Cheap Insurance Companies and Their Services

To some people, cheap insurance companies are merely a myth, to others a reality they do not ever want to acknowledge, but one fact remains the same. Cheap insurance businesses are a commodity most people do not avail for different reasons. Some are scared that they might end up paying more than advertised others just do not want the extra expense.

It is true that there are quite a lot of insurance businesses out there on the internet that are not cheap at all, as well as insurance companies that are cheap and offer the best service. Then there are also cheap insurance businesses that are not just cheap with awful service (these are the ones you would want to avoid). If you want to save money while spending yet at the same time get the best service you will have to do some search into various cheap insurance companies.

There are two ways to find a good insurance company; online and by roaming around, but there is only one way to get a cheap insurance from a company i. E. Search the internet. The reason is simple, where an insurance company caters to clients across the state or just in your area, an online insurance company caters to people across America, and more business means better competition, which ultimately leads to cheaper and lower rates.

Keeping the above equation I know you will agree that the best deals are to be found online, however if you up and want to do business with the most advertised of insurance dealers, you are surely in for a heart-break. These companies in order to compensate for the high costs of advertisements offer some pretty high rates to their customers.

If you truly are looking for a cheap and reliable rate for your insurance, it would be wise for you go for the moderate kind of insurance businesses. These companies could be anywhere after the first ten or so search results. You can also choose to narrow down your results to your city, state, or even by using your zip code if you are searching for a company locally.

Remember to check on the bare minimum of insurance prerequisite in your state and then go forth with negotiating the essentials before negotiating the rates. Almost every state has some sort of bare minimum for their citizens insurance policies these days and it is entirely up to you to convert this slight problem into a blessing that does the most good for you.

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All About Insurance and How to Find Cheap Insurance

Insurance is very important. The way that insurance works is that a whole lot of people pay a small amount of money into an insurance pool. This pool of money will protect these people against some sort of risk, such as the risk of your car getting stolen. Because many people pay money into the pool, the pool becomes rich and full of money. Then if one person who has paid money into the pool gets their car stolen, then the insurance company will give them money out of the pool. The insurance pool can pay out much more money than that individual person had by himself.

The only reason that insurance works is because the problem that is the risk isn’t so big that it happens to everyone. Just think if everyone who invested money into the insurance pool had a car that got stolen, the insurance company wouldn’t be able to pay everyone out lots of money. Insurance companies spend huge amounts of money paying risk analyzers to work out how much risk is in place. They also pay an effective legal team to stipulate good terms and conditions so that clients don’t take advantage of the insurance company by making false claims.

Of course the bigger the company and the more clients it is, the more likely it is to be able to offer cheap insurance to the buyer. The more people that pay money into the pool, the bigger the pool of money becomes.

Well known companies are also able to offer cheap insurance, because they have a far bigger marketing budget, so they can reach more people and potential clients. It s also good to go with a big company, because they are more likely to be able to pay you out. They have a reputation to uphold.

On the other hand, big insurance companies have very good legal teams, so they might have to get out of paying you, by referring to small print in the contract that you may not have seen. So whenever you buy cheap insurance be sure to read the small print.

It is easy to find cheap insurance nowadays. Many companies are offering great deals. And a simple internet search will have you face to face with insurance quotes in no time at all.

Insurance is available in all sorts of areas. You can get insurance for your possessions such as your house, car or boat. You can also get health insurance or travel insurance. Some Insurance companies offer cheaper insurance packages to women. Some health insurance companies will not cover you if you have pre-existing medical conditions. You also get cheap life insurance or funeral plans.

Some people may want to insure their body parts, for example a hand model may insure her hands, because if she no longer has them she cannot work. You can basically find someone to insure you for just about anything. When you make a deal with an insurer, you are basically saying, in exchange for paying you a small fee, you will take financial responsibility for me if the stipulated event occurs.

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Compare Cheap Insurance Quotes – Save Time and Money by Comparing Cheap Insurance Quotes

How does your decision to compare cheap insurance quotes on the internet help you save precious time and money? The insurance market has become so competitive that it is impossible to identify a single insurance company as the best one around. There are many variable factors including the type of insurance that one wants, income and lifestyle of the individual, the asset that one wants to insure and the amount of premium that one is prepared to pay. In such a scenario, one cannot blame an individual for opting to compare cheap insurance quotes instead of entering the confusing world of insurance analysis.

