Insurance
CERS compels public sector insurer to settle claim previously rejected on invalid grounds

The state commission ordered New India Assurance to pay Rs80 lakh within 30 days with interest at the rate of 9% and also asked to pay additional amount of Rs50,000 towards the litigation cost and Rs1,00,000 as compensation for the mental agony faced by the complainant

A tactical move by a government-owned general insurer to reject a valid claim of an amount as high as Rs80 lakh by making convenient interpretation of the terms & conditions of the insurance policy was blocked by intervention of nationally renowned consumer organization Consumer Education & Research Society (CERS), which filed a case on behalf of a Ahmedabad-based firm in Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Gujarat and got an order in favour of the complainant for the settlement of the claim.

 

The State Commission ordered New India Assurance to pay Rs80 lakh within 30 days with interest at the rate of 9% and also asked to pay additional amount of Rs50,000 towards the litigation cost and Rs1,00,000 as compensation for the mental agony faced by the complainant.

 

As per the case details, Doshion, providing solutions for water management, received a contract for installation of a desalination plant on turnkey basis from Kerala Minerals Metal in 2005. As prescribed in the bid document, the company got a standard fire & special perils policy covering risk of Rs29.25 crore including cover of Rs5 crore for construction materials and other stocks before commencing the work in 2006 from New India Assurance Company by paying a premium of Rs8.08 lakh.

 

Thereafter, during the progress of the work, the construction site was flooded by the sea water due to breach in a nearby earthen embankment and whole machineries and material mobilized for the work were destroyed. The development was immediately reported to the insurance company. As per the evaluation, the damage was to the tune of about Rs80 lakh and Doshion put up a claim of Rs86.93 lakh before the insurer. However, the claim was rejected saying that the site, where the damage was done, was different one from the place cited in the insurance policy.

 

As the move was illegal, Doshion approached CERS to intervene. After verifying all the details, CERS filed a complaint in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Gujarat State, Ahmedabad. On behalf on CERS, Apurva Dave appeared in the Commission. After hearing both parties through their counsels, the Commission rejected the argument made by New India Assurance company and passed an order in favour of the complainant asking the insurer to suitably compensate.

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A short rally likely, to be met by more selling? Weekly Market Report

While the market may go up in the first half of the week, rallies are likely to be met with selling

The Indian market closed the week with a loss of nearly 2% mainly on global concerns as investors the world over were worried about the US Federal Reserve tapering its bond buying initiative following signs of an uptick in the world’s largest economy. The falling rupee, which is seen as one of the reasons for foreign investors pulling out funds from domestic equities, was also another factor that led to the decline in the market this week. Local investors will focus on key economic indicators like industrial output, CPI inflation and WPI inflation in the coming week.

 

The Sensex dropped 331 points (1.68%) to 19,429 and the Nifty ended the week at 5,881, a decline of 105 points (1.75%). The benchmarks settled in the red on four out of the five trading days in the week, with a positive close on Wednesday. While the market may go up in the first half of the week, rallies are likely to be met with selling.

 

A sell-off in oil & gas, power and consumer durables stocks and weak global cues led the market down on Monday. Pressure from consumer durables, banking and realty stocks saw the market paring its early gains and settling lower on Tuesday. The market indices closed marginally higher on Wednesday on buying in select blue chip stocks.

 

Concerns of a weakening rupee led the market lower on Thursday. The market pared its gains in late trade on selling pressure from rate-sensitive sectors and ended in the negative on Friday.

 

BSE IT and BSE TECk (up 1% each) were the top gainers in the sectoral space. The main losers were BSE Consumer Durables (down 4%) and BSE Auto (down 2%).

 

Major Sensex gainers in the week were Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (up 5%), Wipro (up 3%), Infosys, TCS (up 2% each) and Larsen & Toubro (up 1%). HDFC (down 6%), BHEL, Hero MotoCorp, Sterlite Industries (down 5% each) and Bajaj Auto (down 4%) were the main losers on the index.

 

The Nifty was led by Dr Reddy’s (up 5%), Reliance Infrastructure (up 4%), Lupin (up 3%), DLF and IDFC (up 2% each). The key losers in the week were Asian Paints, Sesa Goa, HDFC, Ambuja Cements and BHEL (down 6% each).

