Paytm General Insurance gets new CEO, managing director

Previously, Arora served as the managing director and chief executive officer of Aegon Life Insurance Company and was part of the India Leadership team.

NEW DELHI: Digital payments major Paytm on Wednesday said it has named Vineet Arora as the managing director and chief executive officer of Paytm General Insurance Ltd.

The appointment, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is a step for Paytm to further its journey into the insurance sector with an immediate focus on General Insurance, the company said in a statement.

Arora will lead the efforts to provide industry-leading solutions in the general insurance space, where Paytm continues to explore options to enter the sector, it added.

“The financial service solutions that Paytm is building for millions in India are relevant globally as well. With Paytm leading the way I believe just like payments, the general insurance industry would also go through a major transformation going forward,” Arora said.

Previously, Arora served as the managing director and chief executive officer of Aegon Life Insurance Company and was part of the India Leadership team.


Before that, he was senior general manager and head Product, Distribution, Marketing and Wealth Management at ICICI Securities Ltd where he built a profitable distribution business across various delivery channels.


Source: Economic Times

Date: 15th April 2020

6 Tips To Manage HR Challenges In Remote Working

When hit with a pandemic such as COVID-19 companies with no-remote-working and hybrid offerings have to make room for extended remote working facilities to almost the entire workforce.


Though only 16% of companies are fully remote, we are all too familiar with the gig workforce, and remote working. According to a recent survey, 44% of companies don’t provide an option to work remotely. The remaining 40% of companies have hybrid offerings with both remote and in-office options.

Most companies offer remote working under special circumstances for a shorter time-span for very few workforces. The occasional once in a week work from home is mostly managed within the team and doesn’t warrant an HR policy change.

When hit with a pandemic such as COVID-19 companies with no-remote-working and hybrid offerings have to make room for extended remote working facilities to almost the entire workforce. After completing the gargantuan task of providing the necessary infrastructure to enable the employees to work from home, then comes the more subtle human resource management aspects of the remote working. It necessitates an HR policy redraft across industry sectors, which would definitely lead to a new HR tech revolution. With new challenges emerges a new technology solution to tackle it efficiently. Unprecedented challenges help us find innovative solutions. Cloud-based HRMS software and Employee Performance Management Software helps you continue your HR operations effectively.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, organizations are looking at providing 2 to 5 months of extensive work from home options for the majority of the workforce. Responsibility of keeping up the productivity and deliverables may fall under team managers or team leads. Nonetheless, HR may face different kinds of challenges with this entirely new scenario. The big question hers is, are HRs ready with tactical plans to douse the conflicts, resentments and help the employees stay engaged and motivated.

Here are the 6 tips on how the HR team can manage the remote workforce during the difficult days of coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Redefine HR policy guidelines on attendance, leave and other administrative aspects: Before attempting to redraft the policy, you need to be mindful of the inherent nature of remote working, which is flexible working hours. Your fixed office hours are gone for a toss. However, you need to establish clear rules, parameters, and expectations. You may have experience in dealing with a couple of remote workers. Take a leaf out of that book and try to find policy guidelines that fall somewhere in between control and autonomy.
  2. Design specific programs to engage, collaborate and motivate remote employees: Self-discipline is an acquired skill. Employees who are not very much used to remote working may find it difficult to cope with it after the initial euphoria ends. It’s better to have a sustainable game plan to engage and motivate your employees. Sharing how-to blogs on maintaining self-discipline during remote working, collaborating and connecting with your team and colleagues helps your employees get better acquainted with the situation.
  3. Regular check-ins with skype call/zoom meetings: When you are not meeting in-person regularly, naturally they would feel distanced and isolated and would feel hesitant to reach you to address their difficulties. Initiate impromptu skype calls with your employees randomly to have a 5-minute chit-chat. Show them you are available for them to solve their issues. Make them realize out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.
  4. Remote work is stressful too – Rope in Online Counselors: Remote work and flexible hours mean they are “always-on”. The line between working hours and personal hours blur. They need the most help because they don’t have colleagues to be a soundboard to hear their work stress, frustrations or support during the dog days. Move your wellness counseling from in-office to online sessions or tie-up with a local wellness counselor.
  5. Weekly all-hands meetings with mandatory videos: Insist on weekly all-hands online video meetings with each team. It may give an excuse for them to dress up and provide an opportunity to be vocal about their issues and achievements. Video calls help the employees to see each other and help them bond better. You can observe their body language and reaction during the interactions to measure their interest, involvement or indifference and see what you can do to help them cope up if needed.
  6. Official fun channel: Technology comes to your rescue in most difficult times. Be it handling the payroll, leave and other administrative tasks or sending corporate email communication or creating an organization-wide official fun channel in the preferred collaboration tool. Pop-in random questions and initiate a horde of funny responses, gifs, and memes to give them a sense of being and working together. You can bring in small measures, the fun and spirited energy of the office environment.

