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Can claims be rejected if the insured wasn’t aware about his Pre existing or life style disease?
11-Feb-2017    17:14



Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Recently a family friend of mine introduced me to an office colleague, Mr Sudhakar Shetty. Mr Shetty was looking out for an expert opinion on his health insurance policy and the benefits he could avail under the same. His situation was something faced by many people on a daily basis.

Here he was, holding the policy papers of his health insurance which was in force for the past 4 years, with no claim till date.

He had taken his health policy in the year 2011 and had been regularly paying his premiums. In the fourth year that is 2014 he went for “coronary artery bypass grafting” surgery.

Now here lay the catch.The hospital discharge card mentioned Mr. Shetty as suffering from diabetes along with hypertension. This gave the insurance company a reason to reject his claim, stating that hypertension along with diabetes was a pre existing condition. The company also went to the extent of stating that he had not mentioned his condition when he took the policy in the year 2011, thus hiding the facts.

Mr Shettys contention was that he was not suffering from any pre-existing ailment in 2011 and had shared his family doctors written statement to support the same. Inspite of providing all the relevant documents, the company rejected his claim. This is when he decided to take expert guidance on the matter and shared his case details with me.
 
Let us first understand what is Pre existing condition and its exclusion -
 
A health condition can be defined as a pre existing condition only when the insured is aware about it before the initiation of the policy. Under the policy contract terms, he is legally bound to share such information with the company, failing which the company is within its legal right to refuse a claim pertaining to such ailment.

As an insurance consultant, I have always believed that the customer should always be given a fair chance to present his case.
 
Accordingly, we went through the case details and found that Mr. Shetty did not suffer from any hyper tension when he purchased the policy in 2011. It is in the subsequent years (year 2013) that he came to know about his condition which was then followed by a surgery in 2014.

On my suggestion Mr. Shetty connected with the grievance cell of the company for his claim matter. Since the claim did not get resolved at the company end, we decided that he should file a case with the insurance ombudsman.

My contention as a insurance industry expert was very simple, the company was beyond its rights when it termed hypertension as a ‘pre existing condition not declared by the insured’ or when it related the same with diabetes. It was a clear case of the insured becoming aware of his condition in the subsequent years and not sharing it with the insurance company could in no way  be termed as hiding of pre-existing condition.

As such in today’s hectic life, hyper tension and diabetes are more of a life style disease and should not be used as a reason for not providing the rightful dues. Though as a purely good practice, he should have shared the change in his medical condition with the company.

Accordingly, Mr. Shetty finally contacted the insurance ombudsman and the ombudsman after due hearing passed a ruling in his favour thus directing the insurance company to pay him the claim amount. The company was also asked to pay an additional sum for the mental agony and stress he went through to get his due claim passed.

As a domain expert and consultant, I have always suggested that Policy holders should be aware of their basic rights of recourse in case they feel the Insurance companies have rejected or curtailed their claims on the basis on unjustified grounds.

Information Rules.


PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE – A BOON FOR PROFESSIONALS IN TODAYS CONNECTED WORLD
27-Jan-2017    16:14

Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Ramesh is a Chartered Accountant , working with a CA firm appointed as statutory auditors by M/s Adarsh Agrotech limited. He is the appointed signatory for the company’s books of accounts. In year 2014, few of the shareholders brought a case against Rameshs audit firm for misrepresentation of facts.  Since Rameshs firm had undertaken professional liability insurance for civil litigation, he was able to handle the legal and other costs of the lawsuit including reputation management expenses. 

Now the question is  what  is professional liability and why is it so important in todays business scenario
Under the revised companys Act 2013, the scope of fraud sec 447 in relation to affairs of the company has been increased to cover the directors and appointed designated people. It also covers professionals discharging their duties under their professional capacity.
 
Further, the directors are under an obligation to comply with techno legal requirements of not only the companies Act 2013 Act but also the Information Technology Act, 2000 and other related laws.
Similarly, professionals while discharging their duties, inadvertently can end up erring or omitting crucial facts.  And the clients can end up bringing lawsuits against them for the same. 

A liability cover provides the insured a confidence to face the challenges of business.  In case the insured faces a civil litigation, they can be at peace that the financial burden of litigation, damage to their reputation and loss of personal assets is protected by the policy.

What are the various product offerings under liability insurance?

Liability Insurance covers Legal liability for breach of professional duty in the conduct of professional business practice.

Acts like negligence, breach of trust, out of court settlement, defense cost and legal expertise costs, compensatory damages awarded against the company, professionals, libel , slander , other such expenses are covered.

 

Listed down are the Products and the Eligible entities.

Liability Products

Eligible entity

 

 

Error and omission

Professionals working in organisations like hospitals, IT companies,  Construction and engineering ,  solicitors, computer consultant , business consultant

 

Professional indemnity

Lawyers, CA firms, CS firms, Individuals providing professional services like Media  services eg  publishers and broadcasters, electronic transmission services, researching and publishing services, television, radio, advertising and other such channels.

Directors and officers liability

Office bearers of private and public limited companies are covered for any legal case filed against them while discharging their official duties.

 

Product liability

Legal case filed against the company for personal injury or property damage due to usage of the company’s product

Public liability

Third party liability, Lift liability, Personal injury and property damage to the general public

 

Fidelity Guarantee

Indemnifies the company against losses due to fraud or dishonesty committed by an employee and all other individuals coming under the definition of employee for this purpose.




Professional indemnity Insurance – Chartered Accountants

 

 

Particulars

 

 

 

Premium excluding Service Tax (INR)

Sum Assured  (INR)

 

 

 

 

 

25,00,000

 

17,850

24,950

 

27,600

 

31,200

 

50,00,000

22,300

 

27,600

 

31,200

 

35,600

 

1,00,00,000

26,700

 

32,050

 

35,600

 

40,100

 

Gross Income (INR) up to

25,00,000

 

50,00,000

 

1,00,00,000

 

2,00,00,000

 

Deductible (INR)

 

50000

 

50,000

 

50,000

 

1,00,000

 




What are the exclusions under liability insurance –

Legal and other expenses for Criminal liability are not covered.

Example - In the example given above, if it was proved that Ramesh had done some wrongdoing consciously, it would come under criminal liability, which is not covered by any insurance company.

In today’s dynamically changing world, its mandatory for any company to keep its directors and officers liability cover in place.






Micro Insurance - Covering the Urban And Rural Poor
30-Dec-2016    15:12






Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Mohan is a marginal farmer in the rural district of Rajasthan. His sustenance majorly depends on the crop quality year on year. Like many other farmers in this district, he is covered under the crop insurance policy for Rs.30000.

This year his crop failed but he didn’t end up in debt of the moneylender, for his expenses incurred on the crop. He got his sum assured from the insurer and can now look at alternate means of seasonal employment.

IRDA and Micro Insurance

It was with this socio economic target population, IRDA in the year 2005 mandated every insurance company to do a mandatory 25 per cent of new business in life insurance in rural areas and 7 per cent of total business in general insurance.

The products had to be specifically for the low income, uninsured, economically weaker section of the society, persons ignored by mainstream commercial and social insurance schemes, as well as persons who have not previously had access to appropriate insurance products.

Thus it came up with Micro Insurance Regulations (2005). Micro insurance is a tool to protect productive assets like crop and property and provide cover for health, life, accidental death and disability  of the rural and urban poor.

Why do poor women specifically need micro insurance.

The role of micro insurance is to help low-income people manage risk and reduce their vulnerability, to financial shocks which can lead them into permanent debt and social hardships.

Especially for poor women, the coverage can be even more critical. This cover helps them in overcoming the sudden shocks of losing the bread earner and the accompanying medical costs and living costs, till they recover and start working . As per some reports women comprise 70 per cent of the world’s poor.

Distribution of Micro Insurance

IRDA ensured, that the same set of entities which distribute micro credit take up the distribution of micro insurance. These include NGOs, self help groups and micro finance companies. Even insurance companies can set up their dedicated agent channels to sell micro insurance.

Besides profits, there are several other benefits for commercial insurers providing micro insurance.
Accessibility to a larger and diversified risk pool, benefits to reputation, and market intelligence and innovation that can be applied to other business activities.

End of the day, micro insurance can be a Win – Win situation for the Insurance companies, the distribution agencies and the beneficiary.

FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR THOSE GOLDEN YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
27-Dec-2016    14:12





Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Today there is no concept of retirement, since a person only retires from active work life and not from living his life to the fullest. You work and save for the later years, when the time is perfect, to spend travelling to new places or meeting family and friends.

Creating a fund for those Golden Years

You have an option to time your retirement funds receipt, to coincide, with the year you stop active work life.

Another option is to have large chunk of funds available in the initial non working years post retirement, primarily to spend on the crucial responsibilities like children’s marriage or your own world travel plans.

Few people like to keep the option available, to partly encash the retirement kitty before they stop working. It’s done primarily to fund large investments like children’s higher studies.


Retirement plans are also called as Pension Plans

There are 2 phases to it. Accumulation Phase when the money is added to the kitty and Vesting Age when the policy holder starts receiving funds, either in part lump sum ( max 33%)and rest as annuity.

In case you missed out on regular investments, invest a lump sum and start immediate payouts called immediate annuity. This is used by many people when they en cash their mutual funds and FD to start a annuity payout. The vesting age for pension plans is 40 to 70 years.

Importance of Pension Plans

Take the case of PK Vyas , a private sector employee , in his 50s. He has 2 children, both in their teens. He knows that he has to provide for their higher studies till their mid 20s. Thats another 10 years to go. In order to provide for the same, he has taken a Deferred Annuity Plan, which will get active by the time he retires at age 58. 
This plan will ensure that he or his nominee receives fixed monthly sum for the next 15 years, irrespective of whether he is alive or not, based on options selected.

Sheela, on the other hand, has completed all her responsibilities and at age 60 wants to ensure that she is not dependent on her children for her financial requirements. She chooses a Life Annuity Plan with return of premiums, which ensures that she receives life time annuity and when she dies; her nominees will receive the premium.

The above examples show a mere glimpse of how retirement plans can be customised for an individual’s needs. You have a choice of insurance companies and national pension scheme which provide a plethora of retirement plans.

Rest assured start investing today, the investment will pay big time when you retire.


for more info connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in
Group Benefit and Insurance policies
24-Dec-2016    14:10



Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


NetSet is a fast growing start up company, dealing in ‘Business to Customer’ apps designing. The employees are very passionate about their work and love the culture of the organisation.

In the past few months, the company has been facing few personnel related challenges, in terms of retaining its high performance employees.
 
The CFO consulted few of his industry acquaintances and realised that providing deferred benefits and coverage for the unforeseen expenses, helps in motivating the employees to focus all their energies on the work front.

Organisations, big and small use many monetary and non monetary means to retain their valued employees. Such schemes come under the broad category of employer employee relationship management.

Difference between Key insurance and Group insurance

Key man insurance policies are term policies and the beneficiary is the organisation. They are usually taken on the life of the key person whose absence can majorly affect the organisations earnings. The benefits of key man are taxable in the hands of the company whereas . group policy benefits are only for the employees.

Type of Group Plans - They include Group Life Insurance, Group Health Insurance, Group Gratuity plans and other customised products. These provide Life cover, Health cover and Fund management services.
 
Group Insurance usually has one master policy created in the name of the employer. All employees are listed down under a single policy.

In case of a Group Life Insurance policy, the employer in order to claim tax benefit has to assign the policy individually in the name of the employee. The employee, in turn has to appoint a nominee on his policy.

What are the benefits to the employer?

Premiums
- Paid by the employer are shown as business expenses under section 37(1) of the IT act 1961. The coverage for each employee is based on their grade and level in the organisation.  So a managing director can have a Rs.50 Lac medical cover and a assistant manager can have a Rs. 1 lac cover.

Retaining employees – It’s a great motivation tool for retaining high paid employees as the premiums don’t count as part of the employee’s remuneration.

Training new employees -Since employee retention levels are high, the corporate saves on training new people who would have replaced the old ones.

Financial support - The life cover, health cover and gratuity cover helps the organisation in providing the employee and his family with due financial support at the time of need.

Organisations -Corporate, legal firms, institutions, boards and trusts can insure their employees.
In case of promoter run companies, the promoter can be shown as an employee, for insurance purpose, provided he doesn’t have majority ownership.
 
Benefit for the Employee

Assured Gratuity
- Received by the employee as and when he leaves the organisation, after completing the minimum years of service.

Coverage for family including parents – Under the group health policy, medical requirements are usually waived off even for the parents.  The same amount of medical cover for parents would have been difficult, had he approached a health company as an individual.

Financial future -Life insurance cover ensures that his family’s financial future is taken care of. In case he leaves the organisation, he has the option to convert it into an individual policy, provided the master policy has an option to convert.

Valued resource – It gives the employee a sense of belonging and peace of mind thus ensuring increased productivity.

Tax free - All benefits are tax free in the hands of the employee under sanction 10(10) (D) of it act.


Group Insurance Policies are a win all deal for the organisation as well  as the employee and go a long way in creating  a sustained healthy work culture.


Life Insurance – Why should all married guys buy one under MWPA
22-Dec-2016    18:40






Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Satish, 38 years, is a director in his family’s commodities export business. He lives with his wife and two children at the family’s jointly owned 3 storey house.
The business ran into losses for 2 years in a row and the family assets including house, which were mortgaged to the bank for loans, were taken over by the bank.

A few years back Satish’s financial advisor Mr.Rai had insisted on him to take a life insurance policy and get it same endorsed under the Married Womens Property Act (MWPA) in the name of his wife and children.

Listed are few details of the policy

Satishs’ age at policy purchase date – 35 years

Policy Duration – 35 years

Sum assured – Rs.5 cr

Premium per year – Rs14.64 Lacs

Tax rebate under section 80 C

The benefit of the MWPA feature was visible when the bank impounded all their family properties. The bank could not touch the insurance policy, nor did it benefit satish to surrender it.

This was because the rules of MWPA define a policy as a trust in the name of the beneficiaries, in this case the wife and children.

The business stress took its toll on Satish and he had a major heart attack which rendered him bedridden.  He eventually died in a year’s time.

The claim money of Rs.5cr was paid to the wife and children and satish’s parents or siblings had no right over the money as per the rules of MWPA .

The MWPA is an endorsement which is available for all types of insurance policies, be it term, whole life, endowment, money back policy or ULIP policies.

