Mumbai rains wreak havoc: How insurance covers can come to your rescue

For residents of Mumbai’s Llyod’s Estate that was affected by heavyrains, car insurance can help but not home insurance as the structure of the building wasn’t damaged


Earlier this week, heavy monsoon showers caused substantial damage in Mumbai, with roads caving in some parts of the city. According to media reports, around 15 cars got damaged when the compound wall and internal road of Lloyd’s Estate, a housing society in Wadala, caved in. Residents were also asked to evacuate the society temporarily for authorities to inspect the building. Though the temporary evacuation is sure to upset the residents’ lifestyle for a while, they have some recourse in insurance for the losses they might have suffered as far as damages to vehicles are concerned. Others can gear up to bear the brunt of monsoon showers by buying the right car and home insurance policies.

Damage to your car

Floods are bad news for vehicle owners. If water gets inside the car, it can damage the interiors or worse the car engine. “The own damage cover of a car insurance policy will pay for any damage to upholstery or built-in electronics of the car like the stereo system, but if there are add-ons like the policyholder has installed a high-end stereo instead of a built-in stereo, it will have to be declared and insured by paying extra premium,”said Sanjay Datta, chief underwriting and claims, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd.

For affected Mumbai residents, though, car damage also occurred due to landslide and roads caving in but they can make a claim. “Damage to vehicles in this case is accidental and hence insured. The policyholder needs to inform the insurer as soon as possible. The car will have to be pulled out of the debris, towed to the workshop which will then assess the repair cost,” said Sasikumar Adidamu, chief technical officer, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd.

“In case the repair cost is more than the insured declared value (IDV), it will be seen as total loss and the entire IDV will be paid to the customer,” he added. The value of your car depreciates each year and IDV is the sum insured that’s calculated based on the invoice of your car minus depreciation. However, there are certain items that the insurer will not pay for.

It gets tricky when driving on a flooded road damages the car engine. If the vehicle is flooded and you continue to drive or start the engine, the water gets sucked into the engine and damages it. So, when you see water levels reach the middle of the wheel, don’t attempt to start or drive your car. If you do, any damage to the engine will not be considered accidental but consequential damage which isn’t paid by the insurer.

To cover consequential loss to engine add-on covers engine protect or engine secure can help. But the insurer will deduct depreciation while paying the claim. A zero-depreciation add-on cover will work here.

Damage to your house

Heavy rains and floods can also cause considerable damage to your house and home insurance helps as it covers the structure as well as the contents of the house. “Home insurance packs in fire insurance and insurance against burglary. Fire insurance covers the building and the contents against 12 perils, including storm, tempest, inundation and flood. So if your house is damaged due to a landslide caused by floods you can claim insurance,” said Kapil Mehta, co-founder, SecureNow Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd.

It also packs in covers against mechanical or electrical breakdown. Other covers include public liability cover (compensates a thirdparty for losses caused by you), personal accident cover (offers insurance on account of accidental death or total permanent and partial disability due to an accident) and alternate rent cover that pays rentals for the period your house is under repairs due to damages.

However for the residents of Lloyd’s Estate, home insurance will be of little use as there is no damage to the building. “The fire brigade evacuated the residents to ensure their safety. Even if the residents had taken alternate rent cover under the fire insurance policy, since there is no damage to the building from an insured cause, the rent incurred by shifted residents will not be payable by policies,” said K.G. Krishnamoorthy Rao, managing director and chief executive officer, Future Generali India Insurance Co. Ltd.

But in the case of an actual damage, home insurance helps and so it’s important to understand the basics. Go for a policy on a reinstatement basis and make sure you don’t under insure yourself. If you live in a building then you could also look at policies that work on the concept of “agreed value” basis. In the event of a loss, you get the agreed value and the ownership of your house is transferred to the insurer.


Date: 28th June 2018

“IndiaFirst Life Insurance ties up with Oxigen to widen reach”

The partnership will begin as a pilot project for three to six months, first in Bihar and Odisha, and then in Uttar Pradesh, to understand ground challenges

IndiaFirst Life Insurance has partnered payment solutions provider Oxigen to utilise its point of sale (POS) network for distributing insurance policies in a bid to reach the underbanked population.

“We are taking insurance to the last mile, both in rural and urban areas. This is for people who are either not saving or not opting for insurance because of paperwork issues,” said Pramod Saxena, chairman and managing director (MD), Oxigen Services India.

