“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

Insurance now available for insolvency professional

Insolvency Professionals (IPs) working on resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) can now buy insurance covers for themselves. “The first such policy was designed by JLT Independent about three months back,” said Sanjay Radhakrishnan, CEO, of the insurance broking firm. It has designed four policies of the total five to six that have been issued so far. JLT Independent is working with with London-based Llyods an insurance and re-insurance firm for designing these policies.

Need for insurance

An IP is exposed to very high risk because anybody who buys the company, or the creditor bank, or investors in case of a listed company could sue the IP for not running the company properly.

For instance, a bank could raise a question that during the resolution period the IP didn’t run the company properly. Or one of the investors (in case of a listed company), could take a stance that had the IP had run the company in a particular manner, or done certain things, then the value from the sale of the company could have been 10-20% higher. They could even sue the IP.

Or in another instance, the solvent company had not taken a loss of profit cover because of the cost. Then due to a breakdown of a critical machinery, production stops and the already-loss making company, suffers further losses. If the company is looking for buyers, then the price it is likely to fall further. In such a case the IP will be held responsible

“There is demand for such policies, but no Indian insurance company offers them. They are unable to apply for such policies because they don’t have data on potential losses, what is the provisioning the company is likely to do and so on. The law itself is new in India,’’ Radhakrishnan explained.

According to Sameer Kakar, a Mumbai-based insolvency professional, some risks faced by IPs include missing out on compliance and lawsuits. “Often IPs start working on the resolution process without knowing anything about the company they are going to handle. And they are expected to complete the entire process within a particular span of time. So there are bound to be some slip-ups,’ he said.

How does the product work

The product is a combination of professional indemnity policy and a director and officers liability insurance (D&O) cover for the individual. The cover is offered for a period of at least three to five years post the resolution transaction because claims could arise and the IP is responsible under the law. The policies are taken by the individual IPs themselves who are working with insolvent companies. Or by companies and consultancy firms that have started offering solvency services.

The sum assured varies anywhere between $3 million to $40 million depending on how big the resolution transaction is. The premium depends on the indemnity amount. “It depends on what could be the potential lawsuit, potential damages and legal costs for the IP. We suggest a limit based on the kind of work the IP is doing, the size of the resolution transaction and the qualification of the IP. The higher the qualification, lower is the premium. The assumption is that an IP who is better qualified would be able to run the company better,’ Radhakrishnan added.

Protection for IPs

IPs face the risk of lawsuits, claims by creditors/investorsIf the solvent company had failed to take insurance then IP has to bear the riskCoverage lasts for three to five years post the resolution transaction.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/personal-finance
22nd May 2018

Blockchain: The Future of HR

Blockchain is best known as the infrastructure behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that makes financial transactions safe without a bank or other middleman. But the technology could soon change the way human resources leaders handle all sensitive data.

That has big implications for HR, said Jeff Mike, vice president and HR research leader for Bersin by Deloitte. “The reason it is relevant is that blockchain creates the potential for personal data to be owned by the individual rather than the organization,” he said.

That means every employee could potentially maintain control over their entire academic and work identity, including where they went to school, their grades and degrees, and their work history and training. “It would be more secure and more portable, moving with the individual instead of getting stuck inside the organization,” he said.

What Is Blockchain Anyway?

In a nutshell, blockchain is a peer-to-peer network of ledgers that encrypts and stores blocks of data and digital history, and can be viewed and verified by anyone in the network. Every time new data is added it extends the ledger’s chain of blocks. The public nature of blockchain is what makes the technology unique, said Tim Griffiths, chief technology leader of Xref, an automated reference checking company in Sydney, Australia.

“Every time you add data to a block it is confirmed by the network,” he said. For example, a university might verify completion of a degree, or an employer could confirm dates of employment. Once data is added to a ledger, it is updated across the network. Ledgers can be added to but not altered, ensuring information remains safe and uncompromised — if someone tries to alter a ledger, everyone else on the network is able to see it, Griffiths explained. “It guarantees the data is certified and can’t be manipulated.”

