Now, COVID Insurance For Films

Hoping to take Taapsee Pannu-fronted Looop Lapeta on floors post-Diwali, producer Atul Kasbekar in talks with a legal firm to seek financial cover for movie, crew.

In the post-pandemic world, film shoots as we knew them will no longer be the same. Recognising the need for action in these unprecedented times, producers Atul Kasbekar and Tanuj Garg of Ellipsis Entertainment have initiated talks with a legal firm to get COVID-19 insurance for their future projects, thus setting a precedent for the industry at large. Taapsee Pannu and Tahir Raj Bhasin-starrer Looop Lapeta, the Indian adaptation of German cult film Run Lola Run (1998), is likely to be the first film under their banner to be covered under the plan.

Kasbekar reveals that they are in the nascent stages of formulating the insurance plan. “We are in talks with the legal expert, Anand Desai of DSK Legal. Insuring a film so far implied guarding the product against unforeseen incidents like the illness of an actor or occurrence of natural calamities leading to delays in the schedule. Since COVID is a new development, we are working out the details of what the insurance plan should entail. Hypothetically, if a crew member tests positive, the entire unit will have to be quarantined, leading to the shoot being halted. If the film is covered under the insurance plan, the producers will not incur a financial loss stemming from the delay,” explains Kasbekar.

The producer says that the insurance will be designed to extend the benefits to actors and unit members as well. “Every filmmaker trusts a certain set of people on the job. So, in case, the DoP [director of photography] were to test positive mid-film, the shoot is likely to be stalled till he recovers.” He adds that if a suitable replacement is found in the interim, both the technicians will be duly compensated basis the number of days they have worked on the project. “Tanuj and I are working on a draft of the insurance plan. Let’s hope it materialises soon.”

The schedule of Looop Lapeta, which was to be shot during the summer across Mumbai and Goa, is being reworked due to the lockdown. “Major portions of the film have to be shot outdoors. So, we can kick off the shoot only post the monsoon. We may begin post Diwali.”

The producer says that the insurance will be designed to extend the benefits to actors and unit members as well. “Every filmmaker trusts a certain set of people on the job. So, in case, the DoP [director of photography] were to test positive mid-film, the shoot is likely to be stalled till he recovers.” He adds that if a suitable replacement is found in the interim, both the technicians will be duly compensated basis the number of days they have worked on the project. “Tanuj and I are working on a draft of the insurance plan. Let’s hope it materialises soon.”

The schedule of Looop Lapeta, which was to be shot during the summer across Mumbai and Goa, is being reworked due to the lockdown. “Major portions of the film have to be shot outdoors. So, we can kick off the shoot only post the monsoon. We may begin post Diwali.

Source:- The Mid-Day.com
Date:- 9th July,2020- Thursday

Government halts merger of 3 PSU general insurers; to infuse Rs 12,450 crore

The recapitalization will make the three state-owned general insurance companies more stable, Javadekar said.

The union cabinet has decided to put on hold the proposed merger of the three state-run general insurers even as it approved ₹12,450 crore in capital infusion.

It cleared the extension of the scheme to provide free food under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana till November and other elements of the Atmanirbhar package announced earlier.

The government had in the budget for FY19 announced its decision to merge three general insurance companies – Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OlCL), National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) and United India Insurance Company Limited (UIICL).

The cabinet also cleared an increase in the authorised capital of these companies to allow capital infusion and enable them to raise funds.

In a statement after the cabinet meeting, the government said “given the current scenario, the process of merger has been ceased so far and instead, focus shall be on their solvency and profitable growth, post capital infusion.”

The ₹12,450 crore capital infusion includes ₹2,500 crore provided in FY20. The insurers will be provided ₹3,475 crore immediately while the balance ₹6,475 crore will be infused later.

Source:- The Economic Times-Mumbai

Date:- 9th July,2020- Thursday

Rural markets need simpler insurance products that can create value: SBI General CEO

We have been able to take insurance distribution to the hinterland, which has been grossly underserved, says Pushan Mahapatra.

