Private insurers have more death claims than LIC: FM

The outstanding number of death claims, as on 31 March 2009, as a percentage of total number of claims intimated to the companies in 2008-09, stood at 7.75% for private firms while the same for LIC was 2.21%.

Private sector insurance firms have more than three times the outstanding number of death claims on individual insurance policies compared to state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said that the outstanding number of death claims, as on 31 March 2009, as a percentage of total number of claims intimated to the companies in 2008-09, stood at 7.75% for private firms.

The same for state-run LIC was 2.21%, he said. For group policies, private sector companies had 3.93% outstanding claims while LIC had 0.24%.

Mr Mukherjee said that private sector insurance companies started operations eight years back while LIC has been in business since 1956.

Detailed investigation is carried out in case of early insurance claims, he said, adding that claims made to private firms fall under this category since they have been in operations for 8-10 years only.

"There certainly is a difference (between outstanding claims with private and public sector firms). This difference will have to be looked into but forming a committee for this is not a solution," he said.

The government's role, he said, was limited to providing a level playing field for both private and public sector firms. Minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena said that there were 23 insurance companies operating in India, of which 22 were private sector firms.

He said claim pendency ratio of private firms was higher than LIC but it has come down due to intervention of sector regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

The pendency ratio of private firms was 13.32% in 2006 which came down to 10.88% in 2007 and to 7.75% in 2008-09, he said, hoping that this would be reduced further in coming years.
 

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India’s logistics performance index plummets to 47

The capacity of countries to efficiently move goods and connect manufacturers and consumers with international markets is improving around the world, but much more is needed to spur faster economic growth and help firms benefit from trade recovery, says the World Bank

The government has come out with an ambitious plan of adding 20 km of roads/day to improve the abysmal state of road infrastructure in the country. Various port authorities are planning to add a capacity of 1 billion tonnes per annum by 2012. Metros are laying out their mass rapid transit schemes. However, India continues to drop down the scale of logistics performance in a seemingly free fall. Even war-ravaged Lebanon has managed to sport a better logistics performance index (LPI) of 33 compared to this nation’s tired 47th rank.

India has scaled down on the World Bank LPI survey ranking to 47 in 2010 from 39 in 2007. Not only India, a majority of South Asian countries’ LPI ranking amongst 155 countries has been depressing. However, India continues to be the top performer in South Asia.

Germany, Singapore, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have emerged as the top five rankers in the LPI survey. In 2007, India ranked 39th on the LPI.

The capacity of countries to efficiently move goods and connect manufacturers and consumers with international markets is improving around the world, but much more is needed to spur faster economic growth and help firms benefit from trade recovery, according to a new World Bank Group survey on trade logistics.

Germany is the top performer among the 155 economies ranked in the Logistics Performance Index (LPI), in the report ‘Connecting to Compete 2010: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy’.

“Economic competitiveness is relentlessly driving countries to strengthen performance, and improving trade logistics is a smart way to deliver more efficiencies, lower costs and spur economic growth,” said World Bank group president Robert B Zoellick.

The report, headed by World Bank economists Jean Francois Arvis and Monica Alina Mustra, notes that among developing economies, logistics performance transcends the level of per capita income. Many countries perform better than what their income levels would suggest. The ten most significant over-performers include China (27), India (47), Uganda (66), Vietnam (53), Thailand (35), the Philippines (44), and South Africa (28).

In terms of how developing countries are doing per region, South Africa (28) is the top performer from Africa; China (27) from East Asia; Poland (30) from Central and Eastern Europe; Brazil (41) from Latin America; Lebanon (33) from the Middle East; and India (47) from South Asia, the survey report said.

Amongst the other South Asian countries, Afghanistan has improved from its 150th ranking in 2007 to the 143rd ranking in 2010. Bhutan continues at rank 128. Nepal’s ranking has dropped from 130 in 2007 to 147 in 2010. Pakistan’s ranking has fallen to 110 in 2010 from 68 in 2007. Sri Lanka’s rankings have also scaled down to 137 in 2010 from 92 in 2007. However, Bangladesh has surprised with an improvement to the 79th position in the LPI rankings in 2010 from the 87th position in 2007.

According to the report, South Asia’s port services are very inefficient, and thus a serious constraint upon unlocking the region’s full potential. Unfortunately, trade facilitation in South Asia has not received the attention it deserves, but it is gaining prominence in policy circles as well as in the popular media.

The World Bank conducts the LPI survey every two years. The report presents the findings of the second edition of ‘Connecting to Compete’, a report on the new dataset for the 2010 Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and its component indicators.
 

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Go easy on social networking

Computer scientists and policy experts say that seemingly innocuous bits of self-revelation that users of various social networking tools post online can increasingly be collected and reassembled by computers to help create a picture of a person’s identity, sometimes down to a Social Security number.

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