reach to more campuses and we also took it to some international Schools in APAC,“ said Raj Raghavan, director for HR at Amazon.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 11/9/2015

RS 900CR CLAIM – Settle Essar dispute via arbitration: SC to New India

In a setback to New India Assurance, the Supreme Court directed the company to go for arbitration to settle its dispute over a Rs 900-crore terror insurance claim raised by Essar Steel after a Naxal bomb attack destroyed the steelmaker’s 267 km pipeline in Chhattisgarh in 2010.

Essar Steel had obtained a terrorism policy for Rs 19,000 crore in November 2009 and insured its property against direct physical damage or loss due to terror acts. On March 23, 2010, naxalites blew up the company’s slurry pipeline, interrupting business for eight months. The insurance company had, however, refused Essar’s claim alleging fraud and non-disclosure of an earlier attack.

The SC bench of Justices Anil Dave and A K Goel dismissed insurance company’s request to appeal against a 2013 Bombay high court order that had accepted Essar’s plea to appoint arbitrators and held that NIA has to prove its allegations. The SC said that the arbitrators would decide all issues, including allegation of fraud against Essar. Hemant Kumar, general counsel for Essar, when contacted, said the arbitration would now be pursued. Essar had refuted allegations of any fraud or nondisclosure. Justice Anoop Mohta of the HC had in May 2013 appointed former SC judges Justices B P Singh and Aftab Alam as arbitrators. The arbitration, though, never began, as New India Assurance moved the SC in 2013 for leave to appeal. The SC order now comes as a relief to Essar which had invoked the arbitration clause.

The insurance company had dishonoured the terror policy alleging fraud, despite accepting a premium of Rs 2 crore from Essar after verification of all particulars, the SC observed in court. The case, said observers, could be a glaring example of how public sector insurance company was refusing claims and persisting in litigation. The controversy before the SC was whether an insurance company could refuse a by alleging fraud which was not established before any legal or arbitral forum

Source: Times of India

Date: 09/09/2015

Mitsui Keen to Raise Stake in Chola Insurance JV

Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group is looking to raise its stake to 49% from 26% in Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company, a general insurance joint venture with Murugappa Group, people familiar with the matter said.

The Japanese company is following the example of other global insurers such as AXA, Tokio Marine and Bupa as it sees growth potential in India. “Mitsui is in advanced stages of discussion to increase stake in Cholamandalam General Insurance,“ said a senior executive close to the development. The government raised the cap on foreign direct investment in insurance sector in March this year.

In response to an email query from ET, the company spokesperson said, “As a matter of corporate policy we do not respond to such speculative pegs.“

While most foreign partners want to increase stake in their joint ventures in India, the deals mostly get stuck on valuation and control, experts said.

With foreign partners increasing their stake to 49%, the Indian promoters are left with 51%. If there is any further dilution of stake to public at the time of listing the company on the stock exchange, the control goes to the foreign partner.

Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company had collected gross written premium of Rs 1,890 crore in 2014-15, marginally up from Rs 1,855 crore in the previous year. Profit after tax almost doubled to ` . 137 crore during the last financial year, from ` . 70 crore in 2013-14. The company operates through nearly 105branches and over 9,000 agents across the country.

According to the company’s annual report, its net worth was ` . 719 crore as on March 31, 2015. It had fixed assets of `. 61.7 crore and investment portfolio of `. 3,164 crore. The general insurance industry has grown about 9.3% over the previous year, after being hit by economic slowdown over the past couple of years that affected auto sales and the motor insurance business badly, for instance.

The industry is expected to grow 15% in the current fiscal, with increase in the motor third party premium, the likely improvement in fire and engineering portfolio, and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. Segments such as fire and engineering, marine and auto are poised to do well, with economic activity showing initial signs of pickup and stalled projects getting back on stream as well as new projects coming up.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 09/09/2015

Source: Economic Times

Date: 09/09/2015