It provides a way for two parties to safely complete transactions — including payroll and contract payments — without a bank or other intermediary. But safety isn’t just useful for financial transactions, said Stacey Harris, vice president of research and analytics for Sierra-Cedar. “Any time you have sensitive data that needs to be verified, moved or shared there is a place for blockchain.”

Health care is a perfect example. Many employees who get health care benefits through their employers don’t want to share their health history with their company. But in order to choose providers and secure services, the employers acts as an intermediary to share that data.

If the employee owns that data via blockchain, it removes the need for a third party, Harris said. “Any time a piece of data is touched by another human it create risk that the data will be lost or used inappropriately,” she said. “Blockchain reduces that risk.”

Blockchain also has the potential to streamline a lot of the drudge work related to employee data verification, said Griffiths. If all of a candidate’s education, certifications and work history were stored in a single ledger it would take minutes rather than days to verify that data. “Education checks are the biggest pain point in the background check process,” he said. “It’s the ideal use case for HR.”

Where to Begin

All that said, the days of instantly verifying an entire work history or streamlining health benefits via blockchain are a long way off.

“This is still a nascent field for HR,” Harris said, though she notes that the influx of venture capital flowing into blockchain startups suggests the industry could evolve quickly. Early adopters such as Bitwage are already using blockchain to streamline overseas wages and secure contract payments, and companies like Xref are exploring the use of blockchain in background checks. But none of these applications have gained traction — yet.

The big challenge is where to begin. Like the internet or the rollout of electronic health care records, blockchain for HR will only add benefit when it achieves scale. For example, if every candidate had a blockchain verifying their degree, it would significantly speed the education background check process — but if only a handful of universities provide that data in blockchain, it doesn’t add much value, Griffiths said. He predicts that we are still two to five years away from seeing any meaningful applications of blockchain in HR.

This doesn’t mean HR leaders can afford to completely ignore blockchain.

“You don’t want to get caught up in the hype, but it is worth paying attention to,” Mike said. He encouraged HR leaders to get familiar with the technology and to talk with their IT leaders about how it works and how it could affect the way they practice HR in the future. “If you no longer need to track down resources to verify records and record transactions, what ramifications will that have on the job?” he asked. These are the questions HR leaders should ask today, to be ready for the future. “It won’t change your life in the next six months,” he added, “but it is going to happen.”

Source: http://www.workforce.com/2018/05/21/blockchain-future-hr/
22nd May 2018

Nearly 80% rise in HR analytics professionals in India: LinkedIn

These professionals are known to fill various specialised job titles such as “Data Scientist”, “Talent Analytics Director” and “Diversity Analytics Specialist”.

India has witnessed nearly 80 per cent growth in Human Resource (HR) analytics professionals in the past five years, global professional network site LinkedIn said on Tuesday.

The report revealed that in the past five years, there has been a 70 per cent increase in specialised analytics professionals in HR across the Asia-Pacific region, whereas India has shown a higher growth at 77 per cent.

These professionals are known to fill various specialised job titles such as “Data Scientist”, “Talent Analytics Director” and “Diversity Analytics Specialist”.

In India, 14 per cent of total jobs in HR are analytics based, signifying that companies are increasingly trying to arm their HR functions with analytical capabilities with talent as their focus area.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, skills-gap, and rise of independent workers are changing the global workforce today and transforming the way companies hire, develop and retain talent,” Irfan Abdulla, Director-LinkedIn Talent Solutions and Learning Solutions, India and South Asia, said in a statement.

Candidates are no longer active or passive, they are always-on and open to different opportunities. In answer to this change, recruiters are relying on real-time, actionable and on-demand insights. Combining insights with the right instincts delivers a winning talent strategy,” Abdulla added.

“Financial Services and Insurance”, “Technology-Software” and “Professional Services” are the top three industries to adopt talent analytics in India.

HR leaders in India are currently prioritising the use of analytics in three areas namely, compensation and benefits, talent acquisition, productivity and performance, said the report, titled “The Rise of Analytics in HR: An era of Talent Intelligence”.

The findings can empower HR leaders with answers to critical questions such as where to find talent with certain skills, where to set up the next office, or even how to build a gender-diverse workforce, the report added.


Source-Business Standard