How do you save money when you compare cheap insurance quotes? If you opt for quotes comparison, chances are very high that you will quickly identify the cheapest and most beneficial insurance policy for your life, car, home or any other asset. You will get a clear tabular analysis which will tell you how much one has to pay for each and every policy under consideration. If you do not compare cheap insurance quotes, you will have to prepare a comparative statement manually. This is next to impossible considering the fact that the average individual is rarely, if ever, conversant with how insurance policies work.

Another reason why one should compare cheap insurance quotes is that it helps save a lot of time. Getting quotes online helps you get all the information you want in a jiffy. You need not visit each and every insurance company’s office just to compare cheap insurance quotes. You need to state the amount of coverage you want and the amount of premium that you will have to pay will be flashed on the screen instantly. You can also get quotes through the telephone. In either case, a lot of time and effort shall be saved. If one considers the gas that one saves by avoiding visits to numerous insurance offices, the benefits of these free insurance quotes become even more significant. Never again will you have to take time out of your busy schedule to complete insurance related paper work. The web will help you take care of all that.

It is important to compare insurance quotes before getting signed up with an insurance policy. When you compare insurance quotes you can rest assured you are saving both time and money because you are guaranteed to get the lowest insurance quote.

Given the current recession it is important to make sure to prioritize your money and compare insurance quotes online. A good place to state would be an online website that actually allows you to compare insurance quotes online for free.

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Compare Cheap Insurance Quotes – Save Time and Money by Comparing Cheap Insurance

Before the invention and wide accessibility of the internet, people had to call around to compare cheap insurance quotes. They could spend hours of their lives on the phone only to find out that the best policy for them was the first one they called. They would then have to call the office back and go through the explanation again. Once they did they still had to go down to the local office and sign paper work and make a payment before they were insured.

Thankfully, times have changed and people don’t have to spend hours on the phone just to find the best rate. Logging on and going to your prospective insurance company takes a lot of time too. So how do you compare cheap insurance quotes to get the best deal on your car insurance? Just go to your favorite search engine instead.

By doing a search to compare cheap insurance quotes you will find a list of sites that offer multiple comparisons right on their site. Generally, these sites are not affiliated with any specific insurance company so you can be assured an accurate comparison.

It’s simple to compare cheap insurance quotes this way. All you have to do is input your information one time. Set the restrictions for coverage type and deductibles and hit the compare/search button. Within seconds a listing of all the major insurance companies will be appear on your screen. You can scroll through them and find the one that has the best coverage at the best price for you.

Often these sites will allow you to purchase insurance directly from them and offer discounts for doing so. By comparing cheap insurance quotes on line through one of the sites will save you time and money.

If you prefer spending endless hours on the phone just to get the best rate go right ahead. Using the internet can take the hassle out of buying car insurance. Who needs another headache when all you’re looking for is the best coverage in your price range?

It is important to compare insurance quotes before getting signed up with an insurance policy. When you compare insurance quotes you can rest assured you are saving both time and money because you are guaranteed to get the lowest insurance quote.

Given the current recession it is important to make sure to prioritize your money and compare insurance quotes online. A good place to state would be an online website that actually allows you to compare insurance quotes online for free.

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Comparing Cheap Insurance Quotes – The Best Trade Off Between Premium and Deductible

Shopping in general involves a lot of decision making. You have to be even more careful and use more analysis when buying insurance irrespective of the type of coverage you are looking for. You have to get an affordable deal that offers sufficient coverage. The best way in which you can do this is to collect as many cheap insurance quotes as possible. You can get this job done in no more than half an hour if you use the services of an online provider that gives you a bunch of offers from different insurers for free.

The more difficult part comes next. You will have to compare the different cheap insurance quotes you have obtained. It is essential for you to look for the most affordable of all deals. Apart from analyzing the rates you should check whether the insurance company offers any discounts that you might be eligible for. More importantly, you have to decide on the trade off between the premium and the deductible you will have to pay. Setting these two costs correctly will allow you to save a lot of money and to manage your budget more efficiently.

The premium is basically the fee that you have to pay annually or monthly for the coverage you get. In case you make a claim on your policy and the insurer approves it you will have to pay a deductible. It can be a set sum, but in most cases it is a percentage of the cost of the claim. You should also keep in mind that with health insurance plans the deductible is fixed and has to be paid once a year. Generally, the higher the deductible is the lower the premium is and vice versa.