How has Covid changed things for you?
I think this pandemic has changed many of our old ways of thinking around the way life ran. Insurance traditionally has been more of a push product though the value of insurance for individuals and for businesses is very-very high. But somehow it had never been at least for the retail side.
But what we have seen since mid-March when pandemic really started exploding is that people started searching for health insurance. What is it all about? What can it cover? If they had a policy, they went about checking whether my current policy has coverage for Covid-19 and so on.

Quite a bit of those online searches came down to inquiries with insurance companies. First was regarding their own coverages, whether their policies covered Covid-19 and they were also about purchasing new policies. One thing which is very clear today is, across the industry, all health insurance policies cover Covid-19. So a lot of clarity went across from all players in the industry that do not worry; all our retail health policies do cover Covid-19. Thereafter in May and June, searches slightly went down but the overall mood for buying insurance was more positive. That is what we are seeing in the last three months that growth in the health insurance sector is better.

Let us shift our focus and talk about SBI General Insurance in particular. You have been around for over a decade now and have cemented your position very well among the top six-seven players in the industry with phenomenal double digit growth in the year gone by. How have you carved a place for yourself and what is the growth strategy from here on?

 

Let me first talk about the years gone by rather than the year gone by. Over the last 10 years, we have maintained a consistent growth rate which has been around more than twice that of the industry growth rate; except for one year in 2017. If I am not mistaken, it has always been almost double that of the industry. This year also it is no different. When industry last year grew overall by about 12%, we grew at about 45% and even if we exclude crops which some people might do and others might not do, even excluding that, it was in excess of 40%. It is a phenomenal growth by all means

But there are two major pillars which drive it. One is my brand. This brand is something which is identifiable across any location in this country. Second is the kind of distribution reach that we have been able to create. This makes a very unmatchable combination. The brand brings along with it the trust and distribution reach across my partners, agency business through my agents and brokers and through the various automobile manufacturers and their outlets.

The biggest positive which I would see in all this is we have been able to take insurance distribution to the hinterland because that is an area which has been grossly underserved. So in a way, we are also working towards financial inclusion, getting people who are not hitherto covered by insurance into the insurance fold. A lot of people are coming in for the first time.

 

Talk to us a little bit more about how the growth in tier three, tier four and rural space has been because our channel checks indicate that from here onwards, growth outlook beyond the metros has improved a whole lot compared to metros.

You are right. If you see today, the growth has started coming back in all areas except maybe these five-six high case load centres — Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata. Apart from these cities, the rest of the country is starting to come back and in certain areas the comeback is pretty strong. One of the early indicators of this would be your vehicle sales. April was almost zero sales for new vehicles but every month thereafter we have seen significant improvement; a lot of it coming from areas which have opened up. Even today, I was seeing some figures around tractors. Tractors seem to be doing much better than they did at the same period last year because the hit on agriculture has been very nominal. So that is where tractors are.
Two-wheelers and entry level vehicles is another segment which is starting to open up because a lot of people who are either too dependent on public transport or shared car taxi hailing services said that rather than go in a vehicle about which I know nothing, why not invest in a small vehicle of my own; be it a new entry level vehicle or even a second hand vehicle.
Maybe a friend of mine and I can pool together and travel to the office and back. So that is something which we are seeing happening now. Health has of course been strong and commercial businesses have remained fairly steady. So the biggest challenge as the pandemic began was on the auto sales and there we are starting to see some green shoots.

 

Talk to us about the rural side. What kind of products are in demand there? What kind of product innovation are you doing as far as rural insurance is concerned? Talk to us about your rural strategy.

If we have to grow the penetration of insurance, we have to have simple products which create value. There are no complicated terms and conditions, no great knowledge required about the exclusions, inclusions, cappings and so on and so forth. I think as an industry along with the regulator, we have been working considerably on this.

