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.

Online Shopping For School Supplies

This season, when it comes time to back-to-school shopping, many parents have decided to switch to online shopping for the supplies and even Dell computers their children need. One could find anything and everything on a child's list for school through various online stores and Internet sites that are connected to real brick and mortar stores. Besides being convenient, getting supplies for school through online vendors, there is also a money saving incentive. Most of the online stores are significantly cheaper than the real world stores, even those connected to a real world store.

Canada online shopping is a big deal because they save even more money and taxes when they shop through the Internet rather than in the brick and mortar stores. Many of the online stores will offer free or very low cost shipping if a person's order total goes over a certain amount and with school supplies, this is easy to do. From notebooks to crayons and staples and pens, most of the online stores carry everything a student will need to outfit them for the new semester ahead.

Now is the time to begin hunting for bargains with all the back-to-school sales, even if one does not have a child going to school. These discounts are for everyone and anyone; They do not have to be a student in order to save money on things like laptop computers, folders, rulers and high tech calculators. Canadian online shopping consists of many different electronics, school supplies such as notebooks, pens, papers and books as well as discounts on clothing and shoes, everything a student would need to go back to school.

For students who are going off to college or universities that will be staying in a dorm or apartment, they need more items then the typical school supplies. These students will need home furnishing type supplies and most of the time; These types of items are also on sale at this time of year. These items consist of bed spread sets, desk and chairs, organizers for a desk, organizers for bathroom necessities for those who share a bathroom with others, small kitchen appliances and area rugs as well soft style floor seating.

There are many smaller office supplies or desk equipment that one may need during the course of a semester that they should purchase now to save themselves from running out and getting it later. Things such as a three hole puncher, ruler, protractor, paperclips, brads, rubber bands, masking and scotch tape, sticky notes, erasers, scissors, colored pencils, markers, glue and white-out. These things may not be used everyday but could be used at some point in the semester for a special project and it would be nice to have them on hand.

A lot of online shops will ship faster service for a small fee if someone needs a certain supply right away for a project. For example a poster board in a certain color or a type of scissors with a wavy edge. These are items that would cost less to purchase online then at the local supply store or book store and saving money is what college students need to do everywhere they can.

There are a couple of things to beware of when shopping online. One is the shipping and handling fees. Most companies are reducing their shipping fees in order to bring in more customers. However, they are raising their handling fees to make up for this lack of income. An individual would be wise to shop around for an online shop before filing their shopping cart they will no doubt save even more money.

There are also some stores online that will charge taxes and other that do not. There is no law that says an online store needs to collect taxes from a state where they are selling to. For example if a person lives in Missouri and they are shopping at a place in Texas, they may have to pay a Texas state tax online but they do not have to pay Missouri state taxes. This is something to watch out for.

Top 6 Trends Followed by the E-Commerce Website Design Company

An e-commerce web design has its own unique character and is indeed designed to lead the online shoppers to make purchases from the site. When a business designs an e-commerce website, it needs to consider the chief principles of designing e-commerce website. An e-commerce website has to be attractive and must use the right color combination. Only a well-organized website can help you convert. The best e-commerce website design company follows the latest trends in e-commerce website designing.

If you are looking to have an online store or redesign the site, you must choose only an e-commerce website design company which follows the latest trends in web designing. Let us check out the latest 6 trends.

· Bigger background to redesign your site: When it comes to designing the website, companies are looking to incorporate video backgrounds and large images. If the background is large, the company can convey the story of the business and talk about the products and services in details. The more convincing the story sounds; the more chance of conversion is there. Buyers will be attracted towards the products and end up making purchases.

· The use of animations to engage the customers: If you want to engage the customers in the best possible manner, it is great to use attractive animations. A reliable and experienced company will use rich animations into the design to make the shopping experience enjoyable. It is only animations that can make your customers feel that you care for them.

· Cleaning off clutter: Nowadays, when it comes to creating an e-commerce website, the more focus is upon having a clean design. Among the designers, the hidden menus are extremely popular. It helps in cleaning clutter from the site and this is why it is so popular. Initially meant only for the mobile devices, now hidden menus have established their presence in the desktop design as well.

· Long scrolls: Now everyone is used to long scrolling web pages. This is all due to the coming up of mobile friendly websites. If the website features long scrolling, it will allow more of visuals, storytelling and also permit easy navigation. If the scrolling is permissible, the users will like to stay to the site for longer periods. This will promote interaction and open the door for more sales.

· The layout is responsive: More and more web designers focus on creating responsive websites featuring a responsive website design. The design of the site must be such that it is displayed well on the mobile device or any other device. Your site must be accessible from multiple devices.

· Pleasant browsing experience: Ecommerce web design companies in India focus on giving your users a pleasant browsing experience. Thus, they can shop comfortably without any delay in page loading. Professional designers include only relevant content and thus help your brand establish trust relationship with the customers.

If the e-commerce website design company follows all the latest trends in e-commerce website designing, your site is sure to succeed and gain an edge over the competitors.

Porter’s Five Forces Model And Internet Competition

According to Porter’s Five Forces Model, in my opinion, competition has increased overall as a result of the internet and e-Commerce. The internet and IT has made it possible to both focus on the top and bottom lines and market share is expanded and costs are cut. Many products and services exist just online, major companies have gone online to successfully augment the brick and mortar corporations, and the playing field is all the way to edges of cyberspace, wherever that is. We will further evaluate this stepping through all five forces.

Buyer power is higher when buyers have more choices. Businesses are forced to add value to their products and services to get loyalty. Many loyalty programs include excellent services that customers demand on-line. Customers want to solve their problems and many times they are more successful on-line than on-phone. Also, we see internet savvy businesses springing up offering more valuable goods and services at lower costs. Now with the advent of eBay, many people are assuming roles as drop shippers. Individuals can have a thriving business selling goods of larger companies without having to carry inventory.

Supplier power is higher when buyers have fewer choices from whom to buy. As mentioned earlier, drop shipping has increased the amount of suppliers available. All an individual has to do is form and agreement to sell products for the company. The company takes care of all the logistics. The same is true of associates programs that Amazon.com and Google.com offer. Associates allow a webmaster to earn money by recommending products from others. This increases supplier offerings.

Threat of substitute products or services is high when there are many product alternatives. This is different than having many suppliers. Examples of alternatives are exchanging brand names, substituting credit card capabilities, and looking at better values from cheaper sources. The internet allows this with the “global economy”. I can substitute my product by purchasing from companies overseas where labor, services and products are cheaper, but of comparable quality.

Threat of new entrants is high when it is easy for new competition to enter the market. Well, what have we been talking about? Now, small operations can open shop with less than $10.00 per month and make a lot of money. As inventive as people are, there are always opportunities to do improve a product or service or just create and sell something new. Recently, many new entrants have made even more money authoring Ebooks that tell others how to do what they did. Rivalry among competitors is high when competition is more intense within industries.

On-line book stores and catalog companies are an excellent example. Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com are very competitive. However, there are many also smaller niche affiliate bookstores that when combined take a great deal of market share. They offer even more competition. However, both major bookstores have used IT to create value for their customers. These values include associates programs, ease of payment and shipping and many, many others.

The internet offers avenues of competition to existing companies and opportunities for start ups. Now businesses can enter the market on-line with few barriers to entry. Porter’s Five Forces Model can help demonstrate the attractiveness of starting your on-line business. A business person should use the model to identify competition, make a plan, and implement the process.