HR pressured by job market to invest in wellness benefits

Dive Brief:

  • It’s an employees’ market, and employers are feeling pressured to up their benefits offerings in response, according to a new study from Wellable, a firm specializing in employee wellness. Wellable gathered responses from 105 employee wellness professionals.
  • Over one third (35%) of respondents said employers would spend more on wellness programs in 2018, while just 15% stated that they would decrease spending. Areas targeted for increased spending include telemedicine, mental health and financial wellness, while the opposite trend is predicted for health fairs, fitness classes, health coaching and health risk assessments, largely because these services are harder to scale and cost more per engaged employee, Wellable said.
  • Results also showed that, when determining benefits investment, 79% of respondents cited a competitive benefits plan as an influencer, and 77% cited cost. The least influential factor was healthcare reform; less than 50% of respondents expect to be significantly influenced by legislative activity from Congress, while 20% expect healthcare reform to have little influence on employers.

Dive Insight:

For wellness programs to be worth the investment, employers and workers must agree on the value and effectiveness of those programs. In a 2018 Willis Towers Watson study, more than half of employers believed their wellness programs were effective, while just 32% of employees agreed. The demand for financial wellness has increased, with money problems being a major source of stress and distraction for employees at work.

Employers also must factor in their wellness programs’ impact on recruitment, retention and engagement. Employees who generally are dissatisfied with their benefits will leave to work for an organization with better benefits. In fact, a 2018 Randstad U.S. survey showed that benefits can be a bigger employment draw than money; more than half of workers polled said they had left a job for one with better benefits.

Of course, return on investment (ROI) is a common test for wellness programs, and ROI measurements can be especially disappointing during the first year of implementation. One study released earlier this year showed no improvements in health behaviors, medical expenditures, employee productivity or self-reported health status after year one of an example program.

Employers must invest in the kind of wellness, or well-being, programs workers value most and avoid over-estimating the significance of these programs without proof of positive outcomes.

Source-HR Dive



Is HR doing enough to navigate the #MeToo world?

From compliance to the future of work, HR teams today are hit with a multitude of priorities.

In fact, addressing each one individually is an immense effort and likely beyond the capacity of any single HR team, according to Steve Reid, chief people and culture officer, oOh!media.

“The #MeToo scandal is a clear example of why HR should be primarily and obsessively focused on building culture,” Reid told HRD.

“A great culture promotes openness, inclusion, belonging, enables change and demands acceptable standards of behaviour.

“The question is: Is HR doing enough to create cultures that prevent these scandals in the first place? Maybe not.”

Jessica Ciccozzi, general manager people and capability, QinetiQ Pty Ltd, added that she is “acutely aware” that employees don’t always feel comfortable stepping forward to raise workplace harassment concerns.

“The #MeToo campaign provided us with a valuable platform to proactively discuss these issues more openly,” said Ciccozzi.

“It’s easy to become complacent, but we have a duty of care to ensure we are always focused on reviewing our workplaces, training, and frameworks.”

This requires a continuous, long-term strategy that is driven both top down and bottom up, requiring open and honest discussions, according to Ciccozzi.

It also requires all leaders to be engaged and communicating with their teams regularly on acceptable behaviours, even when problematic behaviours aren’t evident.

The #MeToo movement has swept the country over the past year and businesses all over the world have moved to improve their HR policies, according to Matt Paine, ICC Sydney’s director of human resources.

Indeed, Paine cited research by the Society for Human Resource Management which indicates that half of businesses surveyed have, or are planning to, make changes to policies to improve how their businesses manage harassment.

“This is an opportunity to take stock, to set up or reconsider processes,” said Paine.

“HR has a leading role in educating teams and creating safe places for everyone.

“It’s up to every one of us to ensure our people are aware of what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong’ in any work environment.”


Dated: 8th August 2018

Rs 15,167 crore unclaimed money of policyholders lying with life insurers

As much as Rs 15,167 crore amount of policyholders is lying unclaimed with 23 life insurers, according to Irdai data. Insurance regulator Irdai has already asked insurers to take steps to identify the policyholders or beneficiaries and disburse the claims.


Board level committee for policyholder protection of every insurer is entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring the timely payout of the all dues to policyholders.


It also oversees the steps taken by the insurers to reduce unclaimed amounts as part of the standard procedures on customer service.


Out of the total unclaimed amount of Rs 15,166.47 crore, as on March 31, 2018, insurance behemoth Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is sitting on Rs 10,509 crore, while the 22 private sector insurers account for the remaining Rs 4,657.45 crore.