 

One of the things which came up during the pandemic was the launch of a new standardised health product called Aarogya Sanjeevani. So this is something which is a great product for the people who are coming to health insurance for the first time. It gives you a basic cover of up to Rs 5 lakh with very simple terms and conditions and great value and that is one area which is starting to do very well in the rural and semi-urban market because that is a market where you need a simple product that is not very highly priced and is easy to explain and easy to administer. That is going to be the way forward for the market in rural and semi-urban India: simple, attractively priced, simple to distribute, simple to execute and heavily delivered through technology.

The best part about rural India is we think that the technology is not there but if you see, their usage of the mobile phone is as high as anybody anywhere in the country. If I can deliver it over the mobile, it is something that they need and they will pick it up. So one is of course a product on health. Motors are more of a regulatory requirement around where apart from third party insurance, own damages are also there. Plus, there are two other covers; one is an overall coverage of all their assets in terms of their households, their agricultural assets, agricultural implements. Those are things which they would like to get covered at a very reasonable rate and what we have seen is, if you can make it attractive, people are ready to subscribe to it.


If one were to sum up the strategy which SBI General Insurance is keen to implement over the next three to five years, what would that be?

 

It is very simple. I would like to insure every Indian in this country. But having said that, I think it is taking insurance to semi-urban and rural India. All the 25-odd companies have a very strong presence in the urban and metro areas but perhaps the rural India and the semi-urban India requires much greater coverage in products and distribution and that is where our focus is. The other thing is to drive it digitally because that is becoming very important. One major shift in consumer behaviour which we have seen during this pandemic is a lot of people are saying that we do not want to have face to face interaction. You have the interaction with me on a digital platform and that is starting to happen and while we are building capabilities around it, all others are also building that capability because that is going to become almost the given norm in times to come.

Source:Economic Times

Date: 7th July,2020

 

Covid-19 insurance claims at Rs 280 crore; more than 18,100 claims received so far

Covid-19 insurance claims at Rs 280 crore; more than 18,100 claims received so far

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has said insurers can offer Covid-19-specific short-term health policies both as individual or group products.

Insurers have received more than 18,100 claims for an amount of Rs 281 crore for the treatment of Covid-19 so far, according to industry executives. At 8,950, the number of claims is the highest from Maharashtra followed by the NCR (National Capital Region) at 3,470, as on June 19, 2020.

The average ticket size for a novel coronavirus claim is Rs 2-2.5 lakh in urban areas and Rs 50,000-75,000 in semi-urban or rural areas. Where the condition of patient is serious and he has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), the claims are in the range of Rs 6-8 lakh.

Officials at insurers point out the amount claimed has not been very high relative to the number of persons hospitalized, because in many states like Kerala and Telengana, large numbers of patients have been treated in government hospitals free of cost.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has said insurers can offer Covid-19-specific short-term health policies both as individual or group products.

Short-term policies may be issued for a minimum term of three months to a maximum term of 11 months.
Parag Ved, EVP and head – consumer lines, Tata AIG General Insurance, said this will benefit consumers who have no health insurance cover or cannot afford health insurance or those looking for some additional cover.

It will offer a medical coverage specific to Covid-19 and will help fulfill short-term gaps.

Sanjay Datta, chief-underwriting and claims at ICICI Lombard General Insurance, told FE a large number of claims have come from red zones like Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. “Policy-holders have the option to buy either a Covid-19 stand-alone cover or a comprehensive cover,” Datta said.
Around 4,150 Covid-19 claims have been registered in Mumbai, while 1,600 and 1,100 claims were seen in Pune and Thane, respectively.

According to the health ministry, as on June 24, there are 1.83 lakh active cases of novel coronavirus in the country, around 2.58 lakh have been cured or discharged and 14,476 have died.
Source:- Financial Express-Mumbai
Date:-25th June,2020- Thursday

Insurance chatbots: Optimizing customer experiences

In a 24/7 world where customers expect instantaneous communication, carriers are finding new ways to convey information to them.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the insurance industry — and customer service is no exception. One of the most common forms of AI are the use of chatbots — instead of interacting with a human, you’re “chatting” with a bot that’s programmed to understand your questions and direct you to the right place.

