Search This Blog

Monday, 31 March 2014

India's first all-women bank sets up its first branch in Patna

The Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB), India's first all-women bank, on Saturday set up its first branch in Patna.
The bank would cater to financial inclusion of women of all segments from Self-Help Groups to lower middle class women to High Networth Individuals with a basket of products to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth, BMB Chairman and Managing Director Usha Ananthasubramanian said.
The access to finance and banking services being provided by the BMB would empower women and broaden their social base of development for equitable growth she said.
"As our women have minimal access to finance and financial products, the opening of the BMB's maiden branch in Patna will seek to empower them and contribute to growth processes of mainstream economy," she said.
The bank has tied-up with New India Assurance Company Ltd for providing general insurance products which would cater to needs of women at bottom of the pyramid, working women and also for their families.
The bank would conduct programmes on financial literacy, skill development and training for women to enable them to get jobs and enter business ventures.
The bank planned to increase the number of branches to 25 by the end of this year, she added.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Why would you need car insurance?

Most of us know, that once buy a car, we have to carry our car insurance certificate in the car, because it is the law. It is compulsory under Govt. of India regulations to have insurance for every automobile on the public roads. But, would you buy car insurance if it was not made mandatory?

I'm reminded of an incident with my neighbour, Mr Rao. When driving late night one rainy day, Mr Rao didn't notice a cyclist crossing the road till the last minute. He managed to swerve his car, but as the roads were slippery, it skid, and hit the car next to him. Now, in panic, Mr Rao jumped out to in the rain and so did the other driver. Both cars were badly dented. The other driver was yelling, and a crowd was beginning to gather. Before things could get more out of hand, Mr Rao assured the other driver, he had car insurance and gave him the details of his insurer. Luckily this calmed the other driver. He took the insurance details, and Mr Rao's licence and registration details. He would have to file an FIR he said. After such a horrifying experience, Mr Rao was grateful that he had insurance. His insurance agent came to inspect the damage. Luckily he had comprehensive insurance which included self and third party insurance and did not have to shell out a paisa of his own money on repairs. Not only that, he got daily allowance to travel, while his car was being repaired in the garage.

Now, third party insurance covers you only for cases of third party damages and comprehensive insurance covers both own vehicle and third party losses. Third party insurance is mandatory. It covers the loss others face for our fault. It is unfair on the other person if the person causing the loss cannot pay for the damages caused. That is why third party insurance is compulsory so that the other party is not left in the lurch for our faults.
Consider another scenario when you've returned to your brand new car after shopping for groceries, only to find scratches from the shopping trolleys all over its side. A visit to the garage sinks your heart even further. Even a simple touch up job sets you back a hefty amount. Luckily your comprehensive car insurance can pay for the damages and your brand new car can look shiny again.
Imagine another common incident. You parked your car on the small road in front of your friend's house. After dinner, you return and see that the car's gone! Someone stole your car. Now if you had car insurance you could claim the insurance money and if you have Return to invoice cover in your policy, you can have sufficient money to buy yourself a new car.
So accidents, thefts and disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. Even the best of drivers have faced difficulties. Car insurance can protect you and fellow drivers on road. Hence stay insured and drive safely.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Irda allows advance premium collection

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) on Monday modified its linked and non-linked insurance products regulations to allow advance premium collection.

"Collection of advance premium shall be allowed within the same financial year for the premium due in that financial year," Irda said in a circular addressed to the CEOs of life insurance companies.

However, if the advance premium is collected for the next financial year, then insurers can collect the same "for a maximum period of three months in advance of the due date of the premium", the regulator noted in the circular.

The premiums collected in advance can only be adjusted on the due date of the premium. Further, the commission shall only be paid after adjustment of premium on due date.

Earlier, Irda had said that the premium due might be accepted 30 days before the due date. The regulator had also said that in the monthly premium payment mode, insurers could accept three months' premiums in advance only on the date of commencement of the policy.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

LIC pension group hits record in new premium

Life Insurance Corporation of India’s (LIC) pension and group business (P&GS) has achieved an all-time high new business premium of Rs 39,143 crore for the 11 months ended February 28. 

The P&GS vertical recorded a growth rate of 50 per cent in new business premium, 20 per cent in number of lives during this period. A total of 3.9 crore people have been covered this year under various group schemes.

“The latest numbers have surpassed the total premium income record. LIC’s market share in group business is 84 per cent as on January 31 in spite of the stiff competition in this segment. The premium collected is about five times the premium collected by all the 23 private players put together,” an LIC statement said.

