Saturday, October 25, 2008

Advantages of Online Auto Insurance

Many people think of buying auto insurance online but do not know about which is the best way to find the most suitable auto insurance for them which would fulfill all their needs and requirements. There are a number of advantages of buying auto insurance online and hence a person must seek these advantages before making any decision regarding his auto insurance policy. The biggest advantage of buying auto insurance online is that it helps the person to save a lot of money which he can utilize somewhere else like in the maintenance of his vehicle. People think that all the auto insurance companies are same and offer similar deals regarding the auto insurance. But the fact is that all the auto insurance companies are quite different from each other and offer different dealings to their customers.

The premium amount of the auto insurance which has to be paid during the purchase of an auto insurance can vary from one company to another. By purchasing auto insurance online, a person can easily and quickly compare quotes from a number of companies and make sure that he is getting the best price possible for him to get during an insurance deal. Moreover, when a person purchases auto insurance online, then he gets to save a lot of time. He does not have to make phone calls to each and every insurance company’s office and ask for appointments. He also does not have to go to various offices and sit there for hours waiting for his name to come up for the appointment and then only he would be able to make dealings with the company regarding the auto insurance. So basically, purchasing auto insurance online, a person gets to save a lot of time.

Buying an auto insurance online can prove to be a more safe and reliable way than doing it through an agent or visiting the company office directly. If a person would do direct dealing with the company then it might happen that the company would not disclose all their clauses during the deal signing and also they would do manipulations in the premium amount. But in online auto insurance, everything is computerized and calculations are done by computer. Nothing is done manually at all so there is no chance of mistakes. This makes the online way much safer and reliable than the manual way of purchasing auto insurance

What does term insurance mean? Before you purchase a term life insurance policy it is very important that you understand what it is.

The word "term" means that there is a specific period of time that you are going to have coverage and when that period ends the coverage also ends. When the term has expired you will need to find a new insurance policy.

In the insurance parlance, Annuitant is defined as a person who benefits from a pension or annuity. The advantage of the annuity is that it provides a higher payment of the current value at the time of death. In case an individual dies before the policy period is over, the beneficiaries are the heirs who receive the accumulated amount of the annuity. The payments are subject to income and estate taxes.

There are some factors which affect insurance terms and rates-

Date of birth is the important factor which is used to determine the annuitant's age. If the annuitant is relatively young, the period of insurance will be long and therefore the premium will be low. Another aspect that an insurance company looks into is the sex of the annuitant. Women generally tend to live longer then men for which the insurance company has to budget in a different way.

Which insurance is good for you? There are two type of insurance, first is term life insurance and second is whole life insurance. Term life insurance protects your family from outstanding debts including mortgage. If you are interested in building cash value over a period, then whole life insurance is the better option

Please keep in mind that the longer the "term" policy is the more expensive it will be. The insurance companies know this and use this information as one part of the equation in determining your insurance rates.

We hope those people who for site where they can get good information about term life insurance quote online. To do it, you have to fill an information form online and submit it. No website selling your information to a bunch of insurance agents and thus you do not get bothered for weeks by multiple agents calling your house.

The media is full of stories on how non-life insurers, especially the PSU behemoths, are avoiding taking new consumers in health insurance as the health insurance business is reportedly not profitable. On the other hand, we see widespread campaigns by life insurers, including LIC, advertising the benefits of their newly launched health insurance plans. These new health insurance plans advertised so widely by life insurers have brought much needed public attention to this vital insurance segment.

As a consumer, you could be forgiven for being confused. Allow us to throw some light on this and clear this confusion.

The first aspect you need to understand is that the term 'Health Insurance' is a catch-all term that covers three distinct kinds of health policies.

There is the health policy that reimburses you the actual hospitalization cost for treatment of any disease, offered only by non-life insurers. These kinds of policies are popularly called "Mediclaim" policies (Mediclaim is actually a brand name but has now become a generic term for such policies).

Then there are two other types of health insurance plans offered - by both life insurers and non-life insurers.

One can loosely be referred to as a "Hospitalization Policy," where you primarily get a daily allowance for every day spent in the hospital. Some policies also provide higher daily allowance for stay in intensive care (the ICU). Yet others have a provision for a lump sum payment if you undergo any of the surgical procedures covered in the policy.

The other type of health insurance cover offered by life insurers and non-life insurers are the critical illness covers. Given the increased stress and strain of modern life as well as unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles, most of us are becoming increasingly prone to serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart attacks, organ failure, strokes, etc. Advances in modern medicine ensure that most of us survive these illnesses. This survival, however, comes at a cost - a serious dent in our ability to earn (salary or from business). Critical illness cover steps in here and pays off a lump sum benefit - that helps in protecting your current lifestyle.