Chatbots are no longer an exclusive feature — they have become par for the course. In fact, according to an Accenture Digital survey, 56% of businesses claim chatbots are already driving disruption in their industry. As such, those businesses not using the technology will not only be in the minority but stand to fall behind.

As far as the insurance industry is concerned, chatbots are an innovative tool that can offer many benefits, such as around-the-clock support for consumers and as an educational tool for consumers looking to learn more about their policy and more. These automated insurance agents can provide information almost instantaneously and guide consumers to appropriate resources for more information.

Challenges that insurance chatbots can solve

For a lot of consumers, property and casualty insurance is complex and hard to understand. Buying different types of insurance, renewals and claims can be complicated — but insurance chatbots can provide clarity on the processes and help customers understand the associated costs.

It’s important to note, however, that insurers should always include a way for customers to contact employees. Even though chatbots can handle routine tasks, consumers want to know they can talk to a real person if needed.

Chatbots can also help insurers keep pace with the demands of customer service. According to Salesforce, 58% of customers say emerging technologies such as chatbots and voice assistance have changed their expectations of companies.

Many insurance professionals already wear more than one hat and being available around the clock is just not feasible. With insurance chatbots, however, the initial response is often faster than a human one, and unlike a single person, they can handle multiple customer inquiries at once.

Chatbots have answered a need for an alternative form of customer service communication. While some people still prefer calling or emailing with a question, others find that chatbots are less time-consuming and, at times, more efficient. In general, though, chatbots are most useful for conversations that require some degree of back-and-forth.

5 ways chatbots can help insurers

There are a variety of ways in which insurers can implement chatbots to create an effective customer service experience:

  1. Process claims. Chatbots can assist with claims questions and payment methods.
  2. Gather leads. When customers interact with a chatbot, they may be expected to fill in basic contact information, such as name and email address, which is a simple and effective way to accumulate customer data and generate leads. This information can be passed along to sales teams.
  3. Provide education. In many cases, someone will contact an insurer with questions about a product or process. A chatbot can answer questions and provide more information — or direct those inquiries to the appropriate departments or resources.
  4. Engage with customers and collect feedback: Chatbots are often faster and more efficient than phone calls and emails. Plus, they offer a way for an insurer to easily compile data on their various customer service inquiries.
  5. Free up employees. Employees can tackle other important responsibilities if chatbots help handle customer service inquiries.

To succeed in the modern insurance marketplace, carriers must focus first and foremost on the evolving expectations of their customers’ expectations, often driven by everyday influences completely removed from the world of insurance.

Chatbots are just one more innovative tool insurers can use to meet customer expectations and deliver the service their customers have come to expect.

 

Source: NU PropertyCasulty360

Date: 22nd June, 2020

Insurance subsidiaries come to the rescue of banks  in  their  hunt for capital

 

  • In the quest for capital, the country’s largest lenders are being helped, to a small extent, by unlocking value in subsidiaries
  • Credit Suisse has estimated that Indian banks would need close to $20 billion in capital in FY21
  • Indian lenders are gearing up to raise capital, with the pandemic expected to hit asset quality in the current year. State Bank of India (SBI) will seek the approval from its shareholders to raise ₹20,000 crore, while HDFC Bank plans to raise ₹50,000 crore. Their private sector peers, too, have announced similar plans.
  • In a 26 May report, Credit Suisse analysts estimated that Indian banks will need $20 billion in fiscal year 2021.
  • Some of the largest lenders are unlocking value in subsidiaries. ICICI Bank sold stake in both its general and life insurance subsidiaries. The private sector lender raised ₹840 crore by divesting its stake in ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd.

The lender has also offloaded stake in its general insurance arm and raised ₹2,250 crore.