The group business channel has achieved all its yearly targets on the parameters viz new business premium, total premium, number of lives and number of schemes. Under the Aam Admi Boma Yojana, a social security scheme of the government about one crore new lives have been covered.

Out of the Rs 39,143 crore, Rs 21,500 crore was procured through Superannuation schemes and Rs 9,300 crore came from gratuity schemes. Most of the public and private sector companies and other leading banks have tied up with LIC for managing the pension and gratuity portfolio of their employees.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Insurers seek assistance for online policy buyers

Buying insurance online may be a different experience altogether in the next few months, if a proposal by insurance companies is accepted by the insurance regulator. Insurers have requested the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) to have an assistance model in buying insurance on the internet.

Direct business done through the online channel contributes less than 5% of the total business of the insurance companies. Company executives said that research showed how majority of customers went online only to look for product information and then bought through an insurance agent or other offline distributors.

"Since not just term insurance, but all types of products are now available online, all customers may not comfortable buying it off the internet, since product structures may be difficult to understand. To deal with this issue, we are looking to have an assistance structure," said a senior life insurance executive.

This model will have assistance services to individuals who require help during purchase of an insurance policy online. The chief distribution officer of a mid-size private life insurance company said that dedicated personnel will be appointed who will take care of all queries arising during an online purchase.

Through the Life Insurance Council, insurers have sent a proposal to Irda to look into such a model, which will not just increase web traffic, the quality of business will also improve. Insurers have suggested that assistance for web customers would be distinct from the call-centre individuals who assist customers in grievance redressal and claims processing.

At present, insurance purchased online through the company portal has a much lesser premium due to the lower distribution costs and absence of any third-party in the transaction. Hence, products are custom-made for this segment and tend to be much simpler than offline products, with no need of medical tests upto a certain age limit and for certain policies.

Payment is done online and the policy documents are sent to the policyholder, after the signature (wet signature) on the proposal form is taken. With digital signature acceptance in insurance policies also being discussed, insurers believe that policy purchase will go fully online.

For smaller ticket policies with premiums in the range of Rs 5,000-15,000, industry players say that customers are comfortable paying online.

"However, in large ticket-size policies will a sum assured of Rs 2 crores and above, where premiums could exceed Rs 25,000, individuals are reluctant to pay online. Here they either choose to pay offline or in some cases, think against buying a product. Therefore, an assistance model would be helpful, wherein the customer could be assured of the security features and encryption or in some cases, these persons could be deployed to collect the premium," explained the head of sales and marketing of a bank-promoted life insurer.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Insurance firms launching mobile apps to woo customers

With m-commerce picking up, insurance companies too are coming out with mobile applications offering customers the comfort of choosing products at their will.
Companies like public sector New India Assurance, one of the largest general insurers, and private Cholamandalam M S General Insurance, part of the Murugappa group, have already launched their mobile apps that enable customers to renew their policies or buy new ones.
According to industry experts, 65 percent of mobile users in the country access the internet through mobile phone and 40 percent of them are “active” data users.
A senior official of New India Assurance said the company had launched two applications – one for the customer and other for the agent – on operating systems including Blackberry, Android and Windows.
“We launched the applications two weeks ago on a pilot basis. The New India Customer app is for customers who can get new policies or they can renew their current policy. We have already launched lot of mobility solutions”, New India Assurance, Deputy General Manager, K Ravi Shankar said.
Stating that there was good response to the initiative, he said 20,000 downloads of the app had been made so far.
Besides this, the company is also focussing on creating awareness among rural people on insurance products by launching a mobile van to reach the prospective customers in their place itself.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

New India to boost health insurance biz

New India Assurance Company Ltd (NIACL) has decided to step up its focus on health insurance.
“Health insurance has been a strong growth driver for us, and the category accounts for about 28 per cent of company’s total premium. We are targeting to garner a total health premium income of about Rs.3,500 crore by the end of this fiscal. To boost the growth further, we will come out with top-up schemes in health products over the next three months,” G Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, NIACL, said here after launching company’s floater mediclaim product here.
Under the new floater mediclaim scheme, the premium amount will be about Rs.6,000 for a Rs.2 lakh sum assured policy, covering a family of four. This policy is available for people up to the age of 65 years. The company has just rolled out Assurance on Wheels, under which a mobile van connected to the company’s central server, will visit rural villages to market insurance products.
It has already launched the scheme in Madurai region, and is set to take it other locations in the state and southern region. It has also launched two mobile apps. These will enable the customers buy and renew insurance policies on their smartphones.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tata AIG General Insurance eyes 15 pc premium growth in FY15

Private general insurer Tata AIG General Insurance is hopeful of posting around 15 per cent growth in premium collections in the next financial year on the back of an expected recovery in economy, a top company official has said.