The partnership is aimed at enabling customers to buy IndiaFirst’s insurance product across Oxigen’s 240,000 common service centres (CSCs) within minutes and eliminating paperwork. The life insurance company has designed ‘Khata’, its new product, keeping in mind the needs of customers in underbanked locations. Khata is a non-life, non-participating term assurance with return of premium plan. It provides individuals with the flexibility of paying premiums in parts, as and when possible.

“Khata is primarily targeted towards self-employed customers who do not have regular income. For these people, it is difficult to commit to a certain product that requires regular outflow,” said RM Vishakha, MD and chief executive officer of IndiaFirst Life.

The partnership will begin as a pilot project for three to six months, first in Bihar and Odisha, and then in Uttar Pradesh, to understand ground challenges. “The idea is to focus on most eastern and central regions, which are largely underbanked. That is where our last-mile banking services are focused, and that’s where we’d like to overlay insurance,” said Saxena.

While Oxigen has attempted selling other insurance products before, Saxena said none of them have worked. He believes the simplicity of Khata, however, would help sell itself, and calls the product a ‘micro sachet’ of insurance.

Vishakha said, “Unlike the top-up system in the telecom industry, insurance is the one thing that is not getting commoditised and it is so required.”

While the product’s claims and top-ups for the insurance product can all be initiated online or through an app, most of the customers will require assistance of the retailer.


Source: Business Standard

Date: 22nd June, 2018

Current trends within the HR World

Witnessing dramatic changes in how talent is identified, onboard and supported, HR industry has now shifted to more evidence-driven from a traditional HR model. The increasing adoption of HR software has aided to streamline the data analytics process and expedite “Social connections”.

Today teams are the major building blocks of an organization. Henceforth, the focus of HR is shifting from individuals to teams. As most of the HR professionals aspire to become the strategic business partners, HR operations have also seen an upgrade that will continue with an inclination towards High Service Orientation.Also, redesigning the performance management cycle by more frequent feedback, from multiple sources; has become one of the major trends of the HR world.The focus of the performance consulting is to provide a concrete actionable feedback on ‘how to improve performance’. They look for personality, cultural fit and that can create capabilities.

Moreover, we see more and more clever HR tech solutions that have lived to the employee’s promises, but recently we see a trend to a shift back to a more employee-centric approach; which means, HR is returning to its roots and focuses more on employee experience.

How leadership contributes to a Company’s success, how to balance crisis situation?

Starting a business or being hired in a supervisory role doesn’t automatically denote leadership. Strong leadership requires several elements working in harmony to steer the ship. The right kind of guiding hand can maximize output and reach goals while setting new ones. The wrong type of leadership can sink the whole company.A lot of people believe that the true leadership capacity of a person is tested during times of crisis. We believe the most important thing to do during a crisis is to maintain an example for your employees by keeping cool, calm, and collected, which will allow you to think about the curveballs being thrown your way.

When crisis strikes, it is essential to manage many relationships among many people,the ability, through inspiring others, managing conflicts, fostering teamwork, and other competencies, to moving people in the direction you desire. Each of these competencies requires self-awareness, self-control, and social awareness.

What are tools of employee retention?

Successful organizations realize employee retention is integral to sustaining their leadership and growth in the marketplace. Those that fail to make employee retention a priority is at risk of losing their top talented people to the competition.

Teams with reduced employee turnover develop a deep familiarity with the goals and objectives of the organization. They often become personally invested in the success of the team and company. By focusing on the skills and practices that maximize hiring efficiency and minimize employee turnover, managers promote employee retention and build stronger teams.Rewards have emerged as a powerful tool for employee attraction and retention. Armed with detailed knowledge about their employees’ wants and needs, today employers need to create programs that touch the employees’ needs and wants while being aligned to an organization’s financial realities, business goals and talent requirements.

How to balance employer and employee demands. What is the role of a CHRO as a leader in a company’s success? What are the steps taken for talent development by companies today?

The ultimate challenge to attain the smooth gears and balance the employer and employee demands is The Skills Gap, a mega trend that could take up its own long-term feature. It is at a grassroots level, and employers already have the approach they need to take. Employers need to connect with the potential future employees, teach in-demand skills. Moreover, as a leader in company’s success, CHRO will need to focus on building a culture of progress, chiefly if employees want to be prepared for the unrelenting renovations taking place in how people work. And when it comes to overcoming the skills gap, one of the biggest improvements could be a contingent workforce that brings the whole new set of challenges for HR leaders to contend with. It will turn out to be an exciting time where HR will help facilitate the understanding and development of the employee experience; and as it’s said, “Regardless of the success factors, the leader that sees the benefits of inclusions, paves its way to the top of the list”.