You can save a lot by increasing your deductible. This is particularly beneficial when you buy auto and home insurance policies since you will have to incur this cost in an event that may never actually happen. At the same time everything is possible. Thus, it is best for you to set a deductible that you can afford to pay it at any time. You have to decide on how much you would want to increase this cost depending on a number of factors.

The main one is the premium. Generally, the experts recommend to any buyer to accept as high premium as they can comfortably afford. You should do some calculations in order to decide how much of your monthly income you can set aside for insurance. At the same time you have to take into account your savings. They will allow you to determine how much you could afford to take out of your pocket if you made a claim today. If this sum is not very large, you may think twice before setting a way too large deductible.

Overall, it is up to you to decide on the best trade off between premium and deductible. This is an individual decision that you have to take when comparing cheap insurance quotes. You have to make your choice by taking into consideration all relevant factors.

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Low Rate Health Insurance Quotes – Find and Compare Cheap Insurance Rates Online

First, ask your friends around you about the insurance policies, which they are using, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that your friend’s need may be different from the one, which is used by you.

The other thing is that you should not opt for a particular plan just because your friend has recommended to you. Instead, you have to go through the plan carefully and see that the plan provides you with different type of services that you are looking for. After all the research, one could choose a plan and can proceed with the plan.

The advantage for looking out for cheap rates online is the competition that is present among the insurance company’s, and each insurance company is alert of it. If you are looking to have cheap insurance then you have to compare the rates with different companies.

The most important thing to look out for is the zip codes, which are even ten miles from each one can actually have a huge difference in the periodical premium charges that is to be paid. This is also based on cost of livelihood and other factors as well.

If you are making a health insurance online, then you have to fill up the form online, where you have to answer some questions and it is a very fast process. There would be some general questions asked such as the age, the degree of risks, and the terms of premium and there benefits that is offered on the plan.

You can opt for a particular plan, which offers the services and the features, and if you think that, it will help your needs then you can opt for it. Some of them are comfortable with catastrophic insurances that would guard you from costly hospital and medical bills, but cannot have the coverage of doctor’s visits until a huge deductible is met.

Given the current recession it is important to make sure to prioritize your money and compare insurance quotes online. A good place to state would be an online website that actually allows you to compare insurance quotes online for free.

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Nothing Much in Budget 2012 for Insurance Industry

The insurance sector has had a neutral reaction to the 2012 budget. Most experts believe the hike in service tax will not affect the sector. Industry experts said that while in the past it was a common practice for companies to pay the service tax charges incurred by their agents. The recent trend was towards slowly passing these charges on to the customers and hence the rise in service tax does not pose a major threat to revenues.

While the insurance industry’s main demand from this budget was for the Foreign Direct Investment cap in Insurance to be raised from 26 percent to 49 percent, experts believe that this demand will take longer. Although the finance minister has announced an amendment to the laws, experts believe that this announcement is a routine one. The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill will allow an increase of FDI in Indian insurance companies’ up to 49 percent from the current ceiling of 26 percent. The bill also proposes to do away with the provision of Indian promoters of insurance companies having to reduce their stakes to 26 percent over a period of time.

The proposal to tax customers on policy maturity has also put the life insurance industry on its guard. Industry insiders believe that this will lead to a loss of business and make insurance unattractive to investors.

The budget has been received with no cheer by the insurance industry as top executives believe that nothing much has changed for them post the budget. The word “status-quo” is the most popular way to describe the reaction of the Indian insurance industry to the Budget 2012 proposals.

However, despite all this, the insurance industry is enthused as the Pension Fund Authority and the Banking sector reforms which the finance minister has spoken about during the budget. The proposed re capitalization of banks will benefit the insurance sector as they work very closely with the PSU banks and are the main players in India’s financial sector.

One insurance industry insider said that the increase in service tax would result in a situation where the premiums of policies could vary by up to 1.5 percent from their current rates. The additional tax relief given to those investing in infrastructure bonds will not affect the insurance industry is what the pundits believe. The common man’s view is that the raising of the income tax slabs has ensured that they have a slightly larger sum of money to invest or spend. Most insurance companies will try and target this disposable income.

In conclusion, while this budget hasn’t done anything to make the insurance industry go wild with joy, they aren’t holding their heads in despair either. The amendments proposed by the Finance Minister point to great opportunities in the future, for the insurance industry.