By staying-in and maintaining social distancing, we can beat the virus and return to normality. Until then with compassion and the help of technology we can support each other and pass through the difficult days.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.



Source: BW

Date: 16th April 2020

Coronavirus insurance policy: Up to ₹2 lakh if you test positive, cover for pay cut

The plan covers anyone between the age of 3 months to 60 years

Reliance General insurance offers a lump sum amount up to 100% of the sum assured if you test positive for the virus

In the wake of coronavirus outbreak in the country, Reliance General insurance recently launched a COVID-19 insurance scheme. Anyone who tests positive for novel coronavirus will get the benefits under this new insurance policy.

Reliance General insurance offers a lump sum amount up to 100% of the sum assured if you test positive for the virus. Even if the person is quarantined, the plan offers 50% of the sum-insured for that period.

The plan covers anyone between the age of 3 months to 60 years. The sum insured options range from ₹25,000 to ₹2 lakh.

The plan has a policy period of one year and the waiting period is for 15 days before one can claim against the policy, according to a statement by the company.

“We have designed this product to reduce the financial implications this pandemic can bring to an individual, by offering them a lump sum policy, irrespective of the treatment cost,” the company’s Executive Director and CEO Rakesh Jain said.

As an additional benefit, the plan will also cover for any loss of pay or job.

The plan has an add-on option, ‘Travel Exclusion Removal’, which offers a waiver to the 45-day travel exclusion policy and enables the insured to claim 100 percent of the sum-insured if they test positive.

Earlier, PhonePe announced an insurance policy called ‘Corona Care’ in collaboration with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Priced at ₹156, the policy will provide an insurance cover of ₹50,000 for people who are under 55 years of age and will be valid at any hospital that is offering treatment for COVID-19.

The total number of coronavirus cases in India surged to 7,447. The death toll also crossed 200-mark.



Nearly a third of workers ‘actively avoid’ going to HR with problems

  • One-fifth of workers don’t trust HR, and nearly a third (30%) actively avoid going to HR with problems, according to a new survey of more than 500 employees and 300 HR professionals conducted by Zenefits’ Workest.
  • Of the workers who avoid going to HR, 35% said it’s because they don’t trust HR to help, and 31% said they feared retaliation. Some of the reluctance may be due to a negative perception of HR or their employers overall; 23% of respondents said they had witnessed or experienced “poor HR, hurtful management, or discrimination.” Thirty-eight percent of employee respondents felt that HR did not equally enforce company policies across all employees; 18% of that group said they believed managers received special treatment.
  • Most of the HR respondents said that fewer than 30% of complaints they received in the last two years resulted in any disciplinary action. According to a Workest blog post about the survey, “Having less than a third of cases result in disciplinary action led employees to wonder — if they bring complaints forward, will anything even result?”

Dive Insight:

Some employees may have an inaccurate perception of what HR does, but the survey makes clear that workplace culture-building efforts still leave a lot to be desired — particularly when it comes to employees and HR working together to stop harassment.

According to a recent Emtrain study, most employees (83%) would not report harassment if they saw it. Additionally, similar to the findings in the Workest survey, 41% of workers were not confident that management would take a complaint seriously.

Nonetheless, culture is becoming a priority for some business leaders, many of which are hiring chief people officers both to help remedy toxic environments and also as a proactive strategic talent measure.

Investing in retention and culture makes sense for companies’ bottom lines: In the past five years, the turnover cost of a toxic work environment was more than $223 billion for U.S. employers, according to Society for Human Resource Management research.

