A safety-first approach to personal finance that the financial industry has no interest in...
If we could make our work our play we would be eternally happy. Loving what one gets is healthier than trying to get what one loves
“False science creates atheists; true science prostrates Man before divinity”—Voltaire
The best time of one’s life is here and now. Human kind, in the present century of hi-tech revolution, makes itself miserable by living in the prison of either the past or the future. In the rat race to earn more and more, we lose sight of the real pleasures of life like spending time with our near and dear ones or doing what we would love to do. If we could make our work our play we would be eternally happy. Loving what one gets is healthier than trying to get what one loves. Many of us are so conceited that we live in a make-believe world.
I met an old acquaintance lately who had lost himself in his own world of living an artificial life of borrowed affluence. He always boasts about his expensive car and his wonderful house that surpasses all others in that locality. He believes that he is somebody very important in that society. Naturally, he is always so tense that he pops in a couple of blood pressure lowering pills and rests content that his pressure is under control with the tablets! I had learnt a good quote that applies to that gentleman. If one wants to be somebody, one must start believing that one is a nobody. One could even go to greater lengths by allowing oneself to look stupid to humor others—that is the key to comedy.
The present era is full of contradictions. While at one end there are the go-getters trying to burn their candles at both ends, there are equal number of fanatics who try to decelerate time. An organization by name Bra, in Italy, is one such place where their members cook their own food and take time to eat healthy. The “Slow Food Movement” is catching up with the affluent and the fast food chains are worried. Time was when the versatile British prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone, wrote a book on chewing. His hypothesis was that if one were to chew each morsel 200 times, one would be very healthy! Poor man did not have any ‘scientific’ training but he believed in his innate intuition. Lo and behold, this book gave us a scientific jolt in the area of human nutrition in the last century.
Centuries later there was a group of fanatic students at the Yale University Medical School who wanted to try Gladstone’s experiment. Along with the students lived their bio-chemistry professor in the dorm. He was a crazy guy himself. He was watching the boys trying to chew every morsel 200 times. He noticed that the boys ended up with less than 15 gm of protein per day, in contrast to the then prevailing wisdom of one gm per kilo body weight, based on the Nazi secrets of the Second World War. The professor kept a prospective watch on these students and found out at the end of their four years there that they were healthier than the conventional eaters. That is the beginning of the present day thinking that low protein vegetarian foods are healthier. Western science of nutrition is based on very shaky foundation of incrementalism and that is why it keeps changing so fast!
If one tries to meditate in a quiet place—mediation being a non-religious activity anyone, even atheists could indulge in it—one would soon enjoy listening to his own breath. The joy of knowing and following one’s breathing pattern is something unique and makes one so tranquil that elevates the mood even of the depressed souls. When you graduate further you could listen to your heart beating rhythmically. The more one goes inside of oneself, the more he/she gets to understand the real meaning of life. Mediation needs two things in particular—the time and the timing. Beyond that it only needs one to cut off as many stimuli to the brain as is possible. Simply shutting one’s eyes would do the trick. One need not, and cannot, control the thoughts. Thoughts come and go like a child playing in the room. Leave the thoughts alone and they would bring peace within—sooner than later.
In Tokyo there is a new type of school that teaches children alternative methods of learning with pleasure at leisure compared to their peers in other schools. The students from that school have not done any worse than the conventionally schooled children—in fact, they do better in life. The motto of the school is better now. When one is on the fast track, life passes by. It is only when one gets to the slow lane; life gets meaning and becomes enjoyable. This is the secret of healthy life. One also realizes one’s responsibilities to society. “Only those live that live for others, rest of us are more dead than alive,” said Swami Vivekananda. Modern bio-technology tells us that even trying to help others gives the best impetus for our immune guard to be at its best to protect us against all ills and also to help us repair the damage done already. Live in the present and LIVE HEALTHY!