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The Insurance Industry and the Missing Link

A recent article “Help Wanted,” by Dennis Gorski, in the May, 2013 issue of Best Review sited recent research with a puzzling finding. Almost 40,000 insurance industry jobs are either open or becoming open this year-yet insurers find them ever more difficult to fill.

Why, is a good question? Well, according to Mr. Gorski, siting insurance industry executives, “Unqualified applicants are filling up applicant tracking systems of major insurance companies.”

Next on the list of reasons that the jobs are not being filled is, “a lot of companies are handcuffed because they can’t afford them or… ”
So, there are two (2) reasons insurance companies can’t fill jobs that cry out for people:

People are applying for jobs that are not qualified
They don’t have the money to hire them
I am sure industry leaders believe those reasons and many, within the industry, are satisfied with them. I say “Malarkey!” I say the reason they cannot connect the people with the job (The Missing Link) is the industry has grown lethargic, lazy, and lackadaisical. They are unwilling to do the things that need to be done because what they are able to get by with average.

Mr. Gorski went on to quote the research saying, “the industry is stable, has great career paths, great benefits, is almost recession proof, has all levels of workers and is usually very financially sound. Potential candidates should be flocking to the insurance industry.” With all the compelling reasons people should be seeking employment in the insurance industry, why are so many jobs going unfilled? Answer: they are but the industry won’t let them in.

Mr. Gorski, apparently believes this is a mystery and it must be, or we would not be hearing about the struggles of this industry. Well, it is not a mystery the reasons behind the struggle is clear.

The insurance industry struggles to fill jobs of all types for just a few simple reasons. They are:

Most jobs within the insurance industry don’t require difficult to acquire, special knowledge. The knowledge you need to excel in an insurance industry job is readily available and learnable. Unfortunately, hiring managers within the industry are unwilling to hire bright, educated and motivated individuals and train them to do a job. They take, instead, the easy way. They want experience and in doing so often hire “retreads” (people with experience that did not do well in a previous positions), thinking that they can change them. Guess what. Most often, you can’t. Most retreads are what they are and cannot or will not change. So, in the end the industry hires another average or below person and the “envelope is not advanced.”

The industry, as a whole, is complacent. Willing to accept average and unwilling to take risks by hiring someone with the right talent (not just experience), and coach or mentor them to success. They are complacent because the industry lacks motivation. In many cases they are dependent upon the sale of a commodity or cutting expenses to look good. My experience (30 years inside the industry and 15 years outside) has been that few are willing to take even the smallest risk. The still believe that anyone can succeed in any job if they just work hard enough.

They are unwilling to do the things that need to be done to move the industry up a notch or two. Like, for instance, reevaluating the needs of a job beyond the experience and look for the right people to fill them. Things are just too easy. So easy, people often get bored and leave. What a shame!
There are, of course, other reasons relating to the struggles a complacent industry faces in just filling jobs, but the “Missing Link” is a belief that the industry can perform at a much higher level and that average is no longer acceptable.

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Effect of Liberalisation in Insurance Industry

Introduction

The journey of insurance liberalization process in India is now over seven years old. The first major milestone in this journey has been the passing of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. This along with amendments to the Insurance Act 1983, LIC and GIC Acts paves the way for the entry of private players and possibly the privatization of the hitherto public monopolies LIC and GIC. Opening up of insurance to private sector including foreign participation has resulted into various opportunities and challenges.

Concept of Insurance

In our daily life, whenever there is uncertainly there is an involvement of risk. The instinct of security against such risk is one of the basic motivating forces for determining human attitudes. As a sequel to this quest for security, the concept of insurance must have been born. The urge to provide insurance or protection against the loss of life and property must have promoted people to make some sort of sacrifice willingly in order to achieve security through collective co-operation. In this sense, the story of insurance is probably as old as the story of mankind.

Life insurance in particular provides protection to household against the risk of premature death of its income earning member. Life insurance in modern times also provides protection against other life related risks such as that of longevity (i.e. risk of outliving of source of income) and risk of disabled and sickness (health insurance). The products provide for longevity are pensions and annuities (insurance against old age). Non-life insurance provides protection against accidents, property damage, theft and other liabilities. Non-life insurance contracts are typically shorter in duration as compared to life insurance contracts. The bundling together of risk coverage and saving is peculiar of life insurance. Life insurance provides both protection and investment.