Among the private insurers, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co has 807.4 crore of unclaimed insurance claims followed Reliance Nippon Life Insurance (Rs 696.12 crore), SBI Life Insurance Co (Rs 678.59 crore) and HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co (Rs 659.3 crore).


The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) had asked the life insurance companies to provide a search facility on their website to enable policyholders or beneficiaries or dependents to find out whether any unclaimed amounts due to them are lying with these companies.


Policyholders/beneficiaries are required to enter the details like policy number, PAN of the policyholder, name of the policyholder, date of birth or Aadhaar number, in a window provided on the website of the insurer to find out the unclaimed amount.


The insurers have to update information regarding unclaimed amounts on their websites on half-yearly basis.


Source-Asia Insurance Post



Third-party insurance to be mandatory for new vehicles from 1 September 2018

Third-Party new vehicle insurance to be made mandatory from 1 September

– Insurance coverage for four-wheelers should be three years

– Insurance coverage for two-wheelers should be five years


A new Supreme Court ruling mandates that every new four-wheeler and two-wheeler sold in the country from 1 September 2018 should have a third-party insurance. The apex court has passed the ruling to ensure that the victims of road accidents receive compensation and also to encourage the insurance firms to look at it from a ‘human point of view’ and not from a commercial point.


The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety observed that over one lakh people were dying in India every year in road accidents. In view of the situation, the committee headed by the former apex court judge Justice K S Radhakrishnan,  it was recommended that at the time of sale of two or four wheelers, third party insurance should be made mandatory for a period of five and three years respectively instead of one year. The report further indicates that around 18 crore vehicles were plying on the roads of the country out of which only six crore have third party insurance, and victims of road accidents did not receive compensation as vehicles did not have a third party cover.


The Committee had held detailed discussions with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), General Insurance Council, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance and the government of India. Post discussions, the bench came to a conclusion that third party insurance should be made mandatory for four wheelers for a period of three years and for two wheelers, it should be done for a period of five years.




Are you Productive Enough?

Productive: “Achieving or producing a significant amount of result.”

Enough: “As much or as many as required.”


As a time management coach, I’m keenly aware that you could answer the question “Am I productive enough?” using a variety of methods. I’m also familiar with the fact that individuals fall on a productivity spectrum. One person’s maximum productivity for a certain role in a particular environment could look vastly different from another person’s. These variations result from a combination of intrinsic ability, experience level, overall capacity, and desire.


For the purposes of this discussion, I’m narrowing the definition of “productive enough” to whether you are meeting the requirements of your job when operating at your personal peak performance. This reasoning process is outlined in the flowchart below, and we’ll walk through it step-by-step by answering a series of questions. At the end of this you should have a clearer sense of whether you can wrap up for the day knowing you were productive enough or whether you have room for improvement.




Question 1: Am I meeting expectations?

If “enough” is defined as “as much or as many as required,” then the initial essential question is whether you meet the requirements of your job. For people who have a well-defined job scope, answering this question may be easy: Did you meet the project milestones? Did you reply to customers within the specified times? Did you hit your sales targets? If you have a less clear job scope, this question may be a little harder to answer, but the answer should be evident by whether your manager has noted you have areas that need improvement.


If the answer is yes in regard to your key job responsibilities, then you’re productive enough. You could do more, but you don’t have to do more to meet expectations. If the answer is no, proceed to question two.


Question 2: Are these expectations my own, and not required by others?

Having high expectations of yourself can be a positive quality. But if you find yourself getting extremely stressed or working longer hours than you would prefer in order to meet expectations that aren’t significant to anyone else, your positive quality may have turned negative.


In these situations, you need to seriously ask yourself: Are these expectations my own, and not required — or potentially even noticed — by others? If the answer is yes, most likely you are productive enough. Instead of beating yourself up about what you’re not doing, it’s time to lower your expectations of yourself to a manageable level, aligned with everyone else’s. If the answer is no, if other people really do care about these expectations, then proceed to the next question.


Question 3: Am I owning my time management and using productivity resources?

Once you’ve clarified that you’re not meeting expectations that truly are important to fulfilling your job function, you need to evaluate whether you are owning your time management and using productivity resources.


Let’s dive a bit deeper into the two parts of this question.