There are few rules which set MWPA benefit apart from the normal benefits of Life Insurance-

1.    Any life insurance policy can be endorsed under MWPA, provided the same is done while purchasing the policy.

2.    The wife and children, jointly or individually, are the only beneficiaries under the rules.

3.    The beneficiaries cannot be changed, which means a divorced wife will have her share in the policy.
 
4.    Any widower or single father can take the policy for the children.

5.    Endorsement automatically creates a trust in the name of the beneficiaries.

6.    The policy holder cannot avail the benefits in any form whether surrender or paid up or survival.

7.    No family member or creditors can lay claim on the benefits except the beneficiaries.

8.    It gives peace of mind to those who want to leave a trust for their families.


In hindsight it was a master stroke of a decision which ensured that Satish’s wife and childrens financial future was insured against the ups and downs of the family business.
 
For more info connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in
A Tale of ‘No Home Insurance’
21-Dec-2016    18:00



Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


KKM Mahesh is a retired government officer, currently residing with his children in Bangalore. He has a beautiful house in Chennai, built over a period of time by the couple, with their life long savings.

Mahesh didn’t want to leave the house lying vacant so has let out half of it as a means to cover up those recurring house expenses.

In fact, the floods which swept Chennai last year did not really affect his house and he was grateful for that.
He believes he took a very prudent decision buying his retirement ‘Dream House near the sea and away from the busy central areas of Chennai.
 
His friend Guruprasad who owns a similar house close by had recently purchased a home owners packaged policy for Rs.1cr. He explained to Mahesh the benefits of the policy, which were as below -

Package policy - Home Insurance

Structure including contents

Sum assured     - Rs. 1,00,00,000
Premium/year    - Rs. 25,000    
       
 
This included furniture, electrical items like fridge, television and other gadgets, jewellery, kitchen appliances, other general items and even  boundary walls and fences. The policy allowed the contents to be covered for 5 years and structure for 10 years at a stretch.

Guruprasad suggested Mahesh should buy a similar cover for his house. But being a person who thought twice before spending every rupee, Mahesh felt those few thousands were just waste of money. Guess, he was a bit too off mark.

It was during Cyclone Vardah that the need for Home Insurance cover dawned on him.

With the cyclone landing in Chennai, in a matter of few  days, the surroundings of his house turned from the beautiful flora to mud and debris. The trees came crashing into the house and all his prized possessions lost their worth. Life came to a standstill!

Gosh! How could he be so myopic in his outlook towards the greater benefits of a Home Owners Packaged Insurance? Under present circumstances, the insurance company paid out sum assured upto the damages incurred (Rs.50Lacs) to his friend Gururprasad while Mahesh had to search for ways to finance the restoration of his house and its contents.

He wondered, only if he had taken the home insurance policy, he would have been at peace of mind today.

for more details, connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in

Transformational trends in Insurance Industry for the year 2017
17-Dec-2016    17:20


Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Today, insurance industry is in a major transformational phase. Customer demographics are changing and so are the modes of distribution. The shift is happening from traditional distribution channels towards mobile based and web based models of distribution, driven by fintech companies.
In fact today, customised products and transparent servicing is the new hygiene standard.

Listed are few trends to be seen in the year 2017

1.  
  Usage Based Insurance – Pay as You Drive and   Pay   as You Use
2.    Big Data revolution
3.    Internet of Things
4.    Financial technology companies in insurance distribution
5.    Emergence of the shared economy
6.    M health apps
7.    Peer to peer Insurance
8.    Gamification
9.    Cyber Insurance


Lets discuss the first aspect which will bring in a strategic shift in the way the insurance industry works.

 Usage Based Insurance

Usage-based insurance (UBI) also known as pay as you drive (PAYD) and pay how you drive (PHYD) and mile-based auto insurance is a type of vehicle insurance whereby the costs are dependent upon type of vehicle used, measured against time, distance, behaviour and place.

How does it operate?

There are two ways by which a customer can enrol for usage based insurance policy. There is something called telematics device which is installed in vehicles or the telematics application loaded on to smart phones, connected with the insurers systems. It tracks customers driving behaviour and usage pattern on a real time basis.

The smart phone app or plugin device provides information like location, mileage, speed, sudden acceleration or braking, including external factors like traffic speed, weather , time of the day. Infact the smartphone app also detects whether the driver is texting while behind the wheel. All this information helps in defining real time premiums on a monthly basis.

Why will it be a game changer for the motor insurance industry?

Usage based insurance will change the way the industry works. Till now the insurance premiums were calculated based on the make, model and year of purchase. This led to insurance premiums of regular risky drivers being compensated by the chunk of people who rarely used their cars or used their cars only during weekends or were very cautious drivers.

Usage analysis of the customers driving skills will help companies in cost effective allocation of premium slabs and accordingly tailor insurance products based on the specific driving behaviours and usage pattern.
 
Two things that will change -Claim handling capability and Customer segmentation

Internationally, UBI has the capability to reduce claims by around 40% , reduce policy administration by 50% and substantially reduce acquisition cost.

Further, with many new age vehicles having built-in telematics capability at the manufacturing stage, it provides growth opportunities to ‘pay as you use’ and ‘pay per use’ models of premium payment.

Globally, the UBI market across Europe, Asia and America is expected to be 15% by 2020 .

Going forward

In todays dynamic scenario, the existing books of polices are no more cost effective for insurers. Due to cost restrictions even risk management is being relooked at. Two areas that may be key to profitable growth for insurers will be harvesting data in new ways and being more nimble and proactive in launching new products, services, and distribution options.
 
And those, who will fine tune their offerings based on user behaviours and feedback will end up making it to the next level.

for more info connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in

RBI vision 2018 - A Less-Cash India
12-Dec-2016    16:14




Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

The FM has recently announced a slew of schemes focused on making India a less-cash economy. On careful evaluation one realises that these schemes and sops are part of a grand framework which was released by RBI in the month of June 2016 called the PAYMENT AND SETTLEMENT SYSTEMS IN INDIA: VISION 2018

The Vision-2018 aims at building best of class payment and settlement systems for a ‘less-cash’ India.

The broad contours of Vision-2018 revolve around the 5 Cs:

1.    Coverage –by enabling wider access to a variety of electronic payment services

2.    Convenience –by  enhancing  user  experience through  ease  of  use  and of  products  and processes

3.    Confidence
–by  promoting integrity  of  systems,  security  of  operations  and  customer protection

4.    Convergence
–by ensuring interoperability across service providers

5.    Cost
–by making services cost effective for users as well as service providers

To achieve these, Vision-2018 plans to focus on four strategic initiatives such as responsive regulation, robust infrastructure, effective supervision and customer centricity.

The recent reform measures announced by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley are part of the government’s efforts to bring greater convergence by promoting interoperability among the various payment system operators and banks.
 
Under this the government targeted 3 aspects of the economy
1.    Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
2.    Toll collection
3.    Payments for Mass Transit systems.


The government has announced 11 measures, which will impact the high frequency cash transaction aspects of the economy, formalize economic activity and push it towards electronic payments, and a uniform taxation system.

1.   Insurance industry – Public sector Insurance Companies will initiate discounts of 10% on general insurance products and 8% on life insurance products for fresh policies purchased by making digital payments on their websites.
This will serve as a lead for other private insurance companies to come up with  discount offers.

2.   Railway tickets –Suburban monthly and seasonal rail tickets, purchased online, will get a discount of 0.5% from January 1, 2017.

3.  Free accident cover -All long distance railway tickets, booked online, will get free accidental insurance worth Rs.10Lakhs. Hence nearly 11 lakh passengers per day will be covered under the accidental insurance scheme.

4.  Railway services - Those using digital mode to pay for railway catering, accommodation, retiring room services provided by railways and its affiliates, will be entitled to a discount of 5 per cent.

5.  Petrol vendors – All state owned outlets will provide 0.75% discount on digital payments, which includes debit, credit cards, e wallet, mobile wallets, for all petrol and diesel purchases.

As per recent statistics, as much as Rs1,800 crore worth of petrol and diesel is bought every day by nearly 4.5 crore customers and just 20 per cent of it is through cards. Post demonetisation the figure has moved to 40 per cent. The government aims to push this figure to 70% in near future.

6.   High way toll booths - Vehicles using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or fast tags for toll payments, will get a 10% discount on digital payments.

7.  Limit on POS machine rental – Public sector banks will charge  merchants outlets a maximum rental of Rs.100 month for PoS terminals/Micro ATMs/mobile POS. This move not only will benefit the existing 6.5 lakh machines supplied by public sector banks but also bring small merchants on board the digital payment eco system.

8.  Service tax waiver for online transactions below Rs.2000 - Of all the services which come under the service tax net, the ‘below Rs.2000 bills’ form about one fifth of the pie . Hence waiving off service tax, which ranges from around 4.5% -15%, will create positive impact for the customers. Services like salons, restaurants and pre-paid phone connections which are sub Rs. 2000 with high footfall will be a major beneficiary of this move.

9.  Transaction fees – The Central Government Departments and Central Public Sector Undertakings will ensure that transactions fee/MDR charges associated with payment through digital means shall not be passed on to the consumers and all such expenses shall be borne by them.

10.  POS Support for small villages - To ensure even the remotest of villages are included in this journey towards cashless digital system, Nabard would extend financial support to eligible banks for deployment of two POS devices each at one lakh villages with population of less than 10,000.

11.  Rural Regional Banks will issue Rupay Kisan Cards to 4.32 crore Kisan credit card holders to enable them to make digital transactions at POS machines/Micro ATMs/ATMs.


The great informal sector –

The large unbanked informal sector, including the agriculture sector, escapes the tax net and thus is a big source of generating unaccounted money.

Hence, moving to a cashless and transparent economy can happen, only when there are structural changes in the way business is conducted by the formal and the informal sector, the taxation of these sectors and most importantly the digital literacy and financial inclusion of the informal sector.

Reference Links -
https://m.rbi.org.in/

for more info connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in
Is My Home Insured !
09-Dec-2016    16:14





Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Today every Indian dreams of owning, at least, one house in their life time. They spend huge amounts including their savings and home loans, taken based on future earnings, for building a place of their own.
 
Even the utilities they collect and the various eclectic items they arrange to make it their own cosy pad, costs them monetarily and emotionally.

But what if this dream home is damaged or the contents are stolen by way of theft or an earthquake has damaged it beyond repair. Or of all the things, vandals have created havoc with the contents of the house along with other surrounding houses.

Think, if you have gone on a foreign trip and when u return, you realise that your cherished home theatre system and latest laptops and gaming consoles are nowhere to be seen.

It’s during such situations that an all inclusive home policy comes to your rescue. It ensures that you are financial compensated for the damage to your home and the items stolen or spoilt due to any of the listed happenings.

Such situations are very well possible; irrespective of the amount of security and vigilance we might put in place.

Hence it is very pertinent in today’s connected world; where every customised white good like refrigerator, television screen etc can cost close to lakhs of rupees each; that a home owner takes an all inclusive home insurance policy.
 
Let’s look at few USPs of a Home Owner’s Policy

With burglary, fire, earthquake or destruction of house due to riots being a common aspect in pockets of India, you should look at what are the most probable reasons for which you need a cover for your home.

1.  Areas which are flood prone or earthquake prone will need an insurance to secure them against the damage. Choose product which covers the incidents you want to insure against.

2.  Do check the claim paying record of the insurance company along with user review, if any.

3.  Check the reputation and customer service record of the company.

4.  Depending on whether you are an owner or tenant, you can go for structure and content insurance or just content insurance, respectively. The aspects are detailed below-

a.   Structure Insurance - It covers losses due to structural damage of the home from natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods, etc., manmade calamities and terrorist attacks. The amount is calculated as the sum required for rebuilding the house and not the market value.

b.   Content Insurance - It covers the damage or loss of contents of the house, such as electronics, jewellery, furniture, etc. and the coverage is usually on the market value of the contents. The market value is the current value less depreciation. in case you are staying on rent, you can purchase this policy to cover your belongings.
 
c.   Liability Insurance / Personal Accident – The family members and incidental people ( like maids) or visitors present in the house during the incident, are covered for injurious sustained. You are also covered for any damage to an adjoining property due to any incident in your house eg a fire in your house ending up burning a neighbour’s house, is also covered.

d.   Group Insurance - This is usually taken by the society or the builder to cover the building structure, which encompasses all the homes. You should take an individual home cover, as an add on to the group policy, since individual homes are not sufficiently covered under group policies.

Home insurance policies are yearly in nature. Hence remember to evaluate the structural aspect and the contents before renewing the policy. Further, if given an option, go for the replacement value policy and not the actual cash value policy.

Peace of mind for every Home Owner

Home insurance does not cost much, but is a stress reliever in case something unforeseen happens. And the insurance payout helps in at least rebuilding your cherished dwelling thus moving on with life.


For more info connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in

Want to know about Celebrity insurance - famously known as Body Part Insurance
06-Dec-2016    16:40



Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

When we talk about Celebrity insurance, it conjures images of dazzling personalities with all their attention and wealth and an assumed fact that their insurance policies are all marketing gimmicks rather than a required facility.

This can be partially true as most celebrity body part insurance is sponsored by agencies and networks to provide a marketing and promotional angle to the celebrity’s personality.

But in many cases, it is the celebrity who feels their unique body part is worth insuring against future loss. A typical policy indemnifies the celebrity against any business loss due to damage or injury to the body part.
 
Famous examples of body part insurance are

In India, Amitabh Bachchan has insured his famous baritone voice, so has Rajnikant insured his unique voice and got a copyright on its usage. Our own nightingale Lata Mangeshkar has insured her voice for an undisclosed amount.
 
Similarly, sports persons namely Sania Mirza, Vijendra Singh have insured their hands against any injury or loss.

Internationally, body part insurance dates back to early 20th century when the than famous comedian Ben Turpin insured his crossed eyes for $20000, in case they became uncrossed.

Today we have many film personalities like Daniel Craig, who has the Bond movie series banking on his shoulders, insuring his whole body for $9.5mn. 

Julia Roberts famous pretty woman smile is insured for $30mn, Singer Mariah Careys legs are insured for $1bn, Jennifer Lopez famous derriere has be insured for $300mn and the list goes on. 

Even famous food and wine tasters have insured their talent and ability to taste and smell against any business loss, in the event that their qualities are compromised. Lloyds of London had insured the nose of famous wine taster Ilya Gort against loss of either his nose or sense of smell.

Insurance Companies - In India, United insurance company, New India Assurance company, ICICI Lombard and Bajaj Life insurance are few companies providing such customised policies.

Internationally Lloyds of London provides all such specialty insurance products.

What are the aspects that an insurer looks at before writing these specialty products.

An insurer usually looks at the financial capacity and popularity of the celebrity, their future earnings and the importance of the body part or talent to be insured.

Is the specialty line or body part insurance available for everybody?