Insurance is a boon to business concerns. Insurance provides short range and long range relief. The short-term relief is aimed at protecting the insured from loss of property and life by distributing the loss amongst large number of persons through the medium of professional risk bearers such as insurers. It enables a businessman to face an unforeseen loss and, therefore, he need not worry about the possible loss. The long-range object being the economic and industrial growth of the country by making an investment of huge funds available with insurers in the organized industry and commerce.

General Insurance

Prior to nationalizations of General insurance industry in 1973 the GIC Act was passed in the Parliament in 1971, but it came into effect in 1973. There was 107 General insurance companies including branches of foreign companies operating in the country upon nationalization, these companies were amalgamated and grouped into the following four subsidiaries of GIC such as National Insurance Co.Ltd., Calcutta; The New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Mumbai; The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., New Delhi and United India Insurance Co. Ltd., Chennai and Now delinked.

General insurance business in India is broadly divided into fire, marine and miscellaneous GIC apart from directly handling Aviation and Reinsurance business administers the Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme, Personal Accident Insurance, Social Security Scheme etc. The GIC and its subsidiaries in keeping with the objective of nationalization to spread the message of insurance far and wide and to provide insurance protection to weaker section of the society are making efforts to design new covers and also to popularize other non-traditional business.

Liberalization of Insurance

The comprehensive regulation of insurance business in India was brought into effect with the enactment of the Insurance Act, 1983. It tried to create a strong and powerful supervision and regulatory authority in the Controller of Insurance with powers to direct, advise, investigate, register and liquidate insurance companies etc. However, consequent upon the nationalization of insurance business, most of the regulatory functions were taken away from the Controller of Insurance and vested in the insurers themselves. The Government of India in 1993 had set up a high powered committee by R.N.Malhotra, former Governor, Reserve Bank of India, to examine the structure of the insurance industry and recommend changes to make it more efficient and competitive keeping in view the structural changes in other parts of the financial system on the country.

Malhotra Committee’s Recommendations

The committee submitted its report in January 1994 recommending that private insurers be allowed to co-exist along with government companies like LIC and GIC companies. This recommendation had been prompted by several factors such as need for greater deeper insurance coverage in the economy, and a much a greater scale of mobilization of funds from the economy, and a much a greater scale of mobilization of funds from the economy for infrastructural development. Liberalization of the insurance sector is at least partly driven by fiscal necessity of tapping the big reserve of savings in the economy. Committee’s recommendations were as follows:

o Raising the capital base of LIC and GIC up to Rs. 200 crores, half retained by the government and rest sold to the public at large with suitable reservations for its employees.
o Private sector is granted to enter insurance industry with a minimum paid up capital of Rs. 100 crores.
o Foreign insurance be allowed to enter by floating an Indian company preferably a joint venture with Indian partners.
o Steps are initiated to set up a strong and effective insurance regulatory in the form of a statutory autonomous board on the lines of SEBI.
o Limited number of private companies to be allowed in the sector. But no firm is allowed in the sector. But no firm is allowed to operate in both lines of insurance (life or non-life).
o Tariff Advisory Committee (TAC) is delinked form GIC to function as a separate statuary body under necessary supervision by the insurance regulatory authority.
oAll insurance companies be treated on equal footing and governed by the provisions of insurance Act. No special dispensation is given to government companies.
oSetting up of a strong and effective regulatory body with independent source for financing before allowing private companies into sector.

competition to government sector:

Government companies have now to face competition to private sector insurance companies not only in issuing various range of insurance products but also in various aspects in terms of customer service, channels of distribution, effective techniques of selling the products etc. privatization of the insurance sector has opened the doors to innovations in the way business can be transacted.

New age insurance companies are embarking on new concepts and more cost effective way of transacting business. The idea is clear to cater to the maximum business at the lest cost. And slowly with time, the age-old norm prevalent with government companies to expand by setting up branches seems getting lost. Among the techniques that seem to catching up fast as an alternative to cater to the rural and social sector insurance is hub and spoke arrangement. These along with the participants of NGOs and Self Help Group (SHGs) have done with most of the selling of the rural and social sector policies.