ICICI Bank’s capital adequacy ratio stood at 16.1% as of March against the minimum regulatory requirement of 9%. It may seem that the lender does not need capital. But the uncertainty on asset quality due to the pandemic has been a key motivation to raise money.

Also, the equity market is hardly reflecting all the concerns surrounding the pandemic, making it prudent to take advantage of valuations right now.

While ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co.’s shares have fallen about 15% so far this year, they trade at a 23.5% premium to the initial public offering price of 2016.

The largest private life insurer, SBI Life Insurance Co., also came to the aid of its parent. SBI sold a 2.1% stake for an undisclosed sum earlier this month.

However, at a floor price of ₹725 apiece, the public sector lender would have got ₹1,525 crore. To be sure, the sale was prompted by the need to comply with regulatory requirements for minimum public shareholding.

SBI’s capital adequacy ratio, too, is a healthy 13.1%. Its management said the bank does not need capital this year.

“The biggest uncertainty is what will happen once the moratorium on loans concludes in August. There will be a need for capital for all banks,” said an analyst, requesting anonymity.

Banks have extended the moratorium to all borrowers for six months. Most lenders have at least a quarter of their loan book under moratorium.

Moreover, the regulator has asked banks to conduct a stress test of their balance sheet in the wake of the pandemic, according to a report in Business Standard.

 

 

Source: Livemint

 

Date: 23rd June, 2020

 

Bharti AXA General Insurance premium up 38 per cent in FY’19-20

Bharti AXA General Insurance, a private general insurer, has registered a 38 per cent increase in its premium income in the financial year 2019-20.

 

The Gross Written Premium grew 38 per cent to Rs 3,157 crore, up 38 per cent over Rs 2,285 crore in 2018-19.

 

This growth was driven by strong show in crop, commercial lines, motor and health insurance, Sanjeev Srinivasan, Managing Director and CEO, Bharti AXA General Insurance, said.

 

Crop insurance grew 59 per cent to Rs 828 crore (Rs. 519 crore in 2018-19). Commercial lines segment focused on SME and MSME to grow 49 per cent at Rs. 430 crore (Rs. 289 crore).

 

‘’We have grown much faster than the industry and maintained a steady growth performance across key matrices of the business in the financial year 2019-20. The expansion of the distribution network and partnerships, new business alliances along with improved business activations from the robust bancassurance accompanied by diversified product portfolio helped us achieve healthy premium growth at more than triple of the industry growth rate in the last fiscal,’’ Srinivasan said.

 

All distribution channels rose significantly, with motor, health and travel fuelling the growth for the retail channel which grew 33 per cent in its revenue to Rs 1,960 crore (Rs 1,472 crore). On the other hand, the corporate channel increased 25 per cent in its revenue to Rs. 368 crore (Rs. 294 crore).

 

Bancassurance

 

Bharti AXA General Insurance, which currently distributes through 9 banks and over 50 NBFCs and Cooperative Banks, also added a significant number of distribution partnerships in the financial year 2019-20. ‘’Our continued emphasis on increasing distribution footprint through focus on bancassurance and forging partnerships with Motor Insurance Service Providers has been instrumental in achieving the company’s overall growth in both retail and corporate business,’’ Srinivasan said.

 

He also said the company stood well capitalized with the solvency ratio at 1.63 as on March 31, 2020, and the shareholders stand fully committed to invest and grow the business.

 

Covid-19 pandemic

 

Srinivasan said that the current financial year looks challenging in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions caused by the nationwide lockdown. Focus on technology and automation of processes has helped the company operate seamlessly as it continue to service its customer and partners remotely, successfully managing business, servicing, surveys and claim settlement. “In 2020-21, we will pursue opportunities across channels with constant emphasis on customer centricity, focus on superior risk selections, prudent cost management, claims efficiency with investments in technologies and innovation to boost all lines of businesses”, he added.

 

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Date: 15th June 2020

HR professionals: The moment to champion innovation is now

HR leaders can transform the role of HR from a shared service and support function to a key influence and leadership function.