Source- bwpeople.businessworld.

Date- 6th June 2018

It will take five years to wipe out losses in life insurance: Sam Ghosh, MD, Bharti Enterprises

Bharti AXA expects both its businesses — life and general insurance — to be among the top 5 in the coming years. In an interview with ET, Sam Ghosh, MD of the financial services arm of Bharti Enterprises, talks about the challenges while charting a profitable growth path. Edited excerpts:

You have moved up from 15th to 13th in terms of ranking. How soon do you think you can get to top 10? How do you scale up from there?
We ended the year at 13th and we look to get to the top 10 in a couple of years. This year, life business is likely to grow by over 50% and non-life at 45%. Ultimately, the aim is to boost the business with focus on profitability and how to be among the top players. In life insurance, we added 25,000 agents. This year we will ramp up even further. We added 50 branches and add another 100 this year. We had some third-party partners, but we want to add some more. We want to add banks. We think a bank is missing on the life insurance side.

On the general insurance side, we have added HDFC BankNSE -0.25 % last year. We have tieups with HSBC and StanChart Bank. We don’t have a bank partner and that is our downside. We have to build our agency and proprietary channel. To break into top 3, we have to invest in inorganic growth. We are looking at options whenever the matter comes up. If it is at reasonable price, both shareholders will look at it. It should be the right price.

What would you consider reasonable valuation?
Some of the deals in the market in the mid-tier range are commanding the same valuations as the listed ones. If you look at the trading multiples of listed companies, if a company is at number 7-8 in the pecking order, you have to give them some discount.

Have both the businesses turned profitable now?
The life insurance company has broken even after 13 years. Non-life company is showing profit. We brought our IT system back to India. It was in Hong Kong. From a profitability and growth perspective, it is going to happen. We have booked a profit of Rs 5 crore for life insurance and it is the first year of break-even. In general insurance, we have reported loss this year. We have brought down our loss in general insurance to Rs 93 crore from Rs 150 crore a year ago. I have put aside money for third party. Reserving for third party was low. We have fixed that. We have changed the product mix. We have increased the share of motor insurance to 60%. We have started health and the commercial line. It will take us 4-5 years to wipe out losses in life insurance. Our EV is growing. This year, we will break even in our general insurance business and start showing profit from next year.

You had cut down the number of branches when you took over. What is the strategy now?
We changed the mix. We added much more front line. Earlier, the cost structure in life was 20% in head office and operations. Now 90% is on front line and only 10% is head office and operations. We have realigned. We moved more people to sales. In non-life, we moved the company from Bengaluru to Mumbai. Lot of people left in the process. We added new partners and channels, So we needed people to service them.

There are almost a dozen new general insurance companies. How is competition panning out? What are the challenges ahead in this space?
If you grow distribution, there is no competition. Some of the mid-sized players have stagnated. In general insurance, the commercial lines business has shrunk. The good thing is that retail is growing; so you have health and motor continuing to grow at a significant rate. The challenge of pricing and claims handling will remain. Life insurance is more face to face. This year our focus is to digitize back office. We are looking to work with Airtel customers as well. We are talking about how to make it completely digital.

Now, Bharti runs the show while Axa has taken the back seat. What has changed?
Axa wants to be in India. It has gone up to 49% from 26% in both general insurance and life insurance. It has given the Indian promoter a lot of freedom. AXA bought XL; so there will be a large chunk of corporate clients we could have access to. Last year, we closed a corporate book of Rs 150 crore and we plan to grow the book. We have added people for commercial lines.

Why is your attrition higher?
When your investment is growing, your attrition is higher. When you are stabilising, you control attrition. In Life insurance, agency contributed 55% of the business last year. There is a direct sales team of 800. We added 400 in the last one year. Our agency sales force has gone up from 10,000 to 25,000 this year. We plan to take it to 40,000 this year. We are planning to set up a TPA for government health scheme. We are looking to hire an agency for health. We do motor with motor dealers and through our separate agency force. We have separate SME agency clients. We also have a separate team for agri.

In case of inorganic growth, will you look at merger or acquisition?
It is based on opportunities. It depends. If it is a big bank, then they may want a shareholding; so it will be a merger. First choice is 100% buyout and the second will be merger to get bank assurance.