The main challenges is from the commercial banks that have vast network of branches. In this regard, it is important to mention here that LIC has entered into an arrangement with Mangalore based Corporations Bank to leverage their infrastructure for mutual benefit with the insurance monolith acquiring a strategic stake 27 per cent, Corporation Bank has decided to abandon its plans of promoting a life insurance company. The bank will act as a corporate agent for LIC in future and receive commission on policies sold through its branches. LIC with its branch network of close to 2100 offices will allow Corporation Bank to set up extension centers. ATMs or branches with in its premises. Corporation Bank would in turn implement an effective Cash Flow Management System for LIC.

IRDA Act, 1999

Preamble of IRDA Act 1999 reads ‘An Act to provide for the establishment of an authority to protect the interests of holders of insurance policies, to regulate, to promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Section 14 of IRDA Act, lays the duties, powers and functions of the authority. The powers and functions of the authority. The powers and functions of the Authority shall include the following.

o Issue to the applicant a certificate of registration, to renew, modify withdraw, suspend or cancel such registration.
o To protect the interest of policy holders in all matters concerning nomination of policy, surrender value f policy, insurable interest, settlement of insurance claims, other terms and conditions of contract of insurance.
o Specifying requisite qualification and practical training for insurance intermediates and agents.
o Specifying code of conduct for surveyors and loss assessors.
o Promoting efficiency in the conduct of insurance business
o Promoting and regulating professional regulators connected with the insurance and reinsurance business.
o Specifying the form and manner in which books of accounts will be maintained and statement of accounts rendered by insurers and insurance intermediaries.
o Adjudication of disputes between insurers and intermediates.
o Specifying the percentage of life insurance and general and general business to be undertaken by the insurers in rural or social sectors etc.

Section 25 provides that Insurance Advisory Committee will be constituted and shall consist of not more than 25 members.Section 26 provides that Authority may in consultation with Insurance Advisory Committee make regulations consists with this Act and the rules made there under to carry the purpose of this Act.Section 29 seeks amendment in certain provisions of Insurance Act, 1938 in the manner as set out in First Schedule. The amendments to the Insurance Act are consequential in order to empower IRDA to effectively regulate, promote, and ensure orderly growth of the Insurance industry.

Section 30 & 31seek to amend LIC Act 1956 and GIC Act 1972.

Impact of Liberalization

While nationalized insurance companies have done a commendable job in extending volume of the business opening up of insurance sector to private players was a necessity in the context of liberalization of financial sector. If traditional infrastructural and semipublic goods industries such as banking, airlines, telecom, power etc. have significant private sector presence, continuing state monopoly in provision of insurance was indefensible and therefore, the privatization of insurance has been done as discussed earlier. Its impact has to be seen in the form of creating various opportunities and challenges.

Opportunities

1. Privatization if Insurance was eliminated the monopolistic business of Life Insurance Corporation of India. It may help to cover the wide range of risk in general insurance and also in life insurance. It helps to introduce new range of products.
2. It would also result in better customer services and help improve the variety and price of insurance products.
3. The entry of new player would speed up the spread of both life and general insurance. It will increase the insurance penetration and measure of density.
4. Entry of private players will ensure the mobilization of funds that can be utilized for the purpose of infrastructure development.
5. Allowing of commercial banks into insurance business will help to mobilization of funds from the rural areas because of the availability of vast branches of the banks.
6. Most important not the least tremendous employment opportunities will be created in the field of insurance which is a burning problem of the presence day today issues.

Current Scenario

After opening up of insurance in private sector, various leading private companies including joint ventures have entered the fields of insurance both life and non-life business. Tata – AIG, Birla Sun life, HDFC standard life Insurance, Reliance General Insurance, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance, Bajaj Auto Alliance, IFFCO Tokio General Insurance, INA Vysya Life Insurance, SBI Life Insurance, Dabur CJU Life Insurance and Max New York Life. SBI Life insurance has launched three products Sanjeevan, Sukhjeevan and Young Sanjeevan so far and it has already sold 320 policies under its plan.

Conclusion

From the above discussion we can conclude that the entry of private players in insurance business needful and justifiable in order to enhance the efficiency of operations, achieving greater density and insurance coverage in the country and for a greater mobilization of long term savings for long gestation infrastructure prefects. New players should not be treat as rivalries to government companies, but they can supplement in achieving the objective of growth of insurance business in india.

