Stating that the merger of State Bank of Indore with SBI was in public interest, minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena added that State Bank of Indore customers, mainly in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, would have access to all 14,000 SBI branches across the country and abroad
New Delhi: The government today said the merger of State Bank of Indore with the State Bank of India (SBI) is in public interest, reports PTI.
The merger is in "overall public interest," minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena said replying to the debate on the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Amendment Bill, 2010 in Rajya Sabha.
"Now, they (State Bank of Indore customers) can deposit and withdraw money from all the branches of State Bank of India," he said.
The Upper House later passed the bill seeking to omit all references to the State Bank of Indore, which has been acquired by the SBI in July last year.
The minister said the merger would provide State Bank of Indore customers, mainly in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, access to entire 14,000 SBI branches across the country and abroad.
"Now, they can deposit and withdraw money from all the branches of State Bank of India," he said and added that the acquisition is in "overall public interest."
He assured the members that interest of the employees and retired employees would be protected.
To queries, Mr Meena said there were 86,000 branches of banks in the country out of which 32,000 were in rural areas.
"In recent times, the number of bank branches opened every year is around four to five thousand," he said.
Mr Meena said Indian banks were doing a "commendable job" and registering profits and performed similarly during the global recession period also.
"The credit for this goes to the regulator Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the banks," he added.
The insurer has been running a high-pitched ad campaign cajoling the ‘masses’ to buy more insurance. But a look at their official ‘claims settled’ and ‘claims repudiated’ ratios indicate that the insurer’s policy payouts have a lot of scope for improvement
Aegon Religare has had a long-running campaign on various media platforms, trying to 'educate' the general public on the need to take sufficient insurance cover. The actual advertisement shows Bollywood star Irrfan Khan highlighting the fact that the Indian masses tend to take less life insurance cover than what is required for them.
According to the insurer's ad, this (not taking sufficient life cover) is a disease in itself. So goes the catch-line in the usual ad voiceover baritone: (Not taking enough life cover) is 'Kum Insurance lene ki bimari' (the disease of taking less life cover).But herein lies the rub…
Aegon Religare can claim that the masses do not take sufficient life cover. But what about the total number of life insurance policy claims that the insurer has actually settled?
Let's keep this shrill campaign aside. According to figures released by insurance regulator IRDA's (the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) report for 2009-2010, the 'claims settled ratio' (the number of claims settled with respect to claims received) for Aegon Religare is a measly 48%, and the claims repudiated ratio (the number of claims rejected with respect to claims received) is as high as 44%.
It is clear from these IRDA figures that all Aegon Religare customers coming forward to take insurance cannot be guaranteed that their claims will be settled. Of course, claims settlement for a life policy depends on the details given in the offer document, like full and complete disclosure of pre-existing ailments, etc. That is because insurance contracts are signed on the condition of utmost good faith, both on part of the insurer and the policyholder.
But even a cursory glance at the figures provided by IRDA for the previous year (2008-09) clearly indicates that Aegon Religare has us wondering whether the insurer itself is suffering from 'kum insurance dene ki bimaari.' For the above year, Aegon Religare had not settled any of the claims that had been submitted to it. On top of that, the insurer repudiated 71% of the claims that had been submitted to it in the above period.
We'll leave the readers of Moneylife to decode the rationale behind Aegon's 'kum insurance lene ki bimari' ad campaign. If the 'claims settled' and the 'claims repudiated' ratios are so abysmal, why is the insurer 'educating' the masses through such high-profile campaigns?
Previously, (Max New York Life-Max fall in claims settlement ratio) Moneylife had pointed out how Max New York Life (MYNL) had settled 3,943 claims out of the 6,019 claims it had received in 2009-10; its claims settlement ratio had fallen from 90% (2008-09) to 65% (2009-10).
Despite the opening up of the insurance sector to private players, government behemoth Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) had a claims settled ratio of 96% and a low claim repudiation figure (just 1%) for 2009-10, according to the insurance regulator.
Among the other players, for the same period, these were the claims repudiation figures (HDFC Standard Life: 4% and ICICI Prudential: 3%) of total claims submitted. Other insurers, who have high claims repudiation figures include Future Generali (29%); IDBI Federal (23%), and Bharti AXA Life (22%), according to the IRDA report of 2009-10 quoted above.
High performers in claims settled include HDFC Standard Life (91%), ICICI Prudential (90%) and ING Vysya (89%), according to IRDA.
"I am just overwhelmed by the welcome I have received from the moment we got here. They treat me much better in India than they do in the United States," Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said during his interaction with the Karnataka chief minister
Bangalore: Indian hospitality on Wednesday received a strong endorsement from Warren Buffett, the world's third richest man, who said he was treated much better here than back in the US, reports PTI.
"I am just overwhelmed by the welcome I have received from the moment we got here. They treat me much better in India than they do in the United States," said the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway at a brief meeting with Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa early Wednesday morning.
"I want to transport all this... I believe in free trade," he said in a lighter vein.
"We had a great dinner last night (Tuesday night)... I met some very interesting people, had a great conversation. I couldn't feel more welcome and more delighted to be here," said Mr Buffet, who is staying at Taj West End during his visit to the country.
"This is my first trip to India and the first foot I placed on Indian soil was in Bangalore... and it won't be the last," said the 80-year-old billionaire.
"When I come back, I will be 100 in 2030," he joked, but quickly added that he planned to come back much before that and was hopeful of seeing business expand here by then.
"We want to be where the action is and the action is here," Mr Buffett, who on Tuesday admitted to having made a late entry into India, said.
Mr Buffett, who viewed a short presentation on investment opportunities in Karnataka and the Global Investors meet held in 2010, said he was impressed by the speed of implementation of the memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed during the Investors Meet.
"... It is very impressive," he said, lauding the efforts of the Karnataka government in facilitating the establishment of a Nestle food processing plant in a short timeframe of barely 10 months.
Mr Yeddyurappa extended an invitation to Mr Buffett to be the chief guest at the Global Investors Meet in 2012 during the nearly half-hour-long meeting.
The chief minister, attired in a formal suit, briefed Mr Buffett about the investment opportunities in Karnataka, the progressive policies of the state government, the close to 400 MoUs signed at the Global Investors Meet and the speedy implementation of several of the projects.
"I invite you to invest in Karnataka in different sectors and assure you all the support and coordination from our government," Mr Yeddyurappa told the legendary investor.
To a question as to what Karnataka needs to be doing to woo more investors, Mr Buffett said, "You are doing the right thing."
Asked what his own assessment was on the impact of the Japanese crisis on the re-insurance sector, he said, "It is very early to assess that."
"Much of the loss is uninsured... It is a wild guess at this point, but I would say that it will be probably be between half a billion and a billion dollars. To put that in perspective, Katrina (hurricane) cost us $3 billion and we are much larger. It is a significant amount of money, but it is not what I call a super catastrophe from the financial standpoint," he said, but added that it was a great tragedy from the human loss point of view.