Any person can go ahead and take these yearly insurance policies. The only difficulty is that, since it is a totally customised product, the premiums are very high and so is the sum assured which starts from anywhere between $5mn to $10 mn.

And most importantly, the insurer needs to be convinced about the need to insurer a body part or talent.

When should a person go for specialty line insurance?

Unless your business depends on your unique ability, like being a famous chef or wine taster , you should better go for other types of insurance like total or partial disability insurance , which covers all types of disabilities and loss of income therewith. Also the terms of claim payment are also very stringent.

So, in case you feel you are a budding celebrity or a rising star in your field, do go ahead and check for specialty insurance for yourself. Otherwise, personal accident policies are always available aplenty.

For more info connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in
14 Tips for Safe Driving In Winter
03-Dec-2016    16:14

Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

In India, fog is known to be the most difficult weather condition to drive in. Visibility is down to a few metres in the peak months of December January and mid February.

Moreover, taking side turn is the trickiest aspect of driving, making it practically a blind spot. The whole of North India faces poor visibility due to fog  during mornings and evenings, in an already short day.

Few practical aspects you must keep in mind while driving in winter, especially foggy conditions-

1.    Drive with fog lamps and low beam headlights – Before driving, ensure that you have proper working fog lamps. The best part about fog lamps is that the light is thrown straight on the road due to the low position of the lamps, reducing the chances of reflection.
Further, always use low beam headlights as high beams will reflect back on you.

2.    Cars with Reflective tapes and torch lights – Reflective tapes are stuck on the front and back of the car and are visible from atleast 50 metres even in dense fog. This helps vehicles apply brakes on time, whether they are coming from rear or front.
Keeping a long beam torch or multipurpose torch in the car can help in managing emergency situations.

3.    Clear your windshield  and  windows of existing fog – Ensure that you clean them of all the fog before starting your drive as foggy windshield is very risky to drive with.

4.    Check the weather reports - Check for the weather predictions, in case you are planning to drive long distance. Also inform a friend or relative about the direction you are heading. Further, always be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they are commonly the first areas to become icy.

5.    Never change lane – Foggy weather conditions are like playing blind. You never know what will happen in the next second. Hence never ever change lanes while driving, unless necessary and blow horns repeatedly while doing so.

6.    Keep safe distance from the front car - Maintain good distance from the car driving ahead of your car. In case you have to take a turn, do keep indicator lights on, as this can be life saving for you as well.

7.    Do not stop car mid way while driving – Fog enveloped road is not a good place to stop your car mid way. This can lead to chain reaction of accidents involving the rear cars. In case you have lost way, find a suitable point where you can park your car aside with parking lights on.

8.    Maintaining speed and using cruise control – Speed limits of normal weather don’t apply in winter, especially in fog filled weather. Over speeding or jumping red lights is also not a prudent decision. And in case you are driving on icy roads, never move your car to cruise control as you would want a better control on the car.

9.    Snow blocking the exhaust pipe - There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if snow blocks the exhaust pipe and can lead to deadly gas  build up in your car. Open your window slightly to help prevent the build-up.

10.    Applying brakes on slippery surfaces- Know how to apply brake on slippery surfaces. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes operate much differently from those that do not have anti-lock brakes.

11.    Avoiding mobiles while driving– Many drivers have the habit of checking mobiles on a slow moving traffic. Avoid the temptation to check your mobile as all your attention should be on arriving safely.

12.    Drunk driving – There is a tendency to drink and drive during winter which can increases the chances of a fatal accident, especially on fog filled days.

13.    Carry Sufficient fuel - Maintain enough fuel in the tank to keep the car cabin warm, in case you are stuck outside in the cold weather.

14.    Highway and expressway driving - Keep all your vehicle indicators on while driving on the highways and express lanes. 

Do remember – We might take optimum precaution while driving but in the eventuality of a fatal accident, car insurance won’t be a sufficient cover for your health and life.

Ensure that you have a good personal accident and health cover in place to take care of your medical needs. Also have an adequate life cover in place which can financially support your loved ones, when you are no more.

Winter Chill and Motor Care - 9 tips to take care of your vehicle this winter
02-Dec-2016    19:19



Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Winter cold can freeze even the most unlikely of objects, especially vehicles plying on high altitude roads. Hence proper vehicle care  and maintenance is a must.

We have listed down few checklist pointers for this winter
 
1.  Oil change – Motor oil is one of the most important fluids. Hence ensure you start your winter with a high quality clean oil to keep the engine lubricated, irrespective of the temperatures. Of course the decision to change motor oil will depend on the miles you usually cover and the type of motor oil in use. You have to choose between mineral based oil and synthetic oil. according to experts in winters using synthetic oil serves well.

2.  Tyres -Properly inflated tires maximise the traction on wet or icy roads and are a good protection against potholes. Replace worn out tires as well  specially in winters. Keep a tire gauge handy in the car.
All season tires harden up below 7 degree C. Use winter tires with studs ( for snow prone areas), which stay soft,  if you are traveling to high altitudes prone to single digit temperature.

3.  Battery charge – Cold temperatures can reduce battery power by almost 50 %. Check the batteries and remove any corrosion if any on the connections. Also the terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections. Its a known fact that batteries give little notice before dying, hence carry a handheld hydrometer to gauge the voltage .

4.  Radiator fluid – Ensure that your radiator has a quality anti freeze fluid. There should be a proper premix of water and coolant.

5.  Wipers and Windshield – Change your wipers once a year as snow, sleet, rain and ice can pose visibility issues. Never wash frosted windshield with hot water as it can end up in cracking the windshield. Keep quality antifreeze wiper fluid for clear vision.

6.  Engine care – Engines in old models take a longer time to heat up and then provide subsequent cabin heat. New models have an option to directly provide heat to the interiors before getting the engine warmed up. It’s always prudent to start the engine for few minutes before turning on the heater to avoid long term engine damage.

7.    Duration of trips - Repeated short trips in cold weather like taking kids to/from school, visit to the local shop end up in the vehicle never warming up sufficiently to burn off accumulated water vapour leading to your exhaust system rusting prematurely.

8.    Emergency kit – Items to include in your winter safety kit apart from the regular all year first aid kit are

a.    Flashlight , Blanket , leather gloves and winter hat
b.    Bag of sand in case your tires get stuck in snow or slush
c.
    Leak proof container for coolant and a small shovel, ice scarper and a brush.
d.    Most importantly - Snacks.

9.    Jammed door locks – Always keep glycerine packs at various places like office drawers, garage etc so that you are able to open jammed car door without breaking the keys.

Bottom line – Get your car maintenance done on a regular basis, especially when the climate changes and Happy Winter 

Connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in
Demonetisation Effect on health insurance industry
28-Nov-2016    12:50

Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

In India, the most important reason, for keeping cash with oneself has always been to cover unforeseen medical emergencies. In fact, till today, it was common for people from all economic sections of the society, to pay their hospital expenses by cash. This was because many hospitals and other medical facility providers were hesitant of using the digital method of payment ie credit and debit cards, leaving a customer with no choice but to pay by cash.


Hence the whole chain, starting from customers, doctors, hospitals, care providers, pharmacies and emergency service providers has been severely affected by the move to ban Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes.


Most affected have been people with unaccounted money who used to avail of health care facilities and pay for the same with cash running into lakhs of rupees.


Health care provided via cashless method has been the knight in shining armour in this demonetisation move


In fact, health care provided by way of health insurance has come as a boon for many. The reason being, it was the only way to get the required treatment done without worrying about payments, as hospital costs usually end up running into Lakhs of rupees. Unless of course, there was a good amount of cash available in your bank account.


Post demonetization, Health Insurance schemes, offered by Private and PSU insurance companies, will find more takers. In fact, people (almost 80% of Indian population) who had a habit of getting their medical contingencies resolved by paying cash will slowly start buying health Insurance. The consequent economies of scale will also bring down per person cost of buying health Insurance.


One more positive effect of this will be that Health and pharmaceutical industry, which is so far largely non-regulated, will have one dominant market force to worry about. This will lead to transparency in pricing of treatment and cost of medicine. It will further bring down the cost of Health insurance.


So in coming times we will witness a healthy India and less a worried Indian.


Future trend in Health Insurance


With the demonetisation and push for digitisation we can see following trends emerging


1. More e commerce players like wallet providers , web aggregators, online financial products companies coming into the field of distributing health products

2. Payment banks which will primarily be doing their business through mobile banking, will increase the depth and reach of health insurance.

3. Target group oriented packaged health policies gaining greater acceptance among the masses specially the bottom of the pyramid and unorganised sector.

4. Government health Insurance schemes for rural poor, which are totally cashless, providing the push for universal health coverage.


share your views, connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in

Demonetisation effect on Life Insurance industry
25-Nov-2016    18:50
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


The economy has had a permanent systemic shift post demonetisation. An average Indian’s thinking, across ages, has undergone an upheaval; revelation at the best.

Be it the young millennial who had never known what cash scarcity meant or the senior citizen, who has always trusted physical money in hand rather than the one in digital form.

In the short term, all investment products will be affected, as liquidity in terms of cash in hand has suddenly become cash in bank.

Life insurance industry and the way forward

With an increase in the funds available with the government/banks, the rate of interest on FDs and other small saving instruments will reduce. This, in turn will make returns on life insurance products, both traditional and ULIPs, more lucrative for the investors. As such, insurance products have always been known as long term investment vehicles for the common man. Since ages, plans like children’s plans, pension plans etc are considered as a must for investments.

Going forward, even investments in real estate, gold etc will become difficult and the value appreciation opportunities for them may not exist. The reason being, investments in such physical assets were driven more by the need to dispose of black money. When such money will evaporate, transactions in these products may reduce to great extent. Hence the only attractive investment opportunity will be banking and financial products. And since insurance is the core of such investments, it will attract most of the money, mostly in traditional plans and ULIPs.

One more aspect worth noticing is that insurance industry has always been plagued with the issue of mis-selling , as most complaints lodged with the insurance companies and IRDAI, were about wrong information pertaining to returns.

In the changed scenario, since returns will be superior and tax free for insurance products, chances of mis-selling shall reduce to a great extent.

Finally, its up to the investor to make the right decision.

But do remember  .... Always be insured, Life insured.



For more information do connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in
Demonetisation and its Ripple effect
24-Nov-2016    18:11

Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Since 9/11 this year, the hot topic which has unified all of India has been demonetisation of the RS.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes. Interestingly these two denominations formed 86% of the currency in the economy.

It is a known fact that the growth in these currency notes, in the system, was fueled more by counterfeit currency and black money. Counterfeit is the fake money (money not officially printed by the Indian government) and black money is the unaccounted money floating in the system.

Let’s now shift our focus to the cash dependent ecosystems existing in the country.

I have listed down few of the businesses, which felt the immediate effects of demonetisation
 
1. Entertainment industry
2. High value electronics purchase
3. Consumables like hotel and travel
4. Brick and mortar retail outlets
5. Investments which involved more of cash money, like gold and real estate

In fact there are few unorganised and small scale sectors which have been highly dependent on cash, namely

1. Primary sectors like agriculture and commodities

2. Micro finance companies dealing with self employed people working on daily cash remuneration.

3. Public sector activities like maintenance and construction work for roads, water, railways transmission and distribution
It brings us to the crucial point as to which sector, industry or policy has actually benefited from the demonetisation stroke.

I have discussed few of the financial and technological effects

1. Reduction in interest rates

With banks flush with funds in the form of deposits of Rs.5,11,565 cr( till 18th Nov. 16 ), there will be gradual reduction in the interest rates and inflation. This will see a shift of deposits from FDs to greener avenues like liquid funds, Debt funds, MFs. Home loans and other loans will cost less increasing the spending capacity of the average working person.

2. Physical investments will become less lucrative

Investments like real estate, high value art and jewellery which have primarily been cash dominated investments will see a downward trend.

3. Insurance as the beneficiary

Insurance being a long term investment is always seen as a reliable investment by the customer. The advent of smart phones and accompanying technology will work as a catalyst in the exponential spread of financial products.

Rising customer expectations for more personalized and advanced digital experiences, advancements in technology, greater access to venture capital will facilitate the growth of financial technology and eCommerce companies in the insurance sector.

4. White collar Service class

Digital payments have been The Way To Go for the working class, which is hard pressed for time and doesn’t want to lose out on the financial benefits. On top of that the discounts and cash backs that the e payments and e buying provide, has been a deal maker.

5. Cashless economy
 
Those who have transited to cashless economy were hardly affected. Online banking, IMPS, mVisa, NEFT, debit card and credit cards have made life simple. Be it individuals or small traders, the more tech-savvy they were, the better they could tide over the recent financial overhaul.

6. Digitised Government schemes

 All the government schemes for the masses, right from the health schemes to the farmer’s credit to the subsidies are all based on a robust digital setup. It works on the lines of biometrics, aadhar card, Jan Dhan Yojana and the national life insurance and health schemes.
 
What next?

1. Movement of funds

a. Legal funds


Small time businesses, House wives, Middle class, lower middle class and the self employed who used to be at the fringes of the banking sector, will actively participate.
Unorganised sector , migrant labourers who till now were using banks like SBI counters for transfers will actually open accounts in payment banks , accessible via their mobiles. The only push the customer needs is the initiation into using mobile based banking. Here the banks can open special counters to guide these people for first few transactions. 

b. Illegal funds

Businesses dealing in cash will either find ways to convert it into legal dealings or let the cash become redundant.
Bribes, hawala, counterfeit currency which were the way of life, have suddenly reduced in magnitude, nipping an entire parallel ecosystem at the core.

Going forward -

A globally connected India’s bold stance on demonetisation holds significance among its peers and the developed countries.

In the Long term, this will positively impact  the economy with higher GDP, lower inflation, higher financial savings.

For more information do connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in


Health Insurance Products Demystified – Series 2
17-Nov-2016    16:51


Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Most of us, as a practice, plan for our monthly living expenses and keep aside some amount for a rainy day.

We follow the same principle and keep aside some funds for our future unexpected financial requirements.
Due to inflation and our aspiration based goals, we decide to invest these funds in various financial instruments, thus earning us the required returns.

So much effort ...  for our financial wants and aspirations.

But we forget that the basic engine which is ensuring that we keep adding to the financial kitty is our body.
 
He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything


Hence we need to have adequate health cover and processes in place to ensure that any moment this engine breaks down, we have the wherewith all to make it recover in the best possible manner.
 
The need to maintain ones health cuts across the socio economic strata of society. We have private health insurance companies catering to the top to middle end of the society. We have public sector companies which cater across all strata of society including the lower end under the government run health and public schemes.

Does it cover my day to day health expenses?

The main purpose of Health insurance products is to cover the large unexpected health costs, which have not been built into the daily budgetary expenses of an individual or his family.
 
