Maruti reports first monthly sales rise since May 2011

In January this year, the national capital-based Maruti Suzuki India sold 1,01,047 units in the domestic market against 1,00,422 units in January 2011.

The country's largest car-maker Maruti Suzuki has made a turnaround in monthly sales after seven consecutive months of drop, with the company reporting 5.18% rise in sales to 1,15,433 units for January 2012. The company had sold 1,09,743 units in the same month last year, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said in a statement. MSI's sales had declined for the seventh consecutive month in December 2011 with the firm reporting 7.1% fall at 92,161 units.

In January this year, the national capital-based company sold 1,01,047 units in the domestic market against 1,00,422 units in January, 2011. In a similar fashion, MSI's exports increased by 54.34% to 14,386 units in January, from 9,321 units in the year-ago period, the company added. Total passenger car sales in the domestic market went up by 2.42% to 88,377 units last month from 86,285 units in the same month of 2011, it added. However, sales of the company's mini-segment cars, including the M800, A-Star, Alto and WagonR, fell by 2.38% to 52,036 units from 53,304 units in January, 2011.

In the compact segment (comprising the Estilo, Swift and Ritz models), MSI witnessed a 22.35% up in sales to 25,756 units from 21,051 units in the same month a year ago. Sales of MSI's DZiRE model, however, decreased by 11.61% to 8,637 units from 9,771 units in the corresponding period a year ago.

In addition, MSI's mid-sized sedan SX4's sales slipped by 9.77% to 1,939 units from 2,149 units in the year-ago month. Luxury sedan Kizashi witnessed sales of 9 units.

In the late afternoon, Maruti Suzuki India was trading at around Rs1210.90 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.97% up from the previous close.


‘Companies try to reduce cost of employee health benefits:’ Periscope survey 2011

“Employees’ health benefits changes are driven primarily by cost concerns and a desire to infuse employees with a sense of responsibility:” Periscope survey 2011 by Vantage Insurance  Brokers.

Periscope Survey 2011 is a survey by Vantage Insurance Brokers and is a combination of employer survey, insurer survey and trend survey with respect to health insurance benefits provided to employees by employers. The key areas include benefits, claims, premiums and insurance partners.

The key findings of the survey include the fact that the most important objective behind changes made to benefits has been to contain costs. However, employers also stressed that it is equally important to make the employees more responsible towards usage of the health benefits. Room rental restriction is the most popular risk control measure with 87% of the employers adopting this restriction in the policy in 2011.

Co-payment on claims is the second-most popular risk control measure and it has been adopted by 45% of the employers. Cost sharing measures seem to be gaining popularity amongst employers with co-pay/ deductible and premium contribution by employees emerging as the most common change planned for 2012 or later.

While employers believe that the benefits of voluntary parents policy have been well - communicated and that their employees have embraced it as a positive step, the data shows a significant disconnect. Employers, on an average, believe that 42% of their employees have opted for this benefit whereas the actual average enrolment, as revealed through the data analysis, is significantly lower at 19%.

Cashless claims have risen 26% over the two year period between 2008 and 2010 while re-imbursement claims have gone up 9% in the same period. This represents an annualized increase of approx. 10% in average claim size for these 2 years. The survey analysis suggests an upward trend in the average claim size with the increasing sum insured. 60% of the surveyed employers are seeking to control claims through employee awareness. 50% of the employers surveyed are looking at implementing health and wellness initiatives to encourage employees to take better care of their health.


Aegon Religare expects new insurance product to boost online sale

“Currently around 10% of our business, with regard to total plans sold, comes from the online segment:” Aegon Religare Life Insurance CMO.

Life insurance firm Aegon Religare is looking to sell at least 15-20% of its policies through online distribution within two years on the back of its new protection product. The company, which has announced the launch its new online protection plan 'iTerm', also said that it has filed for approval to start a plan focusing on the health segment.

"We ventured into the online distribution segment in 2009 with launch of the Aegon Religare iTerm plan. Now we have a new and improved version of the plan. Currently around 10% of our business, with regard to total plans sold, comes from the online segment. With the new and improved version we expect the numbers to go up to 15-20% within 18-24 months," Aegon Religare Life Insurance chief marketing officer Yateesh Srivastava said. He also said that Aegon Religare has approached the sector regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority for launching a new product.

"This will be a health plan. We have applied for the approval but at this moment I cannot say by when we are likely to secure it," Srivastava said. Regarding the new product, he said it will have the longest policy term in the industry and will extend to the age of 75 years for policyholders. The entry age for the new iTerm is between 18-65 years and the maximum maturity would be 75 years. The minimum sum assured is Rs10 lakh and the policy term is between 5 to 57 years.

The minimum premium for the ITerm plan is Rs1,675 for regular policy and Rs7,075 for single policy and the premium could be paid both in single or annual instalments.

The policy would be available in about 85 cities across the country where Aegon Religare has branches. For the new plan, customers can also avail facility for electronically uploading PAN cards and other documents.

The original iTerm launched in 2009 has sold over 19,000 policies and secured a total sum assured of Rs9,410 crore.

"Of course, with added features, we expect the new iTerm to be even more successful. Besides, with internet penetration likely to reach 300 million citizens in India within two years, we expect a lot from the online segment," Srivastava said.


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