Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Slow death for push marketing of insurance?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Just five of the 23 life insurance companies in India (I have excluded Edelweiss Tokio as they are new entrants) could increase their premium collection in 2011-2012 over the previous year. In fact, none of the top 10 premium collectors of 2010-2011 could increase their sales in 2011-2012. Why so?

It’s strange to put a disclaimer in the middle of an article, but here I must — lower premium collections or sales do not necessarily mean lower profitability. In fact, some insurance companies might have increased their profitability in spite of lower sales and it could even be a conscious strategy.

Mind you, all this is when India is considered an under-insured, under-penetrated life insurance market. So where does the problem really lie? The common reason associated with the drop is the change in regulations and maybe even the pace of change. Frankly, all the regulatory changes in the life insurance sector in the last year have been pro-consumer — the sooner they get implemented, the better it is for the customer. Commissions paid to intermediaries for some products came under the scanner and were reduced and rightly so. And then we saw a large dip in the interest levels of intermediaries to sell those products. Should a product sell only because an intermediary makes a lot of money out of it?

Tax breaks only if insurance cover is 10 times annual premium

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Tax exemption under Section 80C is one of the major drivers of insurance sales. In fact, it has become a trend to launch a new variant of single-premium plans in February-March to cater to those who just want to make some investment to avail tax benefits.

Taking health insurance for granted

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Chances are you haven’t given this much thought. It would be part of some document which you signed when you joined the company. For a majority of those in the corporate world, health insurance is provided by the employer — to such an extent that you take it for granted.

Can someone force an insurance product on you?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Often, you may think you are getting a great deal on an insurance product. Chances are you might not have given this much thought.

Health insurance for people with HIV

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The insurance regulator recently floated a proposal which mandates all health insurance providers to put an underwriting policy in place for covering people with HIV or those working closely with HIV+ persons, such as doctors and nurses.

Lack of retirement planning options

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Unlike people in developed nations such as the U.S. and Europe, people in India are known for their conservative habit of saving. The need for regular income after retirement is a concern that haunts most Indians.

No mad rush for life insurance IPOs

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Last week, the regulator finally released the long-awaited draft for insurance companies to raise capital through an Initial Public Offer (IPO). As soon as this announcement was made, the entire industry was caught in a frenzy trying to decipher every word.

Insurance industry players go online — reluctantly

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

From the year 2000 onwards, the Indian insurance industry saw a number of private players entering through the gates thrown open by the government. Public sector player LIC had already gained an edge by being a pioneer in the life insurance space. With an army of agents, LIC was way ahead of these latecomers and found itself settled comfortably.

Another case of insurance regulation – good or bad?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Motor insurance is the only insurance product in India mandated by law. This means that any one owning a vehicle is bound under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to have a third-party motor insurance policy.

Road to stress-free retirement years

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Retirement is not the end of the road; it is the beginning of yet another fabulous journey. After all the gruelling years of hard work, a calm and stress-free retirement is the best reward one can get. So how do we ensure we spend our sunset years without worrying about any liquidity crunch? Here is an overview to help you live life on your own terms after retirement.

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