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A Review of the Ontario Insurance Industry’s SABS Changes After a Year in Action

The one year anniversary of the September 2010 changes to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule is here. This seems like an appropriate time to consider how the changes have affected the Ontario Auto Insurance Industry. Today we focus on examining the impact of the Minor Injury Guideline. In order to obtain the viewpoint of the Ontario Insurers, we spoke with Viivi Riis, Senior Health Analyst with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Riis was kind enough to provide us with her perspective on the effect of the MIG.

Brief Background on the SABS Changes

The September 2010 changes were developed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) in a bid to stem the increasing costs and complexity of the auto insurance system. The Auto Insurance Industry has been losing money at an incredible rate with no relief in sight. Much like a sick patient on a television medical show, an ongoing downward spiral seems to be a foregone conclusion without an impressively dramatic intervention. Unfortunately, unlike television shows that are resolved in 60 minute episodes, the SABS requires far more work and a dedicated commitment from all involved parties in order to effect a cure.

For those of you wondering what started the whole fiasco, David Gambrill, Editor of Canadian Underwriter Magazine, summed up the Auto Insurance Industry’s previous situation perfectly when he stated: “Ontario’s Auto Insurance Industry is ill…(t)he system is too complex, nobody understands or wants to fill out the paperwork, there are too many health professionals; assessments for minor injuries, most of the insurers’ money is propping up the system (including cottage industries for assessment) rather than going to the claimants, the system disproportionately caters to minor injury claimants, etc. etc.” (Canadian Underwriter, Ontario’s Ailing Auto Industry, 2009, 05, 01). With these multiple issues to address, the FSCO was faced with the momentous task of addressing all of the largesse and complex issues while finding logical, efficient solutions. This is not the easiest task when you consider the number of different businesses that interact with the Ontario Insurance industry. There are no clear answers or easy solutions.

In March of 2009, the Superintendent of Financial Services presented a report to the Minister of Finance giving 39 recommendations on reforming the SABS. The report is available for review on the FSCO website. The 39 recommendations echoed the sentiments of all the key stakeholders, who were given the opportunity to voice their concerns during the consultation phase, that the current SABS was far too complex and needed to be simplified and clarified.

The recommendations were adopted and the SABS changes came into effect on September 1, 2010. Although many in the Auto Insurance Industry were hoping that the changes would be a clean sweep and immediately remedy the issues, one year later, the FSCO’s strategy appears to have resulted in more of a transformative effort. It will take more time to know the ultimate effect of streamlining the old model, reducing coverage and adding caps.

The MIG: Present and Future

The MIG replaced the PAF Guideline and was developed in consultation with insurance industry stakeholders, healthcare professionals and legal representatives. According to the FSCO, the MIG is not a permanent answer to the auto industry’s woes and should only be seen as an interim measure, “with the expectation that it will be replaced in the future with a more comprehensive Guideline that will prescribe evidence-based treatment as identified by the Neck Pain Task Force and other expert Authorities.” (FSCO Bulletin 10/10).

The next step is the Minor Injury Treatment Protocol (MITP). In its “Statement of Priorities and Strategic Direction” (June 2011), the FSCO indicated that the MITP is “an initiative to develop a treatment protocol for minor injuries that reflects the current scientific and medical literature. This project began in 2010 and will be completed in 2014. A consultant will oversee the work to provide FSCO with an evidence-based treatment protocol, clinical prediction rules to identify patients at risk of becoming chronic, and a marketing strategy for educating the public and health providers on the new protocol.”

The FSCO shared more information about the MITP in its “Auto Insurance e-Newsletter (May 2011 edition): “The MITP will be used by insurers and health care providers when treating minor injuries resulting from automobile accidents. It will include clinical prediction rules to screen for patients who may be at higher risk for developing chronic pain and disability. In addition, it will focus on treatment outcomes and provide health care providers with numerous milestones that could be used to measure progress. FSCO will use the MITP to ultimately develop a Guideline, which will be issued by the Superintendent. The MITP project will also include a plan for the education and marketing of the new protocol.” It appears that the MIG, in its current state, is with us until at least 2014.

Today’s MIG

The FSCO created the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG) to accompany the SABS changes. The MIG is intended to provide a solid directive for the identification, treatment and management of minor injuries. The MIG is a perfect example of the overall intention of the changes and the associated challenges: The MIG requires a fundamental change in the way that insurers, health professionals and insurance partners approach their cases.