 

The world is going back to work. What that exactly looks like is unknown, though our priorities will undeniably shift. We thought we knew what disruptive meant; we hadn’t an inkling. Organizations have no choice but to quickly adapt and make sense of the unimaginable implications of the pandemic. At the intersection of this humanitarian crisis and economic meltdown is an opportunity for HR professionals to have their moment, should they choose to take it.

 

CFOs are famous for “not wasting a crisis.” HR leaders can follow their example and transform the role of HR from a shared service and support function to a key influence and leadership function. The question now isn’t how an organization makes money; it’s how an organization’s people make sense of what has happened and how, then, are we going to make money.

 

To successfully re-engage the economy, HR must extend well beyond the role of employment and compliance matters and into the realm of organizational leadership to drive innovation and resilience. HR professionals are uniquely positioned to champion this moment precisely because the seat they have at the table doesn’t insist they take their cues from balance sheets. Today, the most valuable skill to rebuild what has been torn asunder is knowing how to define and drive the employee experience.

It’s already happening. I recently spoke with Susan Brown, GRP, senior director of compensation at Siemens, and WorldatWork Society Board member, to hear about the changes she’s experiencing first-hand because of COVID-19.

 

“I’ve seen my role shift from a niche compensation focus to a broader perspective,” said Brown, “I’m now looking at pay, benefits, hiring, shifts, and remote working — and truly partnering with my HR colleagues to develop solutions.”

 

Brown said that her team is working on a larger canvas,“from a specific comp design, for example, to the broader question of how we keep employees working safely to how we address financial impacts in our different businesses, to how we want to respond from a societal point of view.”

 

The lessons and principles we apply now are priming us for the bigger challenges ahead. To start, we’ve set a north star by reimagining how to connect with our people amidst an avalanche of uncertainty.

 

The first step is to redefine what work and the workplace mean to your people, and what your people mean to the community, within the corporate edges and beyond.

 

From tactician player to coach

HR has too frequently been marginalized to the organization’s policy enforcer, but that role should have been shared by everyone. HR leaders had been shifting their roles to employee experience champions, and this is exactly what people need and our businesses need at this time.

 

To rebound, HR leaders can refocus the organization and its leaders more squarely on their people. An organization’s policies, rewards systems, and the employee experience that existed in the early part of 2020 will mean little to the returning workforce. Use that as an opportunity to build a stronger culture with a deepened focus on putting your people first. For some employees, the bond they had with work and their employers may have weakened. An organization’s purpose and how employees connect to the mission will be especially relevant in the times ahead.

 

In response to COVID-19, led by CHROs, organizations have made sweeping changes to their benefits programs and workplace practices. These could be tough to reverse. Remote work is one important, positive example. WorldatWork recently conducted a poll of 1,500 Total Rewards professionals that found a 415% increase in the number of employees working remotely either full or part time. That means that a suite of workflow processes will need to be rethought.

 

Right now, some companies, particularly in retail, are doing a good job making people their top priority. Extended leave, hazard pay and job guarantee policies enacted by Trader Joes, Costco, Postmates and others to help employees stay safe during the pandemic exemplify how an organization can show it cares through its approach to benefits.

 

As we continue to implement these changes, others will follow suit. For example, the 9-5 workday mindset will be swapped by many organizations to focus on tapping the creativity of the full person and giving people the flexibility to do their best work and be most productive when it works for them.

 

Responsibility within the workplace also will shift. COVID-19 has forced many companies to break down silos. This is an opportunity to consider how to empower more people to make decisions across a flatter organization. Decisions are best when made by those closest to the consumer or those most impacted by it.

 

Most critically, future HR leaders will be the stewards for their companies in maintaining trust. Communication and transparency are keys to building trust. Putting people first during COVID-19 is testing the trust values within an organization’s workforce. HR leaders will play a crucial role in ensuring that the organization communicates as needed and is clear and honest with their own employees on their current situation as they navigate through the crisis.