They include
1.    Pre hospitalisation cost of 30 days prior
2.    Inhospital costs including all the related expenses like surgery, doctor, medicines, room rent , etc
3.    ICU cost
4.    Post hospitalisation cost – 60 days after .
5.    Day care cost
6.    Accidental emergency
7.    Reimbursement of medical checkups or coupons for        free health check ups
8.    Global travel
   

Many more benefits fine tuned according to the product offered by the company
 
Daily health expenses are usually not covered under any health cover .
 
How does one go about choosing a health cover?

You have a plethora of options available from numerous private and public insurance companies. Add to it the exotic names given to the products and the choice becomes that much of a puzzle.

We have listed down a few simple ways by which you can decide or at least shortlist your choice of a health product.

1.    Do you want  a health product for yourself or for yourself and your  family

A  few options -

a.    Individual plan


This plan covers the health requirements of an individual. It ensures that the medical expenses and associated costs are covered including pre hospital cost like medical tests and ambulance cost, inhospital and post hospitalisation as well. It is the most hassle free plan as the person can visit any of the cashless hospitals and get his treatment up to the sum assured.

b.    Family floater including parents, spouse and children

It provides your family with the same medical benefits as an individual policy but at a comparatively lower cost.

Any member or members can use the policy up to the total sum assured.
 
The only catch here is that the range of ages covered will be quite wide and so the premiums will be marked up accordingly.

A better option is to cover yourself and spouse along with children in one plan and take a separate policy for the parents. Eg parents aged 70 + and children aged 10 and below, become a very wide age band to cover in policy. It is advantageous to cover yourself and your immediate family under one policy and your parents under a senior citizen policy.

c.    Senior citizen products

Most insurance companies offer senior citizen health products up to the age of 80 years, with lifelong renewal. But the sum assured ranges between Rs.1Lac to Rs.5 Lac. Senior citizens have very specific health care requirements. They have more of  ICU expenses, nursing expenses, surgeons fees, consultants fees, anaesthetist and specialist fees, blood transfusion, oxygen, pacemaker, drugs and diagnostic tests. Plans are accordingly built to suit them.

d.    Individual / family product as add-on to the health cover provided by employers.

The cover taken is similar to any individual or family floater plan. You need to ensure that the ailments, which have less coverage under the employer provided group policy, are sufficiently covered under the add on plan.

2.    Do you want some fund value built into the health product

There are Unit linked health insurance products which provide you with all the health benefits and create a parallel fund for your emergency usage. This fund can be used over and above the health benefits.

3.    Do you have a fixed budget for the health policy or prefer a comprehensive product.
In case you don’t have any budgetary limitation, go for the top end health cover. Such covers will provide you the complete sum assured without asking you for any deductibles or copayment or sub limits while making claim. Such products are called comprehensive covers and they usually provide a higher sum assured.

4.    Worldwide health cover
Today, health insurance products cover you, irrespective of wherever you travel across the world. there is a special accident health cover built in along with the regular health products.


Few tips while taking health cover
 
You can ask for additional features and benefits in your policy, apart from what is regularly offered by the company or its agent.

Addons like critical illness, maternity and cancer care is provided on demand.
 
Waiting period for pre-existing diseases
 

Pre existing diseases will be covered after a waiting period of 2 years to 4 years.

Life time renewal

Health policies are renewable for your entire life time. As per IRDAI guidelines, no insurance company can refuse  renewal based on previous year claims.

No more yearly renewal

Today, health policies can be taken for 3 years at a stretch without the yearly renewal hassle.

Cashless medical facility

Most health products come with a cashless facility, where in if you avail the same at any of the tie up hospitals, the insurance company directly takes care of the payment.

All you need to do is to intimate the company before going in for the treatment, as this helps in avoiding unnecessary running around for you, while filing for claim .

Aspects which are not covered by most insurance companies
•    HIV /AIDS and its complication
•    Genetic Disorder
•    Mental Disorder
•    Suicide or Drug abuse

In conclusion

Maintaining health is a universal requirement for all humans.


So, do cover yourself and your family for health benefits. Regular premium investment is still better than emptying your pockets and invested funds during health emergencies.


Always think positive, eat better, exercise often and feel good .. as your body is the only place you have to live ..
 

For more information do connect with us at anita.parmar@pibl.in
Health Insurance Demystified – Series 1
16-Nov-2016    17:24

Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Body is a machine. How well you maintain it, will decide how long it does lasts, without a break down.

This brings us to the ever known fact that every human being has to take care of their body, in order to remain self dependent and live life to the fullest.


But in case they do need medical care and advice, they should have a health insurance in place, unless they have a backup plan.

What is health insurance -
 
Health insurance cover means a contract between the insurer and the insured, wherein the insurer promises to cover the insured for defined medical expenses they might incur in return for a fixed amount of premium.

Always remember - Don’t go for the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to health cover

In terms of health policy, refrain from going for the cheapest cover as it can have caveats attached to it. (We will discuss the same in detail in this article). Go for the most economical plan according to your own health needs.

You need to evaluate the following aspects before deciding on a health policy.

You and your family’s -

    1. Health history
    2. Life style
    3. Future earnings and
    4. Future Health expenses including premiums and out of pocket


Listed are few of the specific aspects you have to look for before deciding on your health insurance. As the cost of insurance is not just the premium but the total out of pocket expenses you pay to avail the facility.

        1. Co pay

       a.  It means that when any health claim arises, the insured will have to pay part of the expenses (defined in % or amount) and the rest will be paid by the insurance company.
 Eg if you are going for a surgery costing Rs.40000 and the said treatment is under co – pay of 90- 10%, then the insurance company pays Rs.36000 and you will have to pay the balance Rs.4000.

        b. Reasons for such clauses –
                i.This ensures that people go for treatments only when required and not for any small ailment which can be treated at locally.

                ii.Treatments are taken at reasonable hospitals and not boutique ones with inflated costs.
Benefit for customers – they get larger sum assured at lesser premium as they agree to bear part of the expenses.

         2. Deductible

           a. The minimum expense amount beyond which the insured can claim insurance. Suppose if your policy has a Rs.2000 deductible clause and you incur a health expense of Rs.2000 or less, then in such case no claim will be paid. If you undergo a cataract surgery cost Rs. 30000 then the insurance company will pay Rs. 28000 as a claim and Rs.2000 is borne by the insured.


           b. This clause is inserted as a fixed amount so that the insured refrains from filing small amount claims thus refraining from wasting the time and effort of both the insurer and the client.

        3. Sub Limits

    Ailments based sublimit
-

An insurance policy sum assured is a combine cover provided for all possible ailments.  Hence, there is a maximum claim limit called sub limit for each of these ailments within the sum assured.
eg if the Sum assured is Rs.10 Lacs, and there is a sublimit of Rs.25000 for kidney stone operation, any cost above the sublimit of rs.25000 will have to be borne by the insured.


Room Rent sublimit -

Room rents are always included in sublimit, unless you take an all inclusive policy with no sub limit. And all hospital expenses right from operation theatre cost to doctor costs, food and other expenses are all linked with room rents
.
 
Eg if your policy allows a room rent of Rs.2000 per day and you go for a room costing Rs.5000, you not only have to pay the difference in room rates ( 5000-2000 =3000) , you will also get only proportionate claim from insurance company for all expenses incurred. So if your total hospital expense is Rs.70000 you will get a claim of Rs.28000 (2/5 x70000), even though you’re eligible sum assured is more than RS.70000.

This is because all hospitals calculate their charges, for same service provided, according to room rents. That means a treatment availed in a twin sharing room will cost less, for same procedure, as compared to a single room.

        4. Pre existing condition

A pre-existing condition means any health ailment faced by the insured before applying for insurance.  These can range from big issues like diabetes, cancer, PCOS, asthma to even simple aspects like acne.
Usually different insurance companies have different waiting or cooling periods for these listed ailments, before they cover them. These range from 2 years to 4 years. Hence based on your requirement, you should shop and choose the insurance company product.


Now comes the moot point .. what should a layman do when it comes to deciding on a health plan.

Following are the recommended options-

        1. Basic health plan – with co pay, deductibles and sublimit.


Go for it if ...

If you don’t expect to use the medical services regularly, you can take a high co pay and deductible. This ensures a low premium out flow.

If you have an employer provided health policy and just want to have a add on cover to take care of any spill over.

If you are constrained by budget but want a large sum assured and also intend to chip into your health costs in near future

        2. Medium coverage plan -

Go for it if ...

If you want cost savings in terms of out of pocket then you go for a health plan with small co pay and deductibles.

        3.Comprehensive plan – top end plan

Go for it if ...

If you know, there are fair chances of you or your family member going for regular doctor visits and medical requirements, then go for the comprehensive plan.

In case you have good amount of funds, then go for a health policy which ensure you have no co pay, deductibles, sub limits and less waiting for pre existing diseases.

It is called Comprehensive Health Policy.
This plan involves high premiums but then takes care of your complete medical expenses within the prescribed policy rules. There is no sub limit, co pay or deductibles and it provides high Sum Assured.


End of the day ... Well planned out investments ... lots to look forward to in your defined budget.

And .... do take care of your body .. It’s the only place you have to live ...


E-Insurance – The way to go
11-Nov-2016    16:50
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


There was a time when all documentation in the financial world revolved around maintaining physical copies. Maintaining of electronic copies was just an add-on!

Cut to year 2016. Today all our financial industry transactions are digitised. Our banks have shrunk into apps available on our fingertips. We are specially called by customer service managers of banks to visit the banks once or use our cheque books once a while to maintain the mandatory requirements of our existence.

With the digitisation of the mutual fund industry, today we can redeem, buy, shift funds from one MF to another at the click of a button.

Insurance industry was the last leg in digitisation of financial industry

The only big investment industry, which was still years behind in terms of digitisation was the insurance industry. This inspite of the fact that the insurance industry is one of those industries which has long term investments in the country’s economy, right from long term infrastructure products to government bonds and equity participation in companies.

In financial parlance, e Insurance is just one more ray from the same Sun called financial data management.

This brings us to the question of what is E insurance
 
E-insurance Account also called as  eIA

It is a digital account with a unique ID for holding insurance policies online, just like a mutual fund demat account. It is maintained with an IRDAI authorised insurance repository.

How is a E-insurance account better then physically held policies  ..

There are various benefits for the policy holders and the insurance companies alike.

        Safety of the insurance policy papers

Having access to policy papers for filing claims is very important and in case the physical papers are lost or destroyed due to a calamity, the process of acquiring a duplicate policy paper is quite a tedious process.

Converting the existing insurance policy into e policy or buying an e policy does away with this need of physical paper copy and can be accessed safely, anytime, from anywhere.

        Access convenience

        1.    For you


              a. All your insurance policies across all insurers are digitally held at one place so that you get a single window, real time view of all your policies.

              b. Any claim you need to file or changes and service requests you desire across all insurance policies held, can be easily communicated by submitting a single form at any of the insurance repository’s service points. Eg address change, updating the contact number etc.

               c. Any new purchase will not require KYC norms like address and identity proof.
 
               d. You will also get your regular premium reminders and policy fund updates.

        2.    For your nominees

a.    They need to file a single claim form, for all your insurance policies across insurers.

        Reduced paper work

a. All new e-policies will require just the Unique identity no and the policy will be tagged by the insurer to your e account.

b. Since all your policies are consolidated at the repositories end, instead of receiving 5 annual statements from 5 insurers, you will receive a consolidated statement ( CAMS statement is an example of the same) from the insurance repository.

        No additional cost

An e-insurance account is free of cost for the policy holder. Hence he doesn’t need to pay anything for accessing the account or servicing of the same.

The cost of maintaining the account is funded by your respective insurance company.

How does one go about creating a eIA.

1. To open a eIA , you have to select an insurance repository and submit the duly filled account opening form along with your identity proof and address proof like aadhar card , pan card , and a passport size photo.

2. E-proposal form will require the proposer’s electronic signature.

3. It usually takes 7 working days for the e insurance account to be opened. Once the account is in place, you can tag all your Life, Health, General and pension insurance policies from multiple insurers to this one account.
 
4. You will receive a 13-digit unique account ID number with login and password, like any other bank or mutual fund account. You can view all your policies with their fund values and latest updates.

5. It becomes your one stop, anytime anywhere place for all policy updates. You can even send your entire service request to the repository by visiting any of their service points or online on their site.

6. You are identified by a unique account number which can be quoted for all correspondence. You can also use it while buying new e- policies.
 
7. Since your KYC is already in place, you don’t need to resubmit KYC papers while buying new policies under the unique account no.

Who is an insurance repository?

Only entities approved by IRDAI can become insurance repositories. The following is the list of repositories in India.
1. Central Insurance Repository Limited
2. NSDL Database Management Limited
3. Karvy Insurance Repository Limited.
4. CAMS Repository Services Limited

Few aspects to be kept in mind while using an e account

1. You can hold polices either in physical copy or in electronic format. Both options are not allowed for the same policy. Eg Mr. Ajay decides to keep his few short term policies converted into electronic format and keep one long term policy in paper form. This is allowed and perfectly fine with the regulator, as the choice is of the customer.

2. A policy holder can hold only one e insurance account. The repositories have systems in place to verify in case the applicant already holds an e insurance account.

Latest IRDAI regulations in place for e policies

Criteria for compulsory Issuance of new e insurance policies

1. Term plans – premium of Rs.10000 or SA Rs.10 lacs
2. Non term plans – premium of Rs.10000 or SA Rs.1 lacs
3. Pension and annuities plan - premium of Rs. 10000 or more.
4.  General insurance policies (except motor policy) - premium of Rs.5000 or SA of Rs. 10Lacs.
5. Retail Motor Policies – All policies
6. Individual Health policies – premium of Rs. 10000 or SA of Rs.5 Lacs
7. Individual international travel policies – All policies
8. Individual Personal accident and domestic travel -  premium of Rs.5000 or SA Rs.10 lacs

E-commerce sites to sell E policies

IRDAI has allowed sale of insurance products through e-commerce platforms. The mandatory issuance of policies in the electronic form will help insurance companies reach out to people living in remote areas, who otherwise lack access to the insurance products and services of intermediaries.

As a signoff thought –

In future, the moment you register the death of a person, the insurance company will immediately be informed and the process of insurance payment will start. That’s the online perfection that we aim for. 



Motor insurance is always looked upon as mandatory cost.. does it really need to be so!
10-Nov-2016    16:42
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Without giving thought to fact that if planned and taken on time, it provides savings and peace of mind.


As per the motor insurance act 1988, third party motor insurance is kept mandatory, because as a good citizen, its always important that you take care of any losses a third person incurs because of your driving skills.
 