Part one is: “Am I owning my time management”? From my perspective as a time management coach, this is asking whether you are proactive in how you allocate your time and effort. That includes clarifying priorities, planning your time, setting boundaries, and being focused when you are working. (Hint: If you obsessively check email, social media, or your phone and have little to no focused work time, you’re probably not meeting expectations in this area.) This is the strategic portion of your relationship with time.



Part two is: “Am I using productivity resources?” From my perspective, this entails utilizing the tools available to help you achieve efficiency. That could include having a written to-do list instead of keeping everything in your head, using tools like SaneBox or other email filtering systems, delegating more, or learning how to use your existing tools more efficiently. This is the tactical portion of your time management.


If you can confidently answer yes to both of the above, then within your current skill set, I would say you’re likely productive enough — you are doing the best you can within the circumstances. If you answer no to one or more of the above, then you’re likely not productive enough, meaning you are not producing the most you can within the circumstances.


How to Become Productive Enough

If you come to the end of the flowchart and recognize that you likely aren’t productive enough, then it’s time to evaluate your results and determine next steps.


One potential next step involves negotiating expectations. If you feel that you are owning your time management and using your productivity resources (so in a personal sense you’re productive enough), but you still worry you’re not meeting expectations, have a discussion with your manager. Lay out your different projects and deadlines as well as your work estimates and time capacity. Then see if you can get adjustments to your responsibilities. If your manager wants to consider a simple system for overall resource planning, tools such as can help.


Another potential next step involves honing your time-management skills. If you’re not planning, prioritizing, and focusing at certain times throughout the day, and your job requires any type of proactive work, I’m 98.2% positive you’re leaving productivity on the table. It’s your responsibility to get the help you need to improve these skills.


The same is true for productivity resources. If you’re not utilizing any tools — even paper ones — that can help you stay organized, you’re very likely missing out and wasting time. I would work on improving in these areas before asking for significant adjustments to expectations.


If you’ve been wondering whether you’re productive enough, this is one way to answer that question from a time management point of view. I hope the answer frees you to breathe a little easier or to get motivated to do what you can to improve your situation.



Date: 26th July, 2018

LIC Board Approves IDBI Bank Acquisition

Transaction may be via preferential shares, likely to be valued at about ₹12,000 crore

The board of the Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) approved a proposal to acquire 51% of state-run IDBI Bank, possibly through preferential shares, in a plan aimed at changing the lender’s fortunes. The government-owned insurer currently holds a 7.98% stake in the bank that’s laden with bad debt.

“Most likely (preferential shares) would be the way—the bank needs capital. They will issue preferential shares, that should be the method,” said economic affairs secretary SC Garg, who is also on the board of the state-run insurer. “The other (option) is that they can buy from the government but that does not provide capital to IDBI Bank and, therefore, that is the preferable mode to do it,” he said after the LIC board meeting in Delhi.

The government has been keen to convert IDBI Bank from a staid, state-owned entity burdened with rotten assets into a lender with the dynamic character of a private sector lender like Axis Bank. Arun Jaitley had said in his FY17 budget speech that IDBI Bank’s transformation had already begun and that the government would also consider the option of reducing its stake to below 50%.

The strategy hasn’t been without its opponents, including the unions of both LIC and IDBI Bank. The Congress and the Left parties have also criticised the plan, saying that the people’s savings with LIC would be used to bail out IDBI Bank.

IDBI Bank will soon hold a board meeting to approve the transaction that’s likely to be valued at about ₹12,000 crore, according to a government official.

LIC may Get 4 Board Seats

LIC could get four seats on the IDBI Bank board following the acquisition, the official said.

LIC will approach RBI and Sebi for approval. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has already given its nod for the acquisition by LIC. The deal is also expected to go to the Union Cabinet for approval. The government holds an 85.96% stake in the bank as of now.

Garg also indicated that LIC may not have to make an open offer as per Sebi takeover regulations because the public holding in the bank is very limited.

“Open offer may or may not come about,” Garg said. “The public shareholding is very small — it is only about 5%. And the pricing formula, etcetera, may not be attractive. But they will go through that process and if necessary they will make that open offer, but it is not a very material issue in this context.”

IDBI closed at ₹56.45 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), down 1.48% on a day the banking sector barometer Bankex shed 0.98%. IDBI Bank’s gross nonperforming assets or bad loans grew to ₹55,588 crore in March from ₹44,753 crore a year earlier.


The government is of the view that LIC will eventually emerge as a beneficiary as it will get 2,000 branches of the bank through which it can sell its products. In addition, the bank also has real estate assets and non-core assets of ₹14,000 crore that can be monetised, said the official cited above.