"FY15 will be better...The premium growth should be around 15 per cent," Tata AIG chief executive Kaushal K Mishra told PTI in an interaction over the weekend.

The general insurer, which is likely to end this fiscal with around 13 per cent rise in premium, attributed pick-up in growth to expected economic recovery in the next financial year.

"If there is a stable government in the Centre post the polls, then by August-September, things will look better," Mishra said.

Increase in middle class spend, rise in sales in auto sector, along with thrust to infrastructure projects, are likely to push growth in general insurance industry, he added.

Amidst slow economic growth, the general insurance industry has seen growth slipping to around 10-12 per cent from 18 per cent reported a year ago.

Motor insurance, which contributes more than 40 per cent of the industry is the key segment to be hit this fiscal due to falling automobile sales.

On target areas for next fiscal, Mishra said the company would continue its focus on commercial lines of business along with expanding its geographical reach during this period.

"We have also filed products in group medical insurance segment before the regulator. We will launch the products as soon as we get the approval," Mishra said, adding the company will focus on SME segment, which is largely untapped as of now.

The Tata AIG General Insurance is a joint venture between the Tata Group and American International Group (AIG) in which Tata holds majority stake. It has posted a 13.98 per cent rise in premium collection to Rs 1,756.38 crore in the first nine months of the current financial year.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Bariatric operations get insurance shield

After years of looking at bariatric surgery as a cosmetic weight-loss procedure, Indian medical insurance companies seem to have changed their minds. They have begun reimbursing some patients who have undergone bariatric surgery — now classified as a metabolic operation that involves cutting or bypassing parts of the stomach and intestine — to control or even get rid of their diabetes. 

While bariatric surgeries essentially lead to weight loss, a welcome side-effect has been the control of diabetes and hypertension. These surgeries were initially recommended for morbidly obese people, but in the last five years they are being offered to diabetic patients who are not obese. 

Incidentally, the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) in December declared it would fund bariatric surgeries for current and former government employees. Ramen Goel, a metabolic surgeon from Mumbai, said if CGHS can fund surgeries for its employees, insurance firms should take the cue. 

Metabolic surgery for diabetes is still in trial stage, with many medical associations admitting that long-term studies are needed before accepting surgery as a cure for diabetes. Hence, many patients who have undergone metabolic surgeries in the last five years have got reimbursements only after moving consumer courts. 

Doctors hope insurance payoffs will become the trend, especially because India has over 60 million diabetes patients. Shah, who has operated on 800 patients for diabetes, said many of them are now approaching insurance firms.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

HDFC Life Launches a Corporate Blog to Drive Awareness about Life Insurance

HDFC Life, India’s leading long term private life insurance solutions provider announced the launch of its first Corporate Blog to educate people about Life Insurance. Titled ‘All about Life’, the Blog opens up a new avenue for readers to know everything about the insurance industry, financial planning, the HDFC Life brand & much more. All that's brewing fresh in the insurance industry, expert opinions, market movements, interesting articles on planning finances better will feature in the blog.  This new platform of digital communication is now open to all at

Speaking about this launch Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive Vice President – Marketing, Products & Direct Channels, HDFC Life said, “I am pleased to announce the launch of our new blog which will simplify life insurance for our customers and people at large.

We at HDFC Life nurtured the dream of being a 'digital first' organization in the industry and in continuing with our efforts in this direction, we have recently made exciting additions to our suite of digital properties. This includes the new responsive corporate website, an employee social network, a dedicated Youtube channel and a handy chrome store extension app. Realizing the gaining importance of content consumption online and changing online purchase behavior, we were the first ones in the category to set up a dedicated team for Digital Marketing & E-commerce two years back. This blog is the latest addition to our suite of digital offerings and we aim to educate people about life insurance industry through this touch point.

About HDFC Life

Established in 2000, HDFC Life is India’s leading long-term life insurance solutions provider offering a range of individual and group insurance solutions that meet various customer needs such as Protection, Pension, Savings, Investment, and Health. The company also offers Women’s Plans to meet specific needs of women. Customers have the added advantage of customizing plans, by adding optional benefits called riders, at a nominal price. The company currently has 22 retail and 8 group products in its portfolio, along with 9 riders.

HDFC Life continues to have the widest reach with about 500 branches in India touching customers in over 900 cities and towns. The company has also established a liaison office in Dubai. The company has a strong presence in its existing markets with a strong base of Financial Consultants. HDFC Life is a joint venture between Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC), India’s leading housing finance institution and Standard Life plc, the leading provider of financial services in the United Kingdom.

Contact Us


Email *

Message *