My previous articles have delved in detail on the need for insurance and the claim process. Now that the importance of insurance is sorted out, how do we ensure that we get the best budgeted price for our motor insurance policy.

One method is to get companies to outbid each other in providing you the best insurance quote. There is an additional feature which ensures that you get further discount on your motor policy.

Its’ called No Claim Bonus (NCB)

It simply means that if you have not claimed insurance under your motor policy in the previous policy year, you will be eligible for discount in the net premium that you pay, while renewing your policy.

This is purely based on the fact that since you have not caused any cash outflow for the insurance company in the previous year, they are happy to share part of the savings with you.

In life, emergencies and need for insurance claim never comes with an announcement. Keeping the basics in place always helps.
 
Same goes for renewal of motor policy. Renewing it on or before due date has its own benefits.

Eg Ms.A has been driving a Maruti Car for the past 5 years and has not claimed insurance in the past 3 years. So, for every year that she did not claim insurance, the company has given her NCB at increased rate of 20, 25 and 35 %. And if she does not claim for next 2 years, she will get 45% and 50% discount in premium.

But, if in the coming year she forgets to renew her insurance within 90 days of due date, she stands to lose the NCB amount and will have to pay full premium instead of the discounted amount. Not only that, she will also have to get her vehicle inspected before issuance of policy.

Let us detail it out

Renewing policy after due date but within 90 days
In case you are renewing the policy after due date, you will get NCB but your vehicle will need inspection before policy issuance.

Renewing policy after due date but after 90 days
And, if by any chance, you don’t renew within 90 days of the policy expiry date, the NCB will be no longer valid. And the vehicle will need inspection before policy issuance.

In India, people conveniently forget to renew their motor insurance policy, if the need to show or use insurance papers does not arise.

Please do remember, your NCB does not depend on the insurance company. You will get the NCB discount irrespective of whether you continue with the same insurer or change it.

Few more aspects worth knowing -

Can I change my details in the middle of my policy term?
 
You can convert a third party insurance policy into a comprehensive policy, with the same insurance company.

Can I cancel my policy?

Motor policy can be cancelled only in case the client proves that the policy was issued fraudulently without him paying the money or applying for the insurance policy.

What is the maximum vehicle age for taking car insurance?

In case of third party insurance, vehicles manufactured on or after year 1998 are eligible.
In case of comprehensive policy, vehicles manufactured on or after year 2000 are eligible.


Always remember ... On time Renewal of Motor Policy, Huge savings!

 

Claiming Motor Insurance – No Sweat
09-Nov-2016    17:38
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

 

In Customer Service Parlance, Customer is the King Today


There was a time when a genuine claimant would think twice before claiming or getting his damaged car repaired under insurance, as the amount of claim or eligibility was never clear.

Today, claims or actual utilization of the policy when the need arises, doesn’t give surprises to the motor car policy owner.


Lets first understand what all situations are covered by a motor insurance policy.


For third party


It covers your legal liability towards third parties for personal injury, death and property damage from any accident involving your vehicles.


For Own Damage


Damages to your vehicle due to the following perils are usually covered under Own Damage section of the Motor Insurance policy:


  1. Fire, Explosion, Self- Ignition, Lightning
  2. Burglary/Housebreaking / Theft
  3. Riot & Strike
  4. Earthquake
  5. Flood, Storm, Cyclone, Hurricane, tempest, inundation, hailstorm, frost
  6. Accidental external means
  7. Malicious Act
  8. Terrorism acts
  9. While in Transit by Rail/ Road, Inland waterways, Lift, Elevator or Air
  10. Land slide / Rock slide


Few contingencies excluded by Motor Insurance:


  • Driver not having  a valid Driving License
  • Vehicle being driven under Influence of intoxicating liquor/ drugs
  • Motor accident taking place beyond Geographical limits
  • Vehicle being used for unlawful purposes
  • Electrical/Mechanical Breakdowns.


How do I go about claiming my car insurance –


Now here lays the catch.


Till few years ago, the middle men, garage owners, service centers had the key to the amount and method of claiming while it being a big black hole for the vehicle owner. The vehicle owner had to blindly trust these entities when it came to how, when and what to claim.


And in case the expenses incurred were not approved by the insurance company, the car owner had to pay the difference, whether he agreed with the calculation was not material.


Today the motor policy owner is the king, as companies are differentiating themselves based on their service records and garnered customer testimonials.


Companies today have tie-up with garages for cashless repairs. Thus means, the moment an incident happens,all you need to do is connect with your insurer by way of


1.     Sending SMS and getting the list of garages in your locality and /or


2.     Call and register complain on their toll free and follow the suggested process.


3.     Refer to your policy,which will have a list of garages approved by the insurer and connect with the most suitable garage.


Specialty treatment given by Private companies –


Oh Did I just mention – Today, Customer is the King!


Private insurance companies have gone to the extent of providing location wise and model wise garages facilities for cashless repairs.


Eg Mr. A has a Honda civic when gets into an accident at a busy junction in Mumbai. He can go to the site of the insurer and choose the following -


 Maharashtra,Mumbai and model Honda base on which the site will promptly display the list of garages which cater to his car brand


One more important concern voiced by the customers in the event of an accident.


Who picks my car from the accident spot?


All it will take you is to call the garage/ insurance service centers and get the car picked, if it cannot move, or take it to the nearest authorised service center.


Many private insurance companies today provide value adds to ease out the hassled customers worries.This is quite prevalent in case of customised motor insurance products provided by insurance companies to manufacturers of cars. These companies provide these customised products to customers through their authorised dealers.


How much of the damage will be covered by policy


Third party


Ina third party claim, where your vehicle is involved, it is important to ensure that the accident is reported immediately to the police as well as to the insurance company.


Own damage


 In  the event of an own damage claim, that is,where your own vehicle is damaged due to an accident, you must immediately inform insurance company and police, wherever required, to enable them to depute a surveyor to assess the loss.


Theft claim


If your vehicle is stolen, you must inform the police and the insurance company immediately. In addition you must keep the transport department also informed.


Rental car


If it is a rented car, immediately inform the rental agency. They will take care of the insurance claim. You will have to co-pay for some part of the claim and run-around for a few days to complete procedure


Details to be provided in case of accident intimation


  • Your Contact number
  • Policy number / Cover note no. or Vehicle no., Chassis no and Engine no.
  • Date & Time of loss
  • Loss location
  • Nature & extent of loss
  • Nature of injury if any


Documents I have to provide during claims submission-


In case of claims submission, the insurance company will ask for a set of documents that will include


  1. Copy of the Insurance Policy
  2. First Information Report or FIR
  3. Properly filled up Claim Form
  4. Vehicle Registration Copy
  5. Driving License Copy
  6. Original Estimate of Repairs and Bills
  7. The Medical Receipts
  8. Original Police Certificate of No-Trace Report (theft cases only)
  9. Signed RTO transfer papers (theft cases only)


Will I get a courtesy car?


Depends on the policy of the insurance company and the features provided in your motor policy.


Usually, companies provide cash benefit for conveyance or fixed sum towards hiring transport in case the vehicle has gone for repair.


 When should you not go for claims?


There is one more important aspect of a insurance policy called NCB. I will explain the concept in another article of this series.


When u realise that the damage you will claim is about the same amount as NCB , it is practical to not go for claiming damage from insurance company.


End of the day - Drive Safe, Be Safe.

 

Car Insurance is much more than just a mandatory rule
08-Nov-2016    16:51
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast. 


It forms a small yet crucial peripheral cog in the financial investment circle called financial planning.


Let me explain it in detail. First lets figure out what forms the core of a motor policy.

The mandatory motor insurance cover also called as third party insurance is a  legal commitment to pay, a third party, for bodily injury or property damage caused by your vehicle.

Now here lies the hidden benefit - 

Auto insurance also provides for property, liability and medical coverage:

How does it work? Let’s go in detail

Auto insurance protects you against financial loss in case of an accident. It is an  insurance contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay for your losses as defined in your policy.

Further it also provides for property, liability and medical coverage:

  • Property coverage for damage to or theft of your car.
  • Liability coverage for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
  • Medical coverage for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.

This leads us to the question of types of motor insurance products available in the market.

Broadly, there are two types of insurances policies that offer motor insurance cover:

1.    Liability Only Policy also called as third party insurance or Statutory insurance -Coverage is as per requirements of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Compulsory Personal accident cover for owner-driver is also included.

2.    Package Policy is a wider insurance cover including third party liability and cover for your vehicle. It also covers other risks like Personal Accident to occupants of vehicle, Workmens Compensation to Driver, apart from the mandated cover available to him under the motor act 1988.

IDV – Insured’s declared value

There is something called insureds declared value which decides the sum assured available for own damage. It is the value arrived at based on the Manufacturers present value and depreciation based on the Age of the Vehicle.  

How long does the car insurance policy last?

In India unlike in other countries, it lasts only for a year – from midnight to midnight. And it is a cover for the car and related damage. Hence it cannot be used as a motor cover by the owner, in other geographical location, for his own self.

End of the day motor insurance is as important as any other financial product and do remember to renew your policy before the lapse date.


CHANGING FACE OF INSURANCE INDUSTRY – CUSTOMER DRIVEN, CUSTOMER FIRST
03-Nov-2016    16:40
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Today, as the insurance industry stands, two individuals with same car make model pay the same premium for their motor insurance.
This doesn’t take into consideration the usage pattern and risk profile of the individual drivers. One might be a fast driver while the other might be most cautious of the lot.

Same goes for many other insurance products which do not consider the behavioural pattern of the individual while calculating the insurance premium.

The industry is taking notice of many such discrepancies and is modifying its processes and data collection methods.  And leading the change is the technological innovations which have made it possible for historical data to be evaluated along with the current, live big data.

Means and Ways of customisation adopted by insurance companies
 
 Statistical estimations, risk management and affordable big data analysis can now incorporate very specific information about customers and insured objects.
 
Car insurers can now track usage profile, automobile locations, speed and safety, enabling them to offer discounts and value added services to customers who fall in the safe driver’s zone. This also works as an additional incentive for customers.
 
Home insurers can identify weak points in security systems and other hazards, based on the feedback received from the connected home appliances, monitoring and safety systems. This allows them to guide the home owner on the precautionary measures needed to be undertaken.

Health Insurers can monitor how frequently their customers use the gym or other fitness activities, by way of wearable devices, mobile phone apps and other such devices. This information is regularly collated by the systems at the back end.
 
 It provides an insight into the customers health chart and enable the insurance companies to provide  customised value added services like lower premiums or discounts on various products and services.

Making it Viable-
The technological innovations are enabling a  connected ecosystem which is both  feasible and viable. It is allowing companies and entities alike to collate in-depth information about insured objects, their behaviour, health and properties. The same then gets reflected in the relevant premiums.
 
The technologically driven millennial are driving the need for such innovations across products and services and the industry will just evolve in the years to come.

The Blending Technology
 Internet of things will be the catalyst in marrying the vast database of information, the insurance companies’ posses, with the real life behavioral analysis.

And the best technology won’t annoy customers with irrelevant promotions or messages. Instead, like a good friend, it will know how to engage with customers and when to leave them alone – how to truly connect with customers instead of manage them.

The Paperless Insurance Industry
26-Oct-2016    16:04
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Insurance companies, agents and brokers are experiencing a major shift in what their customers and clients have come to expect from them.

It’s the growing strength of the digital natives in the workforce, which has huge implications in terms of customer engagement and growth of businesses.
As the millennial generation garners its peak buying power, digital and more-automated ways of doing business will become a fundamental part of day-to-day workflow.

Shift towards mobile interface, cloud-based technology, social media interaction and a challenging regulatory environment will be the prevailing way of doing business.

Insurance companies, brokers and agents alike, are finally realizing the need to be more nimble, efficient and accessible in order to serve today’s customer.

They have to accelerate digitization of their workflow, making it more flexible, along with streamlining of business processes to make the cost of doing business more efficient and in-line with these regulations.

According to a Harvard Review report, insurance agents who embraced the digital practice reported a 65% cost reduction and a 90% reduction in turnaround time on key insurance processes.

Let’s look at the process of business transition to digital workflow. There are three key areas which need to be addressed in order to create automated, user-friendly processes.

1. Embracing a blend of cloud-based and on-ground infrastructure
Based on the systems and processes of the organisation a hybrid version of cloud and on-premise technology will come in force, ensuring ultimate flexibility for customers and clients.
 This can be in terms of multiple access points of application uploads for agents or app based unique account access for clients. 

2. Automating business processes
Automation will reduce the personnel based interaction between insurance entities and their clients but relationships will still need to be maintained. 
The key is to move towards a digital environment and an improved customer service by automating the first level workflows and connecting them with multiple channels on various levels. At the same time, ensure a set frequency of personal interaction between customers and their insurance agents and brokers.

3. Choosing programs and systems with customers in mind
The customer experience of seamless, intelligent process has to be the foundation of all customer interaction, right from brand awareness creation to lead generation, form filling to renewals and claims settlement.
The likes of eKYC, Adhaar and digital repositories for insurance industry have reduced the dependency on age old disconnected systems and processes.

End of the day, how smartly organisations utilize artificial intelligence, will differentiate them from their peers and provide them the much required edge.

Life changes!! These two words sum up the need for insurance.
25-Oct-2016    18:12
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Milestones and crises are similar in that they have an impact on every aspect of your life, from emotional to financial. If you’re experiencing a notable life event of any size or sort, you should consider reviewing your financial goals and investments specially insurance policies to ensure that it aligns with your current financial situation.

The whole cycle for a person to take insurance gets triggered, when they feel that they might risk their loved one being left without adequate financial support. This also includes providing adequate health cover for the loved ones.

Reasons for buying insurance

As per industry statistics , most number of insurance policies are sold when a person faces extreme emotional situations such as birth of a child, death of a person,  divorce,  extreme medical conditions of life and death which makes them realise their mortality and the feeling that maybe they need customised plans for managing their future financial responsibilities.

Even other life cycle responsibilities like marriage and support for aging parents gets covered by insurance.
Sometimes insurance is assumed to be a requirement for financial responsibilities like covering loans or a new business or for financial and tax investments.

Speaking of insurance, two policies are a must for an individual, primarily health insurance and life insurance.
A cover for you when you are alive, for all your medical expenses and a fall back for your loved ones in case you are no more, before you have provided adequately for their needs.

End of the day all human behaviour, at its root, is driven by the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. And an insurance policy helps in taking care of the assumed future gain.

Health Care for New Born Babies and Children
14-Sep-2016    16:00


Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.