The government had first announced its makeover intent in 2015. In early 2016, when Jayant Sinha was junior finance minister, some talks were held to sell the government stake to multilateral institutions. It was reported at the time that International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, was keen to acquire a stake. The other contenders were said to be GIC of Singapore, the Asian Development Bank and Commonwealth Development Corporation.

While none of the aforementioned confirmed that any talks were held, government sources said the discussions didn’t take formal shape because of differences over valuation. Sinha left the finance ministry later that year and the interest of private players fizzled out.

A senior government official told ET that there was no point in selling its stake in the bank at a low valuation that would have later been questioned in the courts and would have also drawn vigilance complaints.

“IDBI had real estate, non-core assets, but this was not being captured in the valuation process, and that is why the government’s plan keep getting delayed,” he said.


While the LIC unions have opposed the deal on the grounds that it will hurt the interest of policyholders, the IDBI union said the government had given an assurance that IDBI Bank would not be turned into a private lender.

“This is a clear attack on the autonomy of the LIC board. The government has cornered the insurer to opt for this acquisition which is a very bad deal for us,” said Federation of LIC Class-Officers Association general secretary S Rajkumar, adding that it will join hands with all other insurance unions and take a call by the end of this week on their action plan.

The IDBI union has approached lawmakers to take up their cause in the upcoming session.

“By the end of this week we will announce the strike action. We have already approached a few parliament members to raise our concerns on the floor of both the houses,” said All India IDBI Officers’ Association general secretary Vithal Koteswara Rao. The government had given a solemn assurance on the floor of parliament that it wouldn’t allow its stake to drop below 51%, he said.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 17th July 2018

India needs to catch up with global peers in insurance sales Insurance premium’s share in India’s GDP has been stagnant for almost four years

Yet again, the annual Swiss Re sigma report presents a bleak picture of India’s insurance sector. While the insurance premium’s share in the country’s gross domestic product may have seen an increase, India is nowhere close to the global averages when it comes to distribution of insurance.


Insurance premiums as a percentage of gross domestic product, referred to as penetration, has stayed below 4 percent since FY12. The Jan Suraksha Bima Yojana, that included a personal accident scheme and a term life insurance scheme, led to some boost, but the figures have more or less stayed flat.


In FY18, insurance penetration stood at 3.69 percent in India. In Asia, it was at 5.62 percent with Taiwan topping the list at 21.32 percent. India ranked 41st globally with Taiwan, Cayman Islands and Hong Kong being the top three in the world.


Similarly, the premium per person or insurance density stood at $73 in India for FY18 while it was $850 globally. Among its Asian peers where the average was $360, Hong Kong topped the list at $8,313 which was the second highest globally. Cayman Islands topped the list with density of $12,122 in 2017.

While there was a slump from FY10 to FY15, India saw an increase in its penetration only by a few basis points every year. The non-life insurance premium, which includes the mandatory motor third-party insurance policies, has not even touched 1 percent of GDP.


One often repeated comment is that the country’s GDP has been growing at a faster pace and the insurance sector has not been able to catch up. But considering the mega insurance schemes, including the Fasal Bima Yojana, atleast a 100 basis point increase should have been the end result. But we are nowhere close to that.


Weak distribution as well as low awareness have been the twin issues plaguing the industry. Unless it is mandatory or pushed by a relative, Indians simply do not seem to realise the importance of insurance purchases. A product that requires a superior financial knowledge and hence not an over-the-counter sale, insurance requires well-trained agents to explain policies.


Need of the hour


Need-based selling to ensure that a customer gets what he requires is the need of the hour. That will require agents to be more financially savvy as well as be adequately compensated for it. Banks could be high volume generators, but an insurance agent does the job best.


Similarly, ensuring that customers realise the need for insurance in their financial portfolio has been another challenge. It is usually the agent who ‘suggests’ a policy and the customer ends up buying it. Later, when they realise they were sold a wrong product, they let it lapse. All these factors also reflect in the penetration numbers.


At a time when a country’s insurance penetration and density is the first data point referred by both domestic and international agencies for preparing sector-wise reports, brushing off these numbers may not be a good idea. Doing a deep dive and smoothening the rough edges by simplification would be the first big step necessary. Rather than celebrating over the few basis point increase, the industry has to come together and analyse the factors leading to stagnant numbers and take actions immediately.


Source-Money Control