Bajaj Allianz’s plan offers partial withdrawal after 5 years and life cover throughout the term of 10 years
Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance has launched a new unit-linked plan—Guaranteed Maturity Insurance Plan (GMIP)—that provides at maturity at least 200% of the amount invested along with a secure life cover. With the minimum single premium of Rs5,000, the product is the lowest single premium ULIP available in India, thereby making the product affordable for all income segments.
GMIP is a simple to understand plan in which the single premium invested will be kept in denominations of Rs5,000 each called as “Guaranteed Maturity Certificate (GMCs)”. The provision of GMCs facilitates liquidity and preserves guarantee since partial withdrawals can be made only in units of GMCs i.e. in multiples of Rs5,000. Thus, the investor will not have to compromise on the guarantee of other GMCs which he/she holds till maturity.
The plan does not have any allocation charge and 100% of the single premium paid by the policyholder goes into the unit account. The plan offers partial withdrawal after 5 years and life cover throughout the term of 10 years.
Premium Paid are eligible for tax benefits under section 80C and maturity benefit , death benefit, and surrender value are eligible for Tax benefits under Section 10(10)D of the Income Tax Act subject to the provision stated therein. A maximum of 1/3rd of the GMCs taken at inception can be withdrawn during the whole of the policy term.
In case of death benefit, higher of prevailing sum assured reduced by the value of the units withdrawn through partial withdrawals from fund value in the last 2 years prior to death or fund value as on date of receipt of intimation of death.
Mediclaim portability started in October 2011. While the response has been lukewarm, there are early trends that poaching of young and healthy customers will be the strategy. Who is winning on that score?
As expected, despite newspaper advertisements from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) extolling the ease and benefits of mediclaim portability, the insured are not biting the bait so far. Private insurance companies, who have the most to gain, have got less than 100 proposals each. Insurers are targeting the young and healthy segment and are using their ‘right to underwrite’ to refuse old and unhealthy customers.
Moneylife investigation shows that the frontrunner in portability race is Apollo Munich. According to one private insurer, “Out of the total requests for policyholder medical and claim history, 90% are from Apollo Munich, which is surprising.”
The same sentiment is shared by one government-owned insurer. According to it, “Apollo Munich is targeting our young customer segment. They are working through agents who work for both the insurance companies.”
According to another private insurer, “We have a few customer requests trying to go out from our company; many are going to Max Bupa.” Moneylife has found that Star Health has also received good number of portability proposals. Only a few of Max Bupa’s customers are trying to go out when compared to the decent number of portability requests to join this company.
The question is why are standalone health insurers gaining? IRDA allows general insurance agents to also work for one standalone insurer. It means these agents are now diverting business from a general insurer to a standalone insurer. What could be the reason for agents to deflect the business? The commissions are same for renewal or new business; is there some other incentive offered by the standalone insurers? We don’t know. It could also be ex-agents of the insurance company who have details of clients and are using it for luring them with the portability bait.
It has also to do with company strategy to gain business from portability. Apollo Munich homepage has a link at the top to a portability guide, portability form, application form, etc. It has free portability reminder link on the homepage. Apollo Munich will send you a reminder email 60 days before your renewal along with a helpful guide on portability. In short, the company has taken proactive steps to gain from portability, which is a smart business strategy.
This nudge in business comes at a time when bancassurance exposure draft from IRDA brings cheer to standalone insurance companies. At present, one bank can sell products of any one insurer in the life and non-life segments. The draft allows one bank to tie up with one life, one non-life and one standalone health insurance company. This is a paradigm shift for standalone health insurers like Max Bupa, Apollo Munich and Star Health.
Interestingly, Moneylife has found some murmurs among private insurers about delays in getting medical and claim history from government-owned insurance companies. Some are saying it is just few days delay, instead of seven days it is taking 10-12 days. Others are saying that it is taking some about of follow-up to ensure government insurers are giving the information in timely manner. One insurer points out that it is taking longer than expected and they are handling it behind-the-scenes by talking with IRDA.