Optimal Care during the foundation years, lays the path for future mental and physical health of the child. 
We have briefly listed down the most common issues and measures faced by children across the world.

New born babies
New borns are the most vulnerable of all sections of children as the risk of death is highest in the first month of life. Preterm birth, birth asphyxia and infections cause most newborn deaths.

Health risks to newborns can be minimized by:
•    Quality care during pregnancy;
•    Safe delivery by a skilled birth attendant; and
•    Strong neonatal care i.e immediate attention to breathing and warmth, hygienic cord and skin care, and early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding.
•    Over 90% of children with HIV are infected through mother-to-child transmission; this can be prevented with antiretrovirals, as well as safer delivery and feeding practices.


Children- from age 1 month to  5 years

From one month to five years of age, the main causes of death are pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and measles. Malnutrition is estimated to contribute to more than one third of all child deaths.

•    Pneumonia is the prime cause of death in children under five years of age. Major risk factors include malnutrition and indoor air pollution.
These factors need to be addressed for preventing  pneumonia, as are vaccination and breastfeeding. Antibiotics and oxygen are vital tools for effectively managing the illness.

•    Diarrhoeal diseases are a leading cause of sickness and death among children in developing countries. Breastfeeding helps prevent diarrhoea among young children.
Treatment for sick children with Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) combined with zinc supplements is safe, cost-effective, and saves lives.

•    Malaria – Across the world, every minute a child dies from malaria. Insecticide-treated nets prevent transmission and increase child survival and are also a cost effective, long term solution in combating malaria.


Other aspects which affect children are -

•    Child injuries and maltreatment
According to a WHO/UNICEF report every day more than 2000 children die from an injury which could have been prevented.
There are five most important causes of unintentional injury –
1.    Road traffic injuries,
2.    Drowning,
3.    Burns,
4.    Falls and
5.    Poisoning.

•    Passive smoking
Second hand cigarette smoke may put children at risk of lifelong cardiovascular, respiratory and other health issues. It contains a host of chemicals that can impact health by causing changes to blood flow, blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rhythm.
 
Children are especially vulnerable to second hand smoke exposure in part because they cannot control tobacco use in their surroundings

•    Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
UTIs are fairly common in children. About 2% of boys and 8% of girls will have a urinary infection during their childhood and can cause damage to the kidneys.

The urine becomes acidic and causes a burning pain when the child passes urine, and there can be pain in the lower abdomen and a feeling of needing to pass urine often.
 
It has to be treated with antibiotics or if child is too unwell then injections. In extreme cases an operation may be required.

•    Malnutrition
Malnutrition refers to imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
 
The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. One is under nutrition,which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals).

It is possible to be both overweight and micronutrient deficient.

Most common reason for Malnutrition –
Many families cannot afford or access enough nutritious foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, meat and milk, while foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt are cheaper and more readily available. This leads to unhealthy consumption pattern.

Instill good living habits
It is not what you do for your children, it is what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.

For more information connect with us on www.probusinsurance.in
Diabetes - long term management
13-Sep-2016    16:50
Critical illness and the insurance covers provided by Health Insurance companies
12-Sep-2016    12:45



Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


The threat of a serious ailment is what one fears the most. A correct diagnosis is the first priority when it comes to critical illnesses.

The financial consequences of surviving a critical illness are something few people are prepared for.


Few expenses which have to be taken into consideration while figuring out the Critical Illness cover amount -

1. While you are undergoing treatment or recovering for an extended period of time, you will still have to pay your health insurance premiums.

2. Youll pay insurance, rent or mortgage, credit card bills, school tuition, real estate taxes, food and utilities, the cash replacement for a spouses’ income, while caring for the insured.


Difference  between health policy and Critical Illness policy

1. Most health insurance policies come with deductibles and co-pays and are not sufficient to cover critical ailments.
2. Further, prescriptions are not just costly, they are rarely fully covered.

Hence, its important that you take a critical illness policy along with the health policy.

Since it is a benefit policy, CI policy will ensure that the moment you are diagnosed with a covered condition, the full benefit amount will be provided to you at one go, provided you survive the waiting period.


Additional benefits of critical illness policy-

1. Some CI policies will actually provide multiple cash payments.
Say you have cancer and survive; you get a cash payment. Three years later, you have a heart attack; another payment. But this varies from insurer to insurer, provided the insurer has renewed the policy.

2. You can also go for second opinion for the critical illness and health companies also provide for this benefit under the critical illness.


What are the critical illnesses covered by insurance companies
 
A health insurance company covers the following Critical Illnesses:
1. Cancer of specific severity
2. First Heart Attack – of Specific Severity
3. Open Chest CABG
4. Open Heart Replacement or Repair of Heart Valves
5. Coma of Specified Severity
6. Kidney Failure Requiring Regular Dialysis
7. Stroke Resulting in Permanent Symptoms
8. Major Organ / Bone Marrow Transplant
9. Permanent Paralysis of Limbs
10. Motor Neurone Disease with Permanent Symptoms
11. Multiple Sclerosis with Persisting Symptoms
12. Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
13. Aorta Graft Surgery
14. Loss of Hearing
15. Loss of Sight
16. Coronary Artery Disease
17. Aplastic Anaemia
18. End Stage Lung Disease
19. End Stage Liver Failure
20. Major Burns
21. Fulminant Hepatitis
22. Alzheimer’s Disease
23. Bacterial Meningitis
24. Benign Brain Tumor
25. Apallic Syndrome
26. Parkinsons Disease
27. Medullary Cystic Disease
28. Muscular Dystrophy
29. Loss of Speech
30. Systemic Lupus Erythematous


Benefit Payment options provided by companies today

1. Monthly payment - On occurrence of a Critical Illness, 25% of the sum insured will be paid as lump sum. The remaining 75% and additional 10% of sum insured will be paid in 60 equated monthly installments.

2. One time payment - You also have the flexibility to opt for a lump sum payout at the time of claim settlement, if you so desire.
Payment under CI are tax free payments .

End of the day, ensure that you and your loved ones have a healthy life, which is the most beneficial and happy way of living.
for more information kindly connect with us on www.probusinsurance.in


Home insurance: Protect your dream house
10-Sep-2016    14:11
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Home Sweet Home! The fulfilling of a dream with your life time savings.

So when it comes to protecting your home, it’s not just about safeguarding against structural damage or theft. Your home can be shattered in a moment with the advent of any natural calamity or man-made factors.

The cost of rebuilding a house or buying a new place would invite huge investment. The right home insurance policy will ensure that  you don’t end up using the funds you would have kept for your later age in rebuilding your dream home . 

Example- A house destroyed by an earthquake can be rebuilt by setting aside about Rs 6-12 a day. Thats the cost of buying home insurance, which most people consider as an unnecessary expense.

Your home insurance usually covers what it would cost to rebuild your home after such a disaster.
 
What is covered in a Home Insurance Policy?
A Home insurance policy gives you the option to buy insurance for
1.    The building (structure) of your home and/or
2.    The content (belongings) of your home.
3.    It also provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt on your property and decides to sue you.
4.    Homeowners insurance also covers shelter costs, so you don’t have to face crazy hotel bills.
5.    If you injure someone, the third person is hurt on your property, or you damage someone’s property which is adjoining your home, then home insurance may cover the legal expenses and medical bills.
6.    Many mortgage companies insist on home insurance cover equal to or more then the loan amount, when they approve home loans.

What is not covered
A standard policy has exclusions including earth movements (landslides, earthquakes, and sinkholes), power failure, war, nuclear hazard, government action, faulty zoning, bad repair or workmanship, defective maintenance and flooding.

Windstorms are typically covered, including tornadoes, although insurance companies exclude tornadoes or hurricanes in some high-risk areas.

Home insurance does not cover floods, earthquakes or acts of war. You can purchase flood insurance or earthquake insurance separately.

Looking for your own home insurance company will ensure you get the one with the lowest rates.
May the road rise up to meet you, and may you always be properly insured.


Travel Insurance - Few important aspects
06-Sep-2016    19:09


Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Travel insurance is much more than just medical protection. When planning a trip, nobody wants to think about what might go wrong, but the reality is that things can go wrong even with the most meticulously prepared trips. The plans  cover  you when your flight is cancelled; luggage is lost; or  when injuries occur. It’s all-purpose emergency coverage and is the single most important thing you should get but hope to never have to use.
Do you have a plan for those less-than-perfect vacation moments?
To make sure your vacation isn’t completely derailed in case something does come up, you may want to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy. It’s a quick and inexpensive way to protect your family and finances, so that you can enjoy your travel in a  worry-free manner.

Travel Insurance  Advice
When you start looking for a plan,  make sure there is a high coverage limit for medical expenses as a basic requirement. Second, make sure your policy also covers emergency evacuation and care that is separate from your medical coverage. Additionally, evacuation also should mean from the hospital to your home country.
A great policy will always include the following provisions:
•    Medical coverage
•    Emergency evacuation/repatriation of remains
•    Accidental death and dismemberment coverage
•    Last-minute trip cancellation
o    due to illness, inclement weather, etc.
•    Delayed or lost baggage insurance
o    including reimbursement for the replacement of essentials
•    Flight delay/cancellation insurance
o    If your travel plans are delayed for several hours, the insurance company will cover hotel accommodations and meals while you wait, and make new travel arrangements on your behalf)
•    Trip interruption coverage
o    If inclement weather, illness, or injury cuts your trip short, you’ll be reimbursed for the unused portion of your trip
•    Replacement of travel documents, belongings and money that is lost or stolen.
•    Legal assistance.
•    24-hour concierge service
o    to help you find medical care, change travel plans, etc.


Do You Need It?

This type of insurance may seem like an extra until you consider the problems that could arise while you’re traveling. Consider these examples:

Problems that Can Come Up    Why You Need Travel Insurance
Your son comes down with a flu, the day before you’re scheduled to depart on your family vacation    When you cancel the trip, get back the non-refundable cost of the  trip
Injured while on a trek and can’t get the care that you need.    Help  arranging medical evacuation and related expenses
You hurt your back while out site-seeing in a non English speaking country    Help locating an English-speaking doctor
Your wallet and passport get stolen    Emergency money and help replacing your passport and credit cards
A hurricane forces an evacuation of the beach you’re staying at.    Need a refund for the unused portion of your trip, and help making travel arrangements.
Your luggage is lost along with your prescription medication     Help locating your luggage and help getting your prescription filled quickly
   
   
 
Making a claim
1.    Remember to take your travel insurance policy number and emergency contact telephone number with you when you travel.
2.    If a problem happens while you are away on a trip, keep receipts for everything you need to buy, to support your claim.
3.    If possible, get your insurer to agree to medical treatment before its carried out.

Rains and Skin Care
13-Jul-2016    19:42
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Skin is the largest organ of the body and at the same time most prone to the vagaries of the environment. it is also the most exposed , when it comes to the environment and the effects it has on the skin. Be it dry - hot climate or rains -the skin has to constantly adjust in terms of the sweat and temperature it has to manage.
 
Rains
Rainy season brings its own set of skin and scalp issue due to high level of humidity and allergens in the atmosphere.

Dry Skin -The skin should be dried immediately and not kept wet for long , as this attracts viral infection and fungus.

Water intake -As perspiration leads to a loss of salts and water, this loss of electrolytes should be suitably compensated as it can otherwise cause dryness of the skin.
keeping the skin dry and proper water intake work as basic health insurance and Life Insurance for the skin.

Infections and allergies in Rains

In rains due to the humidity in the air, one sweats a lot and at the same time the sweat does not get evaporated completely and stays on the skin for longer time. This leads to allergies , rashes, fungal infections.

Infections
Infact one of the main concerns in rainy season is our tendency to develop fungal infections in our body folds . This is mainly due to wet clothes and shoes. The danger-prone areas are the armpits, groin and the area between our toes.

A number of skin diseases like tinea or the ringworm and whitish fur like growth in the fingers and toes are the result of such fungal infections and are quite common in this weather.

After bathing, apply anti-fungal powder like Clotrimazole on your feet and body folds which remain most prone to moisture.

Allergies
The presence of a lot of allergens in the air at this time gives rise to allergies. These allergens may be in the form of moulds or pollens or dander or flowers or some insects

When feeling itchy
Avoid scratching the skin and if unavoidable, should use the flat area of the palm and not the nails as when you use nails, the top most layer - epidermis gets damaged and thus leads to entry of bacteria in the skin.
 
Sweat and rains
As mentioned earlier, sweat which stays on the body leads to lot of skin issues. Hence one should wash the face to remove the dirt and sweat whenever possible.
The most common areas prone to this sweat are the folds of the skin like the neck, armpits, elbow region, the back portion of the knees and the inner thigh region.

Few basic rules to follow in skin care
•    Avoid scratching the skin. If one feels some itching, one should use the flat area of the palm and not the nails.
•    Allergy prone people should try to remain indoors and avoid exposure to allergens.
•    Personal hygiene is quite important. Wash your hands and feet properly with a soap and try to keep the area dry.
•    Any cuts or wounds should be disinfected properly and kept covered.
•    Air conditioners are effective at controlling humidity and also reduce sweating.

Different types of skin react to this problem differently.
Skin can either become very dry and prone to acne or it can become very oily and attract dirt and pollutants.

Those with acne-prone skins should opt for a water-based moisturiser. If our skin is dry yet pimple-free, then an oil-based moisturiser is better suited.
The facial skin is very delicate so rubbing it with a towel can cause hyper-pigmentation. Gently pat it dry.
A baby’s skin is very sensitive and reacts instantly to monsoon climate, allergies and infections
Dont overdress your baby. Loose fitting, light cotton clothes are the best. If it gets cold, then a light jacket with some pants or leggings should be just enough to keep him warm. Keep a thin blanket handy.


for more information on health insurance please visit our site http://bit.ly/probusinshealth

FRUITS AND THE HARMONY OF BODY
06-Jul-2016    19:05
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.









Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.


Being a fruitarian


If it contains a seed within, it’s a fruit!
Fruit has been recognized as a good source of vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber and for their role in preventing vitamin C and vitamin A deficiencies. Further, they are instrumental in maintaining a net alkaline-yielding diet.

 A large part of fruits consists of water just like the human body does. People who eat fruit as part of an overall healthy diet generally have a reduced risk of chronic diseases as they are not only bad-cholesterol free, they also have healing property and makes one feel healthy and charged.

Vitamins and minerals provided by daily consumption of fruits of all variety

The nutrients and vitamins in fruit are vital for health and maintenance of your body.
The potassium in fruit can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Potassium may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss as you age.
Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate. Folate helps prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida
Fruit helps maintain optimum health due to the health promoting phytochemicals it contains.
Vitamin C and Vitamin A are important for growth and repair of all body tissues, healing cuts and wounds, and also keep teeth, eyes  and gums healthy.