In order for culture efforts to bear fruit, they have to be more than mere lip service. Some believe business leaders and corporate directors are not making real efforts toward these goals. In a recent Accenture survey, business leaders reported financial performance and brand recognition as their most important priorities. Just over a third (34%) of the leaders surveyed ranked diversity as a top priority.

Source: HR Dive

Date: 2nd April, 2020

How will COVID-19 shape organizations’ HR strategies?

Over the past several weeks, organizations of all sizes have dealt with unparalleled changes (and journalists have reached for their thesaurus to find new synonyms for “unprecedented”).  Standing in the breach of the turmoil are the chief people officers who are helping to steer their organizations through uncharted waters. 

Four human resources experts that we gathered this week for a virtual roundtable shared their experiences and best practices with more than 250 Business Record readers watching live. Moderated by Business Record Publisher Chris Conetzkey and Senior Staff Writer Joe Gardyasz, the panel included:

– CJ Jacobson
 – Vice president of people and culture | ITA Group
– Ali Payne – President | ethOs | Practice leader of organizational engagement | Holmes Murphy & Associates
– Jo Ellen Whitney – Attorney | Davis Brown Law Firm
– Amanda Young – SVP, chief human resources officer | Bankers Trust

Among the themes that emerged from the hourlong discussion was the importance of communication, compassion and continued human interactions as organizations respond on the fly to make critical decisions involving the health and safety of their employees, clients and customers — while trying to ensure that their businesses will survive.

In addition to the strategic shifts that organizations have made to adjusting conditions, the panelists also foresee some significant long-term ramifications for how organizations handle remote working in the future.

The Business Record will provide more in-depth coverage from the conversation in the April 17 print edition.

Meanwhile, here are responses that the panelists gave to the first question posed: What has been the biggest transformational change you’ve seen as an HR professional in your organization in the past couple of weeks?

Amanda Young: 
We’re uncertain when it’s going to end, so plans we make today may change within a month, a week, or even within a day as different guidance comes out from the CDC, the World Health Organization and from different government entities and officials. … What we’re all trying to do is strike that balance between helpful optimism and practical realism to maintain that mental fortitude to keep up this pace.

Ali Payne: 
Organizations are really having to ask themselves, did we have the proper [procedures in place] to do what we needed to do, which was execute something that we thought would never happen. They’re asking themselves: Is our culture strong enough to hold both when we’re in the office and when we’re working from home? Do we have the right relationships built with our customers so that they feel supported at this time? I think having a strong culture and having a strong sense of community can really support all of these opportunities that we have in the future.

CJ Jacobson: 
I would say [a big transformational change] was the ability to move our staff to a remote workforce environment. We had about 25% of our team members who had never worked from home before, and within two to three days we had them equipped and trained and ready to work at home, which was quite amazing. I recently saw this definition of the word “agile,” and it is the ability to change the overall system completely in response to an unpredictable external force. And I think that’s what we’re all feeling right now. Our guiding principles as we walk through this uncertain time is to be calm, to be caring, and to stay connected.

Jo Ellen Whitney: 
One [observation] is how incredibly important the HR fundamentals are, because if you didn’t have good HR fundamentals — if you didn’t have cross-training, if you hadn’t done a good job of setting expectations — that’s all become much worse. Bad employees don’t get better in a pandemic; they only get worse. So I’ve had a lot of clients say to me, “You know, I wish we would have done better training earlier.” So I think that really highlights the importance of HR when you’re going to the CFO with budget requests. The second thing is that for my clients, the ones who are transparent, who are doing a good job communicating with their employees and telling them what they’re thinking, are doing better than the ones who have less transparency.


Source: Business Record

Date: 2nd April, 2020

Cos Introduce Special Leave to Ensure Isolated Staff Get Pay

THINKING LONG TERM Move meant to encourage social distancing so that any potentially infected employee does not attend work and spread the virus among others

Top Indian companies are closing ranks to protect their employees in the fight against Covid-19 by introducing special provisions in company policies to assure quarantining staff that their isolation period will not affect their take home salaries.

Steel major Tata Steel has tweaked its leave policy to include a “special leave” provision for any employee who might need to selfquarantine or stay away from office due to perceived Corona virus exposure.