 

We are going back to work. The world is working toward a rebound. At some point, companies will need to fill the workforce with new employees. Those future employees will look at how we responded during COVID-19 — it will give them a sense of what our organizations stand for—I mean really stand for. We can use our actions now, which are helping to manage and engage an organization’s people to lead the way back to work.

 

Scott Cawood is president and CEO, WorldatWork, a nonprofit professional association in compensation and total rewards. We serve those who design and deliver total rewards programs to cultivate engaged, effective workforces that power thriving organizations. We accomplish this through education and certification; idea exchange; knowledge creation; information sharing; research; advocacy; and affiliation and networking. Founded in the United States in 1955, today WorldatWork serves total rewards professionals throughout the world working in organizations of all sizes and structures.

 

 

Source: Benefits Pro

Date: 15th June 2020

Covid blues: Employees losing sleep over rejoining office

Covid blues: Employees losing sleep over rejoining office

 

After more than two months under a nationwide lockdown which lulled many into a false sense of security, the return to offices is bringing with it a sense of anxiety and apprehension. How safe is it to step out now? What if I pass on the virus to my family? What can I do to protect myself? These are the questions many are asking in the new normal, as the government reopens the economy amid rising cases of Covid-19 infections

 

Monday morning blues redux?

Returning to work after the lockdown certainly seems so, what with many employees of India Inc trooping nervously back – at least those who don’t have the option of working from home anymore.

After more than two months under a nationwide lockdown which lulled many into a false sense of security, the return to offices is bringing with it a sense of anxiety and apprehension.
How safe is it to step out now? What if I pass on the virus to my family? What can I do to protect myself? These are the questions many are asking in the new normal, as the government reopens the economy amid rising cases of Covid-19 infections.

A marketing executive at an FMCG firm has started taking along a spare set of clothes ever since the office reopened last week.

Once back, she changes in the building’s common staff bathroom before heading up to the apartment, where family members keep a bucketful of water with disinfectant ready to soak the discarded clothes in.
Only after a bath does she interact with family.

A public-sector bank employee, who has been taking a bus from Navi Mumbai to his office in SoBo every day, has taken to wearing a Tee-shirt and a full-sleeved shirt, along with gloves, mask and a cap. He is taking no chances although it is sweltering outside – and the extra paraphernalia often leaves him feeling suffocated.

For employees stepping out of the lockdown after more than two months, it has become a strange new world a world filled with anxiety, say psychologists.

Psychologist Geetanjali Kumar, owner of Aakar Counseling and Wellness Centre in Delhi, says there has been a near-doubling of queries (5-6 each day) from clients who are anxious about returning to work.

Some, she says, border on paranoia or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Take, for instance, an employee in his mid-30s working for a Gurugram-based IT solutions company, who did not sleep for two days after he was told that he needed to be back in office twice a week. Soon, he stocked up on spray sanitisers, gloves and was searching for a personal protective suit.

Another client, who is a banker, narrated how her mother became terrified at the prospect of her regular office commutes, fearing she would contract the infection. The mother is now undergoing sessions with Kumar.

“When the lockdown was on, we were initially in denial, which changed into fear when we heard of the impact of the pandemic globally. Then came a point when we oscillated between acceptance and anger and understanding. Now, there is a dilemma: it’s personal safety vs economic hazard,” Kumar says.
“When the lockdown was on, we were initially in denial, which changed into fear when we heard of the impact of the pandemic globally. Then came a point when we oscillated between acceptance and anger and understanding. Now, there is a dilemma: it’s personal safety vs economic hazard,” Kumar says.

There will be another circle of acceptance and anger since cases have spiked, she adds.

“People have no option but to go back to work, because they know there’s a risk of losing their their jobs,” she says.

At a time like this, organisations need to be prepared and communicate exactly what they have put in place for a sanitised and healthy work environment, says Leena Chatterjee, professor of organisational behaviour at IIM-Calcutta.