Rather than making a huge overhaul of the entire system, little steps such as the introduction of the MIG are essential to turn the system around and begin to rectify the areas that have become hot spots for wasteful and non-innovative processes. In its current capacity, the MIG should help eliminate some of the barriers to early treatment of minor injuries while actively promoting those treatments and therapies that favour early return to work and normal routines for Claimants. According to Riis, the expected long term goal in the use of “the MIG by health professionals is to deliver the type of care that is shown in health care literature to be effective. We hope to see a lower incidence of disability in the sprain/strain/WAD population. Recovery and return to function for injured persons is a positive outcome for the Claimant, insurer and provider.”

Can the MIG Ameliorate the Situation?

The IBC is conducting surveys on utilization of the MIG and associated costs, but the results will not be available until the fall. While we don’t have any advance information on the findings from the surveys, we can look at a key factor of the MIG that reflects the intent of the changes to the SABS.

One of the primary issues that the MIG focuses on is the early identification and management of psycho-social risk factors. When treatment options focus only on the injury and not on how the injury affects the Claimant’s life as whole, interventions and proactive therapies aren’t applied in time to identify and prevent other issues from becoming obstacles to recovery. Viivi Riis and the IBC have found that “there are a number of barriers, in Ontario, to the return-to-work process, many of which have nothing to do with the injury itself.” In the past, treatment has centered on the injury without taking into account the potential for psycho-social issues such as fear avoidance or catastrophizing behaviours that may have a tendency to prolong disabilities. When it comes to applying the MIG in order to stave off this issue, Riis believes that while it isn’t “the insurers’ role to identify these risks, (that) health businesses should engage their insurance partners to discuss how such issues can be addressed…by treatment providers already engaged with the Claimant.” Therefore, working more closely with the Claimant, gathering information on all aspects of their lifestyle and proactively addressing their needs will help the Insurance Industry keep costs down and avoid increasing the length of time that the Claimant will be unable to engage in their regular routine. According to Riis, “Early disability (and return to work) management is possible in the MIG, and I think there is room for innovation by health care businesses in this regard.”

Rather than change the SABS completely, it is necessary to change the way that insurers and providers work with it. This can be seen in the way that the MIG now requires insurers, health care providers and insurance partners to focus on all the elements that will affect the Claimant’s return-to-work options. Riis believes the evidence over the past year will show that “the challenge will be to actually achieve the desired outcome (successful return to function) as opposed to exhausting a patient’s benefit dollars on vocation interventions that try but don’t achieve the outcome.” When the focus is not on giving as many treatments as possible in order to max out the Claimant’s options but instead to provide the treatments and interventions that best help return them to their regular function, there will be more meaningful and individualized care.

A Paradigm Shift: Focus on Function

As difficult as it is to exact meaningful change in business best practices on a day to day basis, it becomes even more daunting when you try to overhaul an entire, complex system. While giving a presentation titled “Minor Injury Guideline- What’s Happening?” Viivi Riis said that “acceptance of the SABS recommended changes requires a paradigm shift”. This stance is further exemplified in the administration of the MIG, where not only must health care providers change their focus from maximum medical recovery; they will also need to reassess their standard response to the management of strain and sprain injuries.

For example, Riis and the IBC have found that when it comes to the treatment of strains and sprains the “evidence…overwhelmingly suggests that a return to usual activities and advice in that regard is beneficial to health outcomes… (t)here is new evidence on how to manage sprain, strain and WAD injuries and acute pain. Some of that evidence raises questions about traditional physical treatment approaches that are still widely used. Based on what our members tell me, early treatment continues to be focused on physical treatment while disability management occurs as an afterthought or after MIG resources have been exhausted by physical treatment approaches. Too many Claimants with sprain and strain injuries are still advised by health care providers to avoid activities in part or completely, with no explanation of why this advice is necessary.”

The MIG removes the ability of the treatment provider to maintain an arms’ length relationship with the Claimant. Providers must be more involved in the case management side of the equation and see the treatment model on the whole rather than focusing solely on the injury. The take home message would appear to be: focus on function and early return to work and normal routines, rather than on maximum medical recovery.

The changes have only been in effect for one year and as Viiivi Riis said: “(i)n the absence of data, it is impossible to know if the reforms are achieving their intended effect. Insurers report various experiences.” Nevertheless, once the Insurance Industry and all health care providers have embraced the MIG and the spirit of the new SABS, we will witness an evolution: innovation resulting from fresh new solutions.

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