The “special leave” provision, which will be applicable for white as well as blue collared workers, will enable even a person who has not been diagnosed sick but has either been advised or has decided to self-quarantine. The leave can be taken for any number of days required for the employee to recover during which period the person will be entitled to full pay and the other regular leaves such as sick leave and privilege leaves will remain unaffected.

“We have introduced a special leave provision where, in case a person wants to or is recommended to self-isolate, he or she can take leave till as long as required,” said Suresh Tripathy, vice-president – human resources of Tata Steel.

“The idea is people should not worry about leaves at this time. We want to facilitate social distancing whenever the need be, so that the employee does not hesitate to stay at home in fear of leave being deducted or pay getting cut,” said Tripathy.

Others like RPG Enterprises is also advising and encouraging employees to take leave for as long as they need in cases where they are unable to work from home till the time they get better. To facilitate this, RPG has come up with an “exceptional” leave policy with full pay for as long as needed.

Food delivery app Swiggy is currently working on similar policies and is expected to roll it out shortly.

“This is a never-anticipated situation and if someone is unwell they can be away from work for as long as they want till they are fully fit to join back,” said Supratik Bhattacharyya, chief talent officer, RPG Group.

Tata Steel is encouraging people perceived to be more vulnerable to catch the infection, like expecting mothers, to take leave for as long as needed in cases where they cannot work from home. All leaves will be fully paid, said Tata Steel’s head of HR.

While legal experts said that as per laws, employee can avail entitled leave (sick leave, privileged or earned leave, etc), in situations where they are not unwell but is self-quarantining or asked to quarantine, several companies in India are taking the leap forward to allow fully paid special leaves in a bid to encourage social distancing so that any potentially infected employee does not attend work and spread the virus among others.

“Employers are looking at this situation as entirely different from any other and considering such absence from work as paid leave while the other regular annual leaves remained untouched,” said Anshul Prakash, partner, Khaitan & Co, a specialist in employment and labour law.

Legal experts and companies are also looking at how to prevent discrimination on medical ground so that an employer cannot invoke employment contract and terminate someone on medical reasons for being away from work for more than a month.

Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra, however, said that all leaves taken will get deducted from the employees’ annual leave basket. If someone had travelled to one of the red-listed countries (nations that have reported higher number of corona virus affected cases) they are quarantined as part of the tour. However, if someone had gone on a personal holiday, then the person will have to avail from the already existing “exigency leave” which is a combination of casual and sick leave and can be availed up to a maximum of 70 days, said Prince Augustin, executive vice president, group human capital & leadership development at Mahindra & Mahindra. In addition, they can also avail their privileged leaves.

“We can see a lot of discussion going on in companies around policies pertaining to employees’ physical and financial wellbeing that need to be revisited,” said Anurag Malik, partner – people advisory services, EY India.

“Most companies are granting paid time off for employees with symptoms and will also do so for employees who must take care of family members diagnosed with Covid-19 and those who may themselves get diagnosed with Covid-19,” he said.

Source:- The Economic Times

Date:- 18th March,2020-Wednesday


US insurance companies will cover costs of COVID-19 testing and treatment

US health insurance companies will waive copays for testing and cover the cost of treatment for the novel coronavirus, said Vice President Mike Pence during a press briefing today. Medicare and Medicaid will also cover costs without copays.

The CEOs of major insurance companies, including Anthem, Cigna, Humana, and Aetna, attended a briefing at the White House today. The companies also said that there would not be surprise billing for costs associated with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new virus. Details of those policies were not available.

“As the testing is expanding, we wanted to make sure the American people knew that testing was available to them and that cost would not be a barrier,” Pence said.

While there are more tests available in the US than there were a few weeks ago, labs still can only conduct a limited number of tests each day. So although there are more tests available, testing capacity is limited. Analysis suggests only a few thousand people have been tested for the virus in the country, and it is still difficult for people who think they may be infected to receive the test.

The major insurance companies also agreed to cover the costs of telemedicine. Medicare is also covering costs associated with remote care, Pence said during the press conference.

There are currently nearly 1,000 cases of COVID-19 identified in the US, and public health officials expect that number will continue to rise.


Source: The Verge

Date: 10th March 2020