The volume of portability requests is low and hence the issues related to getting information from existing insurance companies have not reached a level of alarm. Once portability requests grow, it will be interesting to see if the delay in getting information from existing insurers leads to chaos. You can bet on it.
Some insurers have been tight-lipped about portability and did not want to divulge anything to Moneylife.
According to Fali Poncha, insurance industry veteran and executive chairman, IRICS Insurance Broking, “Despite best intentions on the past of the IRDA and a long journey of over a year, portability is likely to be more illusory than a reality. The need for portability is very real and IRDA’s recognition of the same is a step in the right direction. The real hurdle to making portability a success lies in the fact that the terms and conditions relating to pre-existing diseases (PED) and time-bound exclusions are not common to all insurers.”
Be prepared for a bumpy portability ride. It will work for simple and straightforward cases especially for young with no PED. For others, it is just an illusory offer from IRDA.
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Beware your smartphone may have some app installed in it, which might be sending your personal information to some unknown person
As technology goes to a new high, the perennial issue of privacy gets murkier. Even a small device like mobile phone could put you at risk. These ubiquitous cellphones could keep us under constant surveillance. According to a report from ConsumerAffairs.com, recently, Democratic US Senator for Minnesota, Al Franken, ordered an investigation into mobile software maker Carrier IQ after it was learnt that the company tracks and transmits personal information of the phone user- iPhones and Androids, without their knowing about it, through installed software. The company officially denied the charge.
Critics point out that given humongous sales of smartphones in India, and the weak surveillance systems in the country, Indian might also be at the risk of being monitored by some unauthorised people.
According to the report, “AT&T, Sprint, HTC, and Samsung have all confirmed that that their mobile phones integrate the Carrier IQ software.”
Back in India, an expert say that, for years now, during the confidential meetings in the US and the Europe, the attendees were asked to deposit their mobile phones outside, and it is a fact that people can listen to conversations in and around your mobile phone if they so desire, same is increasingly happening in India.
The software encrypts all sensitive data of the users, without informing them, including the location of the user, call records, letters typed while texting or browsing. All these personal data is then eventually sent back to the companies.
“Within the Indian context, where privacy is still not considered sacred, there is no dearth of providers who will do this for you for a fee,” says Veeresh Malik, veteran seaman and columnist of Moneylife. He explains, “As far as new generation smart phones are concerned, many of them happily hook in and exchange hand-shakes or even more with the nearest wireless network on continuous basis, even if the internet access is switched off.”
Sahil Baghla, president, Anti-Hacking Welfare Society, India, told Moneylife that, “Currently there are hackers, who can steal personal data from these smartphones. If this trend continues then in coming years, nothing will be secure. All the personal details, e-mails, phone banking will monitored by these foreign companies. There is an urgent need to strengthen our cyber security laws and surveillance system.”
In its recent exposure, WikiLeaks released documents showing that two Indian companies, Delhi based Shoghi, which monitors GSM communications and SMS keyword spotting and Indore-based Cleartrail Technologies which provides interception, analytic solution, and mass monitoring of IP among others. It tracks all the information of the people.
What could be the Solution for all this? Mr Malik believes that there is a great future for face to face meetings again, it seems, or manual typewriters. “Even photocopiers, printers and printer cartridges leave secret marks on paper so that they can be traced back to the printer or copier used, and since most printers or copiers are internet enabled devices now, through a variety of devices, it is easy to track back what was printed or photocopies back,” he said.
According to Yogesh Sapkale, deputy editor, Moneylife, ‘precaution’ is the keyword while dealing with security threats everywhere, be it smartphone or internet. He says, “Smartphone user need to be cautious and continuously monitor applications that are sending and receiving data in the background. In case of suspicion, either close that application or uninstall it. In addition, do not install apps received from unknown source or vendor.”