 

The HSBC India manufacturing PMI moderated to 50.1 in May from 51 in April. Though the May reading was the lowest since March 2009, the overall index has held above the 50 level that divides growth from contraction.

 

The HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index for the services industry inched up to 53.6 in May, signalling a solid expansion in output, one that was the fastest in three months. The index had registered 50.7 in April. The services sector expanded largely driven by higher levels of new work placed at private sector firms in India, the HSBC survey said.

 

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill for setting up a regulator for the real estate sector. The proposed bill seeks to provide a uniform regulatory environment to the sector. It also intends to make it mandatory for developers to launch projects only after acquiring all statutory clearances from relevant authorities.

 

In corporate news, Reliance Industries (RIL) on Thursday announced an investment of Rs1.5 lakh crore in core business of petrochemicals and oil and gas as well as in retail and telecom sectors in the next three years.

 

The very next day RIL chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani announced a Rs12,000 crore deal with his younger sibling’s Reliance Communications for sharing the latter’s telecom towers across the country. As per the agreement, RJio would utilise up to 45,000 ground and rooftop based towers across RCom's nationwide network for accelerated rollout of its state-of-the-art 4G wireless broadband services.

 

In international news, the Labor Department data showed US employers added 175,000 jobs in May. But unemployment ticked up by one tenth of a percentage point to 7.6% and April’s job-growth figure was revised downward. While investors agree the Fed will have to pull out its supportive measures eventually, the timing and process the central bank uses has become a central concern for money managers across the world.

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Merger of associate banks can start by September, says SBI chief

The high-powered committee headed by SBI managing director S Vishwanathan would submit its report by July-August, and later based on the report the merger process could start by September, SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters

State Bank of India on Friday said the proposed merger of its five associate banks with itself could start by September after a high-powered committee submits its report on the same.

 

The high-powered committee headed by SBI managing director S Vishwanathan would submit its report by July-August, and later based on the report the merger process could start by September, SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters.

 

State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, and State Bank of Travancore would be the target associate banks for merger, Chaudhuri said.

 

Out of five associate banks, three are listed, and two are in the direct ownership of SBI, he said, adding “we would take non-discriminatory way to decide and choose merger of any of the five associate banks. It would be a long process that would take employees’ confidence and participation”.

 

SBI’s capital was not so strong earlier, but with the March balance sheet the capital became very strong and for merger there should be a cash of Rs1,000-Rs3,000 crore, he said.

 

SBI did the first ever amalgamation of its associate State Bank of Saurashtra in 2008 followed by State Bank of Indore in August 2010.

 

On gold, whose large imports have widened the current account deficit, he said that RBI and government should take necessary steps to curb the demand for the precious metal.

 

Banks get just Rs5 on one gram of gold sold besides providing purity of gold to customers, the SBI chairman said.

 

Finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has advised banks not to sell gold coins to retail customers.

 

On loans to troubled carrier Kingfisher, Chaudhuri said that despite SBI’s efforts the airline could not stand up again, hence the recovery was underway against it.

 

“We are selling its shares, whereas the real estate disposal needed legal procedure and require auction and best bidder,” he said.

 

Saddled with an over Rs7,000 crore bank debt, besides dues to various stakeholders, Kingfisher reported net loss at Rs2,141.80 crore for the March quarter 2013.

 

The SBI Chairman expressed serious concerns that the country’s growth rate was reduced below 5%.

 

The RBI is balancing inflation and growth rate, he said, adding if the growth rate is ignored, it would bring very dangerous results.

 

“I think liquidity be raised, CRR be cut down, and raise the export credit which was very slow or halted,” he said.

 

Corporate segment is relatively low in the area of new investment, he said when asked on comment on corporate banks' role.

 

He also said that after getting success in opening new bank branches in the population density of 2,000, the bank would reach the smallest villages having human population of 1,000, and open ATMs and branches where ever possible.

 

“We want every one has not only a bank account but he or she should operate other products like insurance, mutual fund,” he said.

 

On new employment generation, SBBJ opened over 2,100 new jobs, while SBI gave 20,000 new jobs last year, the chairman said.

 

On a question the chairman said, “SBI is planning credit growth not less than 20% “.

 

Referring to SBBJ Annual General Meeting, Chaudhuri said shareholders expressed great satisfaction over the bank's growth and plans though it had NPA at 3.26%.

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