“Some people are making such thorough preparation for the rainy days that they aren’t enjoying today’s sunshine”—William Feather.
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Reliance Life Plus has launched a major initiative to forge a closer relationship with its customers by meeting them at least one more time beside the premium collection visit. But as Moneylife’s cover story in April this year showed, it has to correct past mischief first
Reliance Life Insurance Company (RLIC) is touting it as first-of-its-kind customer service initiative by any insurer in India. It says, “Reliance Life Plus is aimed at creating a family of happy customers by forging a closer and long-term relationship with them. Agents and advisors will go back and meet each customer at least once in a year beyond their premium collection visit.” The idea is that they will utilize this time to understand the customer’s need and advise them on products that are based on the customer’s lifecycle and changing insurance needs. Inspired by ‘Zutto Motto’ (forever more service) service at Nippon Life Insurance, RLIC has made it mandatory for its 1.5 lakh representatives, including employees, a advisors and channel partners, to visit its policyholders at least once in year. How feasible is this? And how will the company ensure that the visits will be used to sell appropriate products and not merely enhance their income through mis-selling?
Regular readers of Moneylife magazine (Read Moneylife cover story 19 April 2012) http://www.moneylife.in/article/how-you-can-get-ripped-off-by-the-staff-of-insurance-company-themselves/25064.html) would recall our cover story on how a not-very-savvy customer was royally cheated by officials of Reliance Insurance. The documents perused by us showed mis-selling as well as fraud, forged signatures, incorrect personal information and fictitious witness. The insurance regulator is still investigating the case.
RLIC policyholder Arvind Injamuri, who has paid a hefty Rs12 lakh for a single-premium Highest NAV ULIP policies is no longer welcome at Colaba branch of the company ever since he began to complain about being cheated. Isn’t it ironical that the same company now wants employees and agents to forge closer ties with customers without resolving that particular case?
RLIC employee sold Mr Injamuri policies by dangling the false carrot of a TVS Scooty Pep available on bringing in policy premiums of Rs7.5 lakh as part of the very lucrative Fantastic Contest that the company was running for its advisors. Will the same employee be asked to visit Mr Injamuri as part of the first step of Reliance Life Plus’ initiative of ‘forever more service’? The Scooty was one of the schemes that insurers run for their agents and distributors to bring in business. Other incentives have included iPads and Honda City cars and they only tempt agents and employees to mis-sell products that carry the best goodies.
If a RLIC employee can indulge in blatant mis-selling and still keep job, what can you expect from an agent or a distributor? In many cases, they don’t even take the calls from the customer to whom they mis-sold a product. Will they really go back and meet the same customer who is ready to bash them up for mis-selling? As our report showed, this is not the only instance of such mis-selling.
Interestingly, Reliance Life Plus’ press release quotes Malay Ghosh, president and executive director, RLIC, “In the absence of an effective service mechanism, the domestic industry is facing issues on both orphan policies and complaints on mis-selling. We will be able to further plug gaps through our post-sales service initiative and reduce chances of mis-selling or complaints through constant interaction with customers. If an agent has to go back to a customer after the sale, the chances of mis-selling reduce dramatically.”
In another development, RLIC will hire nearly 50,000 advisors and 5,500 full-time insurance consultants this fiscal to negate any impact of high attrition and to sustain growth. The big question is whether the Reliance Life Plus initiative and upcoming new agent hires will help in reducing chances of mis-selling or actually increase it? Agents going back to meet the customer every year beyond just premium collection will obviously have a hidden agenda to sell more products.
There is already a trend across the life insurance industry to push traditional products just based on higher commission. The fact is that insurance companies’ ratio of traditional to ULIP sales has now made a complete reversal (i.e. traditional versus ULIP sales of 30:70 ratio before Sep 2010 ULIP guidelines is now at 70:30) only tells that it is not customer’s needs, but an agent’s need for higher commission that determines sales. Only time will tell if Reliance Life Plus is the same old trick with a new name.