Lets look at few crucial and important fruits and vegetables for their effect and benefit

Carrots

The shape of a sliced carrot resembles a human eye, right down to the shape and pattern of the iris. Infact, the betacarotene which gives carrot its orange colour reduces the risk of developing cataracts. The chemical also protects eyes against macular degeneration, an age related sight problem that affects one in every four persons over 65 years of age .

Walnut
Walnut resembles the shape of  our brain. It contains significant amounts of omega -3 fatty acids which helps reverse brain ageing and delay Alzheimer’s and dementia. It also helps in developing new links between the brain cells.

Tomato
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a plant chemical that reduces the risk of heart ailments and cancer. It specially benefits women in their protection from cancer.  lycopene also helps counter the effect of unhealthy LDL cholesterol and coronary heart disease

Grapes
Grapes seeds contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which reduces the severity of asthma. Our lungs have many airway branches which end into very fine tissue bunches called alveoli. These alveoli help in realising oxygen from the lungs to the blood stream. A diet high in fresh fruit, such as grapes, has been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema.

Banana
It contains a protein called tryptophan which is converted into a serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Serotonin is one of the most important mood regulating chemicals in the brain and most anti depressant drugs work be adjusting the levels of serotonin production. It helps in keeping a cheerful outlook.

Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits have vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, potassium, flavonoids and many other phytonutrients.
These antioxidants neutralize free radicals and also protect against heart disease. They also improve blood flow through coronary arteries, reduce the ability of arteries to form blood clots and prevent the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which is an initial step in the formation of artery plaques.
They fruits are also a good sources of folate and thiamin. Folate is necessary for cell division and DNA synthesis. Thiamin is a B vitamin important in metabolism.
Vitamin C is also required for the synthesis of collagen, which helps heal wounds and helps hold blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bone together.
Mangoes
These seasonal fruits abundantly available in India are excellent source of vitamin A and C, which is very beneficial in  maintaining a strong immune system. They protect the body against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers and is a good source of potassium, which is important in assisting to control heart rate and blood pressure. They also contain great deal of flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Apples
Apples  help to prevent certain types of cancers as it reduces free radicals. Quercetin, an antioxidant abundant in apples, helps reduce LDL/bad cholesterol oxidation. Apples are rich in a soluble fiber called pectin.  Pectin may help to reduce levels of toxic heavy metals in the body.

Melons
Super High percentage of water content makes them a perfect cooling and hydrating agent. It also controls the blood pressure , strengthen the eyes , support weight loss , control diabetes, eases menstrual cramps and rejuvenates the lungs.
Reduces the risk of cancer and stroke, due to a naturally occurring chemical called adenosine.

Berries
Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give the  blue/purple color to the berries and also  inhibit free radicals from damaging cells in the body.
They contain pectin, vitamin C, potassium, and significant amounts of tannins which can kill bacteria. Manganese, which contributes to healthy bones as well as in converting macronutrients to energy, is amply found in berries. They help heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. 
Rich in flavonoids, consuming these little berries is associated with a decreased risk of type-2 diabetes. They also protect the body against cardiovascular diseases (including stroke) as well as neurodegenerative disorders of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It is also known to improve learning and memory.

Beets
Beets help oxygenate blood and enhance exercise performance. Beets are a good source of folic acid, and also contain vitamins A, C, choline, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, and fiber. The beet greens have even more iron than spinach.

Dehydrated fruits
Dehydrated foods acts like a sponge, once inside the body. This is because they absorb the water around them so that they can be digested and utilized by the body. This dehydrates the cells of the body and in this process we suffer from greater thirst.  Hence it is important to consume a lot more water during the consumption of dehydrated foods.

Sugar derived from the fruits
Sugar coming from fruit should never been clumped into the same category as refined white sugar for the body reacts to natural fruit sugars in a completely different manner than refined sugars.
Refined sugar is harmful and addictive just as table salt and sea salt is considered an irritant to the body. Any form of extracted salt becomes sodium chloride, which “stimulates our taste buds, deadening them to the subtler tastes of natural foods, inhibits digestion, and causes disruption of our natural water balance.

Most nutritious fruits
The nutrients we need to be healthy and happy can be found in the soil. Fruit trees dig their roots deep within the earth and pull up rich inorganic nutrients high in enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The tree turns these inorganic and indigestible nutrients into organically formed nutrients in the form of fruits which our body can then utilize directly without any processing.
Organically grown fruits have the highest source of vitamins on the planet. They have every essential vitamin and provide the perfect ratios of each. If the soil is mineral rich, then the fruit too will be full of minerals.

By the way 
The best tasting and therefore most nutritious fruits will always be organic, tree ripened in full sunlight and grown in mineral rich soil. Because organic fruits and vegetables contain the highest amounts of vitamins and minerals, there is no need to supplement with a multi-vitamin or anything alike.
A regular intake of fruits helps in maintaining mental and physical health , thus reducing the risk of critical diseases. Though an optimal coverage of health insurance and Life insurance plays a vital role in living a stress free life.




Critical Illnesses in a Woman’s Life
14-Jun-2016    19:46
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.



Due to rise in a womans age span and the natural multitasking trait they have , women are facing many critical illnesses . To top it all,  nutritional deficiency, lack of exercise, increase in stress levels further aggrevates and prolongs the recovery process.
Women fall ill more often with diseases that are not life-threatening while men have a higher mortality rate because they experience higher incidence of severe illnesses and also indulge in risky behaviour.

Critical Illnesses faced by  women
 
1. Heart disease

Women suffer from a condition called small vessel heart disease or microvascular disease. The main triggers for the condition are mental stress and depression.

Factors which add on to this heart condition are -
  1. Diabetes, Metabolic syndrome (a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides)
  2. Smoking , lack of physical activity, Low levels of estrogen after menopause,
  3. Pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  5. People with a high level of education who complain about memory lapses have a higher risk for stroke.

Symptoms of heart ailment in women
  1. Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
  2. Sweating, Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
  3. Lightheadedness or sudden  weakness.
  4. A fast or irregular heart beat
  5. Women are somewhat more likely than men to have symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain.

Ways to reduce risk of heart attack -
  1. You are your most important priority. Have realistic expectations from your own self.
  2. Focus on today and do all that brings you to a calm and happy zone.
  3. Get moving, lose weight and exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.
  4. Join a support group beyond your immediate people who love and care for you.
  5. Eat a diet thats healthy , low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt

2. Breast Cancer

The first sign of breast cancer often is a breast lump or an abnormal mammogram and it commonly starts with a ductal carcinoma . Breast cancer can also begin in the cells of the lobules and in other tissues in the breast. The stages range from early, curable breast cancer to metastatic breast cancer, with a variety of breast cancer treatments.

Few Things Women Should Know About Breast Cancer –
1.    You are never too young for developing breast cancer
2.    Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in young women aged 15 to 34.
3.    If you know how your breasts “should” feel, you’ll know when there’s a significant change that means you should call your doctor.
4.    Choose the right health care giver –doctor -  you should go for a treatment which is comfortable for you and includes newer approaches to cancer treatment such as genetics, neoadjuvant combination chemo therapy  before surgery, and looking at molecular markers of your tumor to figure out your individual risk.
5.    Research and learn your options – information about stage and grade of cancer, informative articles from online sources
6.    Breast cancer at any age – 20s , 30s , 40s , can be lonely . connect with other women with breast cancer , through your doctor or online as this can be a big support group .

Ways to prevent and manage breast cancer –

1.    Adolescence- Fibre intake in adolescence is linked to reduced breast cancer risk at later stage.  Fruits and veggies are high in fibre carotene.
2.    Eating a lot of plants is also known to affect our gut microbes, the composition of which can affect our physical–and mental–health in a number of ways, plant-based antioxidants are known to reduce and repair cellular damage.
3.    Stress reduction- There is very high efficacy in mindfulness-based stress reduction MBSR, in the treatment of sleep disturbance in women with breast cancer.

3. Osteoporosis
Bones are made up of collagen, a protein that provides the basic framework, and calcium phosphate, a mineral that hardens the bone.
Osteoporosis means "porous bones." A womans’ bones are strongest at about age 30, and then begin to lose density.
 A women doesn’t realise the intensity of osteoporosis till she has
  1. A fracture or an obvious change in posture.
  2. Back pain, caused by changes in the vertebrae, may be the first sign of the onset of Osteoporosis
.
Types of fractures due to Osteoporosis –
  1. Spinal compression fractures where tiny fractures can cause the vertebrae to collapse and alter the shape of the spine.
  2. Hip fractures which  can cause lasting mobility problems and even increase the risk of death
  3. Wrist, pelvic, and other fractures.

Reason for osteoporosis
  1. Greatest change in a womans bone density comes in the five to seven years after menopause as they lose more bone then is rebuilt.
  2. Some conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and hormonal disorders are also linked to bone loss.
  3. Women who are thin and have a small frame are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
  4. Smoking, an inactive lifestyle, and a diet low in calcium and vitamin D place you at greater risk for osteoporosis.
  5. Excess drinking is linked to bone loss and a risk of fractures. Corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat asthma and other conditions, increase your risk of bone loss.
  6. Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa or bulimia) can also take a toll on bone health.

Some manageable aspects

1. Testing -
Timely testing like : DXA Bone Density Scan which provides your T-Score
Testing compares your bone mineral density (BMD) with that of a healthy 30-year-old, since thats when bone mass is at its peak. The results come as a T-score in these ranges:
•    -1.0 and higher is normal bone density
•    Between -1.0  and -2.5 shows low bone density (osteopenia) but not osteoporosis
•    -2.5 or below indicates osteoporosis
•    As your bone density decreases, your T-score gets lower.

2. Treatment:
Bone-Boosting Drugs-
  1. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, you may be prescribed a biophosphonate
  2. They can reduce bone loss and fracture risk and may actually help build some bone density. Those taken by mouth can cause gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers in the esophagus, acid reflux, and nausea.
  3. Injectable bisphosphonates, given one to four times a year, can cause brief flu-like symptoms.
  4. Bisphosphonates may increase risk of jaw bone destruction and atypical femur fractures.

4. Autoimmune diseases
Something causes your immune system to mistake your own cells, tissues, or organs as the bad guys. So it fights them.

Rheumatoid Arthritis as a autoimmune disease–
With RA it attacks your joints and their lining, called synovium. Many things work together to raise your risk, like your genes, environment, and lifestyle choices, stress.

Hormones also probably play a role, since autoimmune diseases are much more common in women than in men.

5.Bladder Health for Women
Bladder control problems affect 15-20 million people — and 85% of them are women, of all ages. Many of the most common bladder disorders fall into three main categories:

1.    Urinary tract infections (UTIs),
2.    Incontinence (loss of bladder control), and
3.    Interstitial cystitis (IC), or painful bladder syndrome.

  1. Urinary tract infection (UTI) - is an infection which  most often begins  in the urethra and moves up the urinary tract to the kidneys.
  2. Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) - Certain foods and drinks like caffeine , chocolate, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods  and carbonated drinks tend to irritate the bladder, which may contribute to how often you urinate and affect your overall bladder health.
  3.  During pregnancy and following childbirth, there are a number of factors that often cause women to experience bladder control problems and urine leaks.
Ways to manage bladder health -

1.    Kegel exercises –
 Many women who suffer from stress incontinence, or loss of bladder control when you cough, sneeze, laugh or lift heavy objects, are told to do Kegel exercises.

These exercises are designed to help you strengthen the muscles controlling the bladder opening and can be effective in improving symptoms.

Interstitial cystitis -
There is no scientific evidence linking diet to IC, but some doctors and patients believe that alcohol, tomatoes, spices, chocolate, caffeinated and citrus beverages, and high-acid foods may contribute to bladder irritation and inflammation.

Some patients also notice a worsening of symptoms after eating or drinking products containing artificial sweeteners.

Conclusion -
As a multi tasking woman you need to take care of your physical, mental and spiritual being.
Schedule your checkups at a military precision level, be regular with your omega – 3 supplements, preferably in natural form like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds. And most important, be always in a positive thinking mode.

Women and Depression
17-May-2016    12:45


Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.






Everyday stress, depression, changes in sleep, eating disorders, etc., all impact your emotional and physical health. Everyone has an exquisite nervous system that responds uniquely to internal and external environmental factors. These responses are expressed in feelings and behaviour.
Women are more prone to Post traumatic stress disorder and this can show in terms of signs of  Alcohol and drug abuse,  Depression, Suicide, Anger and fear, Grief, Panic attacks, sleep disorders, Physical health problems.
This is because they keep everyone else in the family first than themselves. It’s important have regular interaction with a doctor , who can answer all your health related questions and guide you on precautionary measures based on you and your family history.
As per recent research reports, men suffer when their wives die as they rely more heavily on their spouses, whereas women appeared to get healthier as they no longer had to go through the stress and restrictions of married life.

Listed down are few of the prominent reasons for depression in women -

1.    Emotional and physical abuse -
Women endure Physical, sexual, economic, emotional, psychological, and cultural and identity abuse
The most common being intimate partner violence  also known as domestic violence. IPV is when a current or former partner or spouse uses physical, sexual, or psychological  behaviours or threats that can make you feel scared, controlled, or intimidated. A relationship in which IPV occurs is an abusive relationship.
IPV could include any of the following:

•    Physical violence including  hitting, pushing, choking, shaking, slapping ,
•    Sexual violence or Threats of physical or sexual abuse – words, looks or gestures to control or frighten , attempted or actual sexual contact
•    Psychological or emotional abuse – humiliating, putting down, isolating, threatening
•    Stalking – following, harassing, or unwanted contact that makes you feel afraid
What are some signs of an abusive relationship?
A relationship with IPV can be overwhelming and confusing. Sometimes it can be hard to know if you have experienced IPV. The following indicators are  some examples of IPV in a relationship where a partner
•    Controls  all of the family income and budget  and your work
•    Keeps you away from friends and family and  questions/ threatens you about  what you do, where you go.
•    Puts  you down, or make you feel guilty or ashamed for all not so good aspects of his life.
•    Makes / carry out threats to hurt you or your feelings / or those of someone you love or threaten to ruin your reputation/ take your children away
•    Scares  you by breaking or destroying objects, or punching holes in walls
If you think you are going through majority of the above mentioned aspects in life then you should immediately contact a health provide , counselor.

