Draft norms on health insurance portability by February

New Delhi: Health insurance policy holders, feeling let down due to poor services, will have the choice to switch over to another company with the same conditions under the insurers portability option to be formulated by the Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) next month, reports PTI.

"Draft guidelines on portability of health insurance policies will be issued by February-end," IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan told reporters on the sidelines of IBAI summit.

Currently, there is portability on motor insurance policies.

"Under portability, the financial bonuses, pre-existing disease requirement will also get carry forward," Mr Narayan said.

The insurance regulator has been planning to come out with guidelines for portability under which mediclaim policy holders, who are not satisfied with the services, will be able to switch service providers at the same premium.


Montek not worried over November IIP dip, hopeful of 8.5% growth

New Delhi: Notwithstanding the sharp decline in industrial growth in November, the Plan panel in India Wednesday exuded confidence that the country would end the current fiscal with targeted gross domestic product (GDP) growth of over 8.5%, reports PTI.

"I am not concerned about low November number. There is month to month volatility. We are on track as far as GDP growth is concerned," Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters here.

Industrial growth plunged to 2.7% in November 2010 against 11.3% in the same period a year-ago. In October 2010, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had expanded by 11.29%.

The industrial growth during April-November of this fiscal stood at 9.5%, against 7.4% in the corresponding period last year.

Mr Ahluwalia said, "The cumulative (industrial growth) number (April-November) is about 9.5%, that is very reasonable considering the overall (GDP) growth (target) we have."

About ending the fiscal with over 10% industrial growth this fiscal, he said, "I hope that we would get 10% industrial growth with 8.5% or little higher GDP growth in 2010-11."

About the wild swings in monthly industrial growth data, he said, "In the data for week or month, there will always be more volatility than for longer period."

The industrial production growth which had crossed 15% in July, dipped to 6.9% in August and further to 4.4% in September.


Tyre makers expected to hike prices on surging raw material costs

Industry players suggest a phased increase in prices as rubber input costs continue to impact margins

Tyre manufacturers may increase the prices of their products this month as rubber input costs continue to climb in the domestic and international markets. The increase in prices of tyres is likely to be in the range of 3%-5%, according to industry players and analysts.

"Prices of rubber have touched a fresh record level in both the international and domestic markets. Tyre companies are expected to increase prices of tyres this month. It's difficult to predict the quantum of the hike, but it could be between 3% and 5%," said an analyst at a Mumbai-based research firm, who requested anonymity.

"Of course, we are under pressure due to rising prices of rubber in the domestic market. We are monitoring the raw material prices and if rubber prices go up then it will push tyre prices too," RK Agarwal, head of marketing, Modi Tyres, told Moneylife. But Mr Agarwal did not give an estimate of the quantum of increase.

Apollo Tyres, Ceat and Bridgestone already hiked prices of their products by 1%-2% in December.

"We are expecting an average hike of 3% this month," said a Mumbai-based distributor of one of the country's major tyre makers.

On Tuesday, rubber prices touched Rs216 a kg in the Kottayam and Kochi markets. Prices have increased about 25% within the past three months in the domestic and international markets, mainly due to lower output in the main rubber-producing countries.

"Margins of tyre companies are under pressure and to maintain the current margin level tyre manufacturers will have to increase prices by 8%-10%," Surjit Arora, analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher told Moneylife.

However, such a steep increase may not be viable due to high competition not only among Indian players, but also from Chinese manufacturers. Companies may not be able to pass on the full hike and they may take a hit in operating margins in this quarter, according to analysts.

Experts suggest that the price increase will happen in a phased manner as a large one-time hike could cause lower demand. In the April- December 2010 period, tyre manufacturers increased prices by around 12%.

"One round of a price hike of 3%-5% would happen in this month, although this would not be sufficient to maintain margins," Mr Arora said.

Rubber prices have edged up daily over the past month as unseasonal rain in the major rubber-producing countries interrupted tapping and plantation work, resulting in a fall in arrivals. The slow supply in the market has agitated rubber prices globally


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