Companies need to think out every possible scenario and how to deal with it. Alertness, planning and good procedures to handle crises are crucial in soothing employee worries, she says.
Companies also say they are taking all possible steps to reassure staff.

Axis Bank HR head Rajkamal Vempati says anxiety while returning to the workplace is normal, and to allay that, its HR team and managers are constantly having conversations with employees.

The new office layouts and social distancing measures at work are also helping.

“It’s comforting to them; we have seen employees sharing videos of the office with their family members,” says Vempati.
Axis Bank, whose branches were operational throughout the lockdown, has brought in more employees in the Unlock 1.0 phase.

At Deloitte, where a minimal number of employees have returned to office, chief talent officer SV Nathan says although the new norms and approvals sometimes take a toll on employees, the organisation is taking all possible precautions.

Learning experience platform EdCast, which plans to get employees back by next month, which plans to get employees back by next month, is proactively discussing how to allay their fears.

“We are working on stringent protocols and have put together a back-to-work handbook for employees. They are free to call us up anytime about any concern they may have,” says Shweta Pathak, head-HR and marketing – AMEA.
“Indians are emotionally more resilient. There is a psychological sturdiness in our mindset that comes from preparedness for the worst,” says sociologist GK Karanth.

Given the current economic crisis, people returning to offices are also grateful that they still have jobs, he says.

“That keeps them going.”
 

Source:-The Economic Times-Mumbai

Date:-11th June,2020-Thursday

Your insurance may not pay for significant part of hospital treatment for coronavirus

Your insurance may not pay for significant part of hospital treatment for coronavirus
Consumables in health insurance parlance refer to single-use items that are frequently used in medical treatments or procedures. These are considered non-medical items and hence, are not payable under most health insurance policies.
A mediclaim-type health insurance policy generally does not cover the cost of most consumables used in the treatment of a disease or condition in a hospital. In a pre-coronavirus world, that was not a big problem. However, that is not the case now.
The number and cost of consumables used in the treatment of Covid-19 has been increasing. This along with other factors has led to a rise in overall cost of coronavirus treatment. “Normal treatment cost of Rs 50,000-1 lakh has now surged to Rs 1-2 lakh for Covid-19 treatment (due to increase in cost of consumables, patient distancing in hospitals, etc.) and to Rs 6-7 lakh or more where co-morbidities are involved or treated in expensive hospitals,” said Chandan D S Dang, Executive Director, Securenow.in, a Delhi-based insurance broker.

Consumables in health insurance parlance refer to single-use items that are frequently used in medical treatments or procedures. These are considered non-medical items and hence, are not payable under most health insurance covers.
Why the cost of treatment of Covid-19 has increased
In hospitals, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits is unavoidable to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A single PPE kit includes a pair of nitrile gloves, a single–use coverall, goggles with transparent glasses, an N-95 mask, shoe covers, and a face shield. Since each of these items are separately considered consumables, there is a significant increase in the number of consumables used in the treatment of Covid-19 infection.
It is not just the cost of PPE kits but the cost of other consumables is also included in the hospital bill. These consumables are normally surgical accessories like tissue paper, crepe bandage, gown, foot covers, slippers, disposable gloves, sheets, syringes, gowns, masks etc. Toiletries and cosmetics are also considered as consumables. None of this is covered under a health insurance policy, even though they are included in the hospital bill for treating a coronavirus patient at a hospital.
Rakesh Goyal, Director, Probus Insurance, Insurtech Broking Company, said that on average, the cost of consumables accounts for 10 per cent of the treatment cost. “However, in Covid-19 treatment, the cost of consumables significantly increases as it is linked to the severity of the infection and the duration of hospitalisation. Moreover, the highly infectious nature of the novel coronavirus and mandated quarantine period of 14 days has significantly raised the cost of consumables. For instance, in Covid-19 cases, PPE kits, goggles, footwear, sanitisers and disinfectants are additionally required consumables,” he said.
Source:-The Economic Times-Mumbai

Date:- 11th June,2020