2.    Pregnancy and Mental Health
Depression is a common problem during and after pregnancy. When you are pregnant or after you have a baby, you may be depressed and not know it. 1 out of 10 women experienced frequent postpartum depressive symptoms and it can stretch for years if not treated.
Symptoms of pre and post pregnancy related depression include:
•    Crying a lot, having no energy or motivation
•    Eating and sleeping too little or too much
•    Having memory problems and trouble focusing or making decisions
•    Feeling worthless and guilty, having suicidal thoughts.
•    Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
•    Withdrawing from friends and family
•    Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that dont go away

Certain factors may increase your risk of depression during and after pregnancy:
•    A personal history / family history  of depression or another mental illness
•    A lack of support from family and friends
•    Anxiety or negative feelings about the pregnancy
•    Problems with a previous pregnancy or birth
•    Marriage or money problems
•    Stressful life events and Young age
•    Substance abuse
Your doctor can figure out if your symptoms are caused by depression or something else.

3.    Premenstrual problems
For some women, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), symptoms are severe enough to disrupt their lives. Symptoms like  severe depression which starts in the week or two before the menstrual period begins and ends within a few days after the period starts,  may indicate an extreme form of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
In fact hormone fluctuations related to the reproductive cycle can have a profound influence on a woman’s mood.  Women should always look for connections between the depressive symptoms and reproductive cycle.

Managing depression

•    Share your feelings with someone you trust, preferably face-to-face. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. If you don’t feel that you have anyone to confide in, look towards  building new friendships by  joining a support group

•    Indulge in social activities-  When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell and not connect with anyone. But we humans are wired to be social. Focusing on others, when you connect with them, can move you off a preoccupation with self-defeating thoughts. Dedicating time to a meaningful activity improves mood, reduces stress, and keeps you mentally sharp.

•    Meditate- Meditating produces brain changes that promote positive emotions and reduce negative emotions such as fear and anger. It can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.

•    Exercise -  Studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Exercise helps the body produce serotonin which affects mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function.

•    Sleep well - Aim for 8 hours of sleep as depression typically involves sleep problems. In fact several sleep disorders like nightmares, insomnia, sleep apnoea and periodic limb movements—are highly prevalent in PTSD
 
•     Dietary modifications  – Cutting back on salt, fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol helps in reducing symptoms. Eating plenty of complex carbohydrates is also recommended.

•    Nutritional supplements – Vitamin B-6, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and tryptophan have all been shown to benefit women suffering from PMDD.
Serotonin is one of the most important chemical found in human body. It carries signals along and between nerves - a neurotransmitter. It is mainly found in the brain, bowels and blood platelets. Its levels are influenced by external factors, such as sunlight, diet and exercise.

Conclusion – Every moment is a new start of life . The present is what we live in. Dream about future but focus on work at hand today. Gradually and slowly you will realise  how our body and mind starts taking care of itself.


Elderly Care and Health requirements
30-Apr-2016    15:52
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.



 

What do the current statistics suggest
In India the elderly is divided into three categories: the young old (60-70) the middle-aged old (70-80) and the oldest old (80 plus).
And by 2050 these three categories of  elderly will together constitute one fifth of the total population. The increasing population of the elderly is a development concern that warrants priority attention for economic and social policies to become senior citizen-friendly, the report said.
The very old in the age band of 80- plus are prone to  ailments like Dementia, Sundowner’s Syndrome, Alzheimer’s , Parkinson which don’t need hospitalisation but advanced care and monitoring at home

What do the independent reports say -
A helpage india report  revealed that among the elderly, the greatest expectation from the state is that of free medical treatment followed by healthcare.A recent report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) shows India has no long-term care workers for people who are 65 years and older.

Options available with the elderly

Be financial independent along with adequate health cover / have pension annuity along with assisted care at home .

Assisted living in communities which have similar profile and age. people living in close community with supporting facilities and recreational and medical support.

Financial and health products available for elderly

1.    Insurance Cover / pension for elderly .
The needs of the old are diverse but the focus is on income and health because these are areas that insurance can address. An essential insurance to guarantee old age income is immediate annuity or pension. In this, a person makes one payment in return for a lifetime of assured income. In India, the immediate annuity earns a mere 9% interest and that too the income is taxed and most of the time the principal is not returned to the nominee ..
In the US, a comparable annuity pays 5-6% per year, which is about five times the fixed deposit rate as it boils down to pure economics. Insurers aggressively sell annuities because it counterbalances insurance risk. The risk of dying early in insurance is hedged by the risk of living too long in annuities.

2.    Reverse mortgage of house
 To get the reverse mortgage product right requires real estate, insurance and banks to work together. It is an effort worth making. But in India the system doesn’t work as all these 3 parties should work in tandem ..

3.    Health Cover
The most common chronic diseases for elderly are related to the heart, urinary tract, diabetes, hypertension, joints and ulcers; broadly in that order. Treatment for most of these is home-based and not hospitalization. So, regular health insurance does not cover these situations. One idea is to mandate a portion of pension to be used for health insurance. Insurers should consider introducing long-term care insurance that pay for nursing care and assistance.

Health covers for senior citizens offered by Insurance companies –
 Some insurance companies have designed policies to cater to the needs of senior citizens. These policies typically cover both hospitalisation and domiciliary hospitalisation (critical ailments wherein the patient is bedridden but not hospitalised for certain reasons). Some insurers offer policies renewable up to the age of 75 years, provided the insured had bought the policy before the age of 55. The longer period for which a senior citizen cover lasts, the better it is.

Community Living for Elderly

These resident-created retirement solutions, or intentional communities, are taking different forms, from shared homes to cohousing communities to “pocket neighborhoods” of people who choose to live in the same area and watch out for each other, which includes cooking and doing errands together and taking care of neighbours when they are sick .

Conclusion -
An ageing population tends to have a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, physical disabilities and  mental illnesses.
The health needs and health related problems of elderly people cannot be viewed in isolation. A wide gamut of determinants such as
1.    Poor knowledge and awareness about the risk factors;
2.    Food and nutritional requirements; psycho-emotional concerns (viz. isolation, mental stress, difficulty in keeping themselves occupied);
3.    Financial constraints ( definite reduction in income upon retirement, to the extent that it may interfere with bare needs of life as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter);
4.    Health-care system factors and physical correlates determine the medical problems and thus cast a significant impact on the quality-of-life of the elderly.

Few of the Assisted living –Day Care  and Geriatic care centres in India
http://www.epocheldercare.com/#about
http://www.geriatricindia.com/
http://www.vardaan.net/about-scf.php
http://www.dignityfoundation.com/Dignity-Dementia-Day-Care.aspx
http://www.tribecacare.com/services/elder-care.html



Internet of things and health care management - Technology innovations and convenience for customers
20-Apr-2016    16:35
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.



insurance providers have always tried to figure out how to reward customers who take proper care of their health and hence less likely to put a claim, versus those who are prone to not managing health and hence at high medical risk.

Managing health care is like SIP -  Your health data has to be constantly monitored and updated for guided modifications. Similarly a continuous effort towards healthy eating and living adds to overall improvement in health stats.

Joint effort -Going forward, the future of health care will be a joint effort of health insurance companies, health care providers and health policy holders. There will be live health and lifestyle information gathering and sharing by way of digital and mobile health technologies also called internet of things.
 
Gadgets and Apps - Sensors, smartphone attachments and sophisticated mobile applications have started replacing the traditional basic checkup methods, tracking everything from heart rate and calories burned to sleep patterns and food intake.
Self-tracking devices like fitness tracking wearable bands and trackers like  Basis, BodyMedia, Fitbit, iHealth, Jawbone, Nike etc  make individuals more receptive to behavioural nudges like work out alarms and calories charts .
 Diabetes management - People with diabetes who used pedometers and apps -- to record their exercise , eating and sleeping way -- had better long-term  blood sugar control.

In future, the IoT  will evaluate health and medical data on various levels -
Local Sensing:  At this local level of the IoT, the activity tracker is typically connected to one or a few other devices (smartphone or laptop) for simple actions and data gathering.
Integration: Health activity trackers increasingly supply data not just to you, but to your social network, your physician, your hospital, and your health insurance company and this forms the integration layer.
Analytics of things:  Technologies such as complex event processing and event stream processing bring the data to the analysis capability, where they are processed in real time, and results are sent back where they are needed.
Cognitive action: Mechanisms of cognitive action focus on driving change—taking action based on the results of analyzed sensor data. For instance, the reminder from your fitness tracker to complete your targets nudges action.

These technologies will play a major role in binding these three stake holders and addressing the health care needs of individuals and providing huge cost savings to all.




Travel safe and informed
09-Apr-2016    16:34
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.



Travelling has many aspects to it. It starts from deciding on the location to the type of travel – back packing or organised , to safety tips and handy apps for the traveller on the go.

Few pointers while traveling-

Travel practical tips
1.Keep handy all the contact numbers of emergency services at your destination. Same goes for  the embassy numbers of your country which should be at finger tips.
2.Always keep your first aid box with you in your back pack. also carry enough stock of your prescribed medications, so that you don’t end up with health conditions due to non availability of your regular medicines.
3.With globalisation , travel luggage is no longer unique to a person. Every 2nd person has the same shape and size of luggage.  So to differentiate yours from the rest,  always tie a ribbon , unique tag or write on your luggage to make it stand out and  you don’t end up spending  time at the luggage counter figuring it out .

Travel insurance
Travel insurance is a must when you travel , specially on foreign trips. Some countries insist on travel insurance while some don’t .  But its important to know the value of the insurance facility.
Important reasons –

1.    Medical exigencies
While travelling aboard , one cannot rule out medical emergencies . Be it accident , or sudden health ailment .  these may require simple outpatient treatment or can range upto hospitalisation and surgery . these can cost a life time’s savings if not planned by way of travel cover .

2.     Emergencies can also include being stranded at an airport due to bad weather conditions and having to spend on food and stay till you get another flight out. You might also find that the airline has lost your luggage and without insurance, you never know when you’ll get it back.

3.    Its very economical as the cost of insurance is very negligible when compared to the benefit, comfort and peace of mind it provides .  It’s also easier to buy travel insurance online, which can be done even at the last moment before leaving for the trip.

Technical advancement in travel-
Today technical advancement has made it possible to feel like a local in far-flung locales. Apps made especially for smartphones and tablets offer insider details about activities, events, eating out, and getting around that used to require a residency or an amazing tour guide to learn.
Few apps like Spotted By Locals, is a series of city guides written by local “spotters. Spotted By Locals skips the obvious tourist traps, focusing instead on bars, restaurants, shops, and spots that residents love.
Then there is  a free app Eventseeker app which is like hanging around a Time Out editor who knows your tastes by heart. When you connect a Facebook profile to the app, its algorithms learn from your likes to suggest concerts, sports games, performances, and cool events you’d likely want to attend.
 


Term insurance – A boon for financial peace of mind
05-Apr-2016    17:21
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.



What does term insurance mean for a policy holder –
It gives assurance to the individual covered, that in case of his untimely death during the policy term, his familys’ financial responsibility will be taken care of, up to the amount of the term cover.
Financial responsibilities span across from a home loan, personal loan to other current and future responsibilities like children’s education, providing for family members health care and so on. A term cover gives the peace of mind for all these financial commitments.

Types of term plans
Most term plans are fixed premium plans and the premium is fixed at the time of inception of the policy. Factors taken into consideration are age, gender, medical history, financial capability and vices like smoking or alcohol.
Accidental death and critical illness cover can also be attached to the term policy. If the tenure of the policy completes, then it lapses and no benefits are provided to the insured.

Term policies can be purchased in two ways –
Online and Offline
Online buying helps in instant comparison across various companies in terms of life cover, benefits, premium amount, which can help in saving time and money on premiums.
Offline is beneficial for those people who need guidance in their financial planning and/or have various ailments for which they need detailed information regarding coverage.

Ways of taking policy -
If you are above 35 years of age then take on policy for all your term cover needs , but if you are below 35 years of age then it makes sense to split your term policy on to 2 parts and take it at various ages .
As the average term of a policy is 30 years , it will run till you reach 65 years of age or beyond ,in case you take it after 35 years of age.
In case you are below 35 years of age say , 27 years, then split the policy amount into 2 parts . if your requirement is 2 cr, then  take 1 cr now as it would cover you till you reach 57 years , and take one at 35 years so that it covers you till 65 years of age. So at the crucial age band of 35- 57 you will have a 2cr policy cover.

This way you will end up paying less premium for the insurance coverage and enjoy adequate cover when needed.

Aspects kids should learn about Financial Planning
28-Mar-2016    16:30
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.



Financial aspects all parents should teach their children.

If there’s one subject that has the ability to impact kids throughout their entire lives, it’s personal finance. And the practicality of teaching finance to kids is so important, it’s the one topic that they’ll actually use for the rest of their lives, everyday.

The following are some basic financial rules that your children must be made aware of –

When child is between 4-7 years of age
This is the age when children start grasping the basic concept of numbers. They can then be slowly introduced to the mechanism of money and its functioning. The child starts realising that everything in the world has a money value attached to it. Giving them a glimpse of the practical workings of money helps in driving home the concept of buying and selling. eg taking them along when you visit your local grocery store will acquaint them with the finer aspects of monetary transactions.
Also start teaching them about savings. Savings simply means not using all your money right away , instead keeping it aside for later use.

When child is between 8-14 years of age -

Now that the child understands the value of money, he can be started with small amounts as allowance.
Make them plan out a budget for the money they receive and then allocate it to a save and a spend section. The save section will have money allocated for long term goals like eg buying their favourite bicycle, and the spend section will have money for day to day small purchases like ice creams, chocolates .
You can also give them extra money as and when they accomplish some allocated chores on time. This will help them learn about the concept of work and earn.
Several banks offer children’s accounts which are a perfect way to teach your children the importance of saving and the fact that their money will grow if they keep it saved.
Equally important is to teach them how to buy smart and only buy things that they truly need.
Business games like Monopoly or Business which incorporate the concept of money, go a long way in teaching them the basics.
These money management habits must be instilled in children from an early age so they can grow up to be responsible and careful spenders.


Financial Planning
26-Mar-2016    15:57
Written by  Anita Parmar - the Inhouse Gyan Guru, Blog Writer, Life Enthusiast.



 

It is important to not only be careful with money but also be disciplined. This means you need to have a financial Plan of Action for all your earnings and income. Either you can read up on all the financial planning information available across publications, track investments and then decide your financial goals. Alternatively, if time and understanding of financial products is a barrier, then its better to engage a financial planner. This will help you in realising your goals and guide you on how to save and invest for them.
Research and find a financial planner and start off on need analysis and goal setting.  Participate actively in each discussion to decide your goals. For instance, while you are building a fund for your daughter’s education/ higher studies, you can take a call on not allocating any funds for her marriage.
When your goals are chalked out, and the money invested properly, you feel less insecure.