Premium for motor insurance fell after the new MISP guidelines capping commission came in. How is the motor insurance business affected?
Our business has slowed down due to MISP. Lot of people are flouting these guidelines. The concept is good. It helped bring down the pricing. In the last two months, payouts have gone up. Not everyone but few companies are being opportunistic. Largely discipline is coming in. To be fair, IRDAI is auditing the insurance companies to see there is no violation of the guidelines.

Has the focus of the industry moved from topline to profitability with private equity investors coming in?
These investors are looking at a minimum five-year horizon. They are looking at growth. They are not looking at short-term dividend. It is a game of market share. Market is growing fast; so the multiple is higher. In the industry, all big players are focusing on profitability.

Source- Economic Times

Date- 5th June 2018


Avengers assemble! Remaking and rebuilding HR

In an age where agility is prized almost above all other KPIs and time frames for decision-making are tighter than ever, how relevant is the ‘Ulrich model’ of HR business partners and centres of excellence?

For Sam Neo, founder and chief people officer at People Mentality Inc, that traditional model is still relevant – however, he sees it evolving to match the current reality of more gig workers and having robotics/AI in the mix.

Having worked in various HR roles during his career, including a HR business partner role at Changi Airport Group, Neo understands the unique pressures facing HR. He suggests that in order for HRBPs to deliver value, their role must evolve towards internal consulting and true partnering, rather than simply supporting at the strategic level.

“On the technology front, besides AI there will also be more emphasis on having an analytics team which will provide greater insights to make sounder decisions and ensure that outcomes are more tangible,” he says. “That way, HR will then become more credible and effective.”

Shifting mindsets

A criticism of HR professionals has been that they are too siloed and insular; they know HR but have limited exposure to other areas of the business. Neo says a shift in mindset is required.

“This can be done through various ways such as being involved in other communities besides HR communities, getting business exposure with secondment assignments to the line itself etc,” he says. “The idea is for them to break out of the HR community and go beyond. That will help them broaden their horizon and remove blindspots that can hold them back with their limited view of the business.”

Another way is by adjusting the team composition to include people from different backgrounds. This includes non-HR people and gig workers, which will enable HR teams to move more effectively and adjust to the changing needs from there. To build agile organisations, Neo says the place to start is by shifting the focus from processes to creating experiences.

“Processes are there to create structure which is necessary for alignment and consistency,” he says. “But that’s not what HR is all about. Instead, HR needs to take its delivery to the next level where we focus on delivering great employee experience. This is key to engaging employees.”

Neo says that approaches like design thinking, whereby HR focuses on the employee experience and touch points, means it’s possible to cater to the needs of the employees which in turn, adds greater value to the business.

The HR Avengers

Since setting up his own consultancy, Neo has hatched a concept called The HR Avengers, which was something he developed to focus on the importance of creating value through partnerships and building an ecosystem.

“Within the HR Avengers for People Mentality, I work primarily with HR professionals/consultants, HR tech providers and trainers,” he says. “The HR folks will be there to structure solutions and implement them. HR tech providers are there to automate processes, provide insights and free up time for businesses to carry out higher value-added work. Finally, trainers are there to build competencies for the people and leadership team to ensure growth and effective change.” This HR Avengers team allows Neo to build a one-stop solution that serves the needs of businesses while ensuring that while we each have our various strengths and weaknesses, we can come together as a team, just like the Avengers, to solve a huge problem collectively.

“That’s the beauty of it,” Neo says. “This started when I realised that there is only so much that I could do alone. I could only go so deep with the limited amount of time and ‘experience’ that I have. Thus, I tried to find a cost-effective way to work and to bring across a strong message about the importance of breaking silos and working with an ecosystem. That’s how the HR Avengers concept came about.”

Embrace automation

Neo is of the view that job automation in the HR profession – an issue which has been making headlines in recent years – is not something to be feared. “I actually see it as something complementary and an opportunity for HR to step away from being perceived as a transaction-maker to a value-adding function,” he says. “The automation will essentially free up time to allow HR folks to focus on higher value-added work that is key if it wants to be held in higher regards within the organisation.That said, he’s aware that HR needs to first equip themselves with the skillsets to be able to do work at the next level. “Failing which, they should definitely be worried about their jobs being made obsolete,” he says.


Source- Hrdmag

Date- 6th June 2018