Most life insurers have long offered these covers as riders (Riders are covers for additional risks or to enhance existing risk covers). Now these critical illness covers are also being offered as stand-alone policies to cover the risks of specific kinds of critical illness such as say, cancer. These policies are recommended, at the very least, for income earners - contracting a critical illness has a huge financial impact on their future income.

A very relevant question at this point would be:

Do I require a hospitalization policy if I already have a Mediclaim policy?

The Mediclaim policy only reimburses the expenditure incurred in the actual treatment of the disease/illness at the hospital. There are several other expenses that are typically incurred, which the Mediclaim policy does not reimburse. Expenses such as travel, attendant's lodging, loss of income (for both the patient and/or the attendant), pre-hospitalization diagnostic tests, medicines, etc. can run up to as much as 30-40% of the total cost of treatment of a disease or illness. A hospitalization policy takes care of these expenses.

Life insurance companies have done a great job in bringing this topic of health insurance to the forefront of consumer consciousness and hopefully each one of you (unlike our earlier generation which mostly left it to God) will cover your health risks adequately.

We have put together a table that gives you an easy comparison of the various features in each type of policy, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of life insurers and non-life insurers offering these products.

As you will find, the policies offered by life insurers are actually in addition to, not replacing Mediclaim policies.

Remember, it is an absolute must that you and your dependents have adequate cover on your Mediclaim policy. It cannot be replaced by any other kind of policy.

When you are setting up your photography business, you should ensure adequate protection for your business by insuring your profession against any likely risks with Photographers insurance. By opting for a PI Insurance you can cover all your legal and fiscal liabilities. A small expense on Professional indemnity or PI insurance will provide you immense peace of mind and will insure your liabilities, errors and omissions.

In your routine photography business also you require photographers’ insurance coverage against claims made against occurrence of accidences during a photographic session. You are liable for the personal injury sustained by your customer on the way to your studio or home. You become indirectly responsible for the errors not committed by you.

As a professional photographer you may commit errors and omissions from the first stage of taking photographs to the last stage of finishing the image and delivery to the customer. You may lose the film due to your fault or on the part of the processor. The photo images may also be lost or damage while in transit, shipping, private careers or postal system. The images may be lost in the cyberspace or you may send the photo images to an incorrect party.

You need a PI insurance cover according to the type of work environment and your models. It may happen that your model may be struck by a stray horse or lightning at an outside location during a photography session. The insurance policy should ideally cover the photography equipment in the place of your working area. With the photographers insurance you can protect not only camera and lenses, but a host of other equipments such as fax machine, computer and your software.

Photographers insurance or PI insurance has a unique target market with great potential for growth. Special insurance policies are designed especially to meet the needs of commercial photographers. The PI insurance coverage is essential for every photography business to meet the risks of coverage for photography equipment, cost coverage for replacement of studio contents. To get the best value for your hard earned money you can also combine the PI insurance with other types of insurance. Photography insurance keeps your photography business well and alive should a misfortune happen and cause loss or damage to your equipment, whether at your studio or round the world.

Most of the employees working for any organization find health insurance coverage as a part of the package they receive from the company. The question, however, arises for the one who are involved in their own business or, in other words, are self employed. Who makes health insurance coverage for these people then? When looking at it practically, the self employed people are the soul of their business. If these people are left uninsured, any unforeseen circumstances might render the business itself incapable. Hence, getting yourself insured becomes the first and foremost responsibility for self employed people.

When self employed people are shopping for a health insurance, it is extremely important to research well and opt for the best deal possible. Apart from getting quotes from the insurance companies on foot, you can also try the faster and sure shot method of getting quotes online. While getting quotes is quite easy, what comes next is the biggest challenge in getting you a health insurance.

The market offers many deals and products to the self employed for health insurance. Which product will prove to be the best is the biggest possible question that many users worldwide have faced extreme difficulty in answering. While some made a wrong choice, others were too boggled to finally drop thinking of a health insurance. So what is it that makes for the best health insurance product for a self employed? Read on for more!

While it is easier to find one a health insurance in a younger age without any ailments, as the age increases and the ailments start increasing too, getting yourself a health insurance becomes tougher by the day. For the same reasons, for those who are working alone in their business, getting the advantage of a group insurance will help. Joining an association that provides for insurance to all its group members will help you get the necessary coverage. Apart from this, there are many companies offering various schemes for the risk pools, that is, those people who are in the danger zone. If you appear well on their criteria, you can manage to bag a health insurance scheme for yourself.

Meanwhile, self employed people, who are in the safe zone of the health insurance companies, are also eligible to use the medical savings account (MSA), which is legalized by the rule book offered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The MSA help in reducing the premiums for the health insurance while also allowing you to use the money from pre-taxation to pay for your medical bills and expenses. By opting for a high deductible plan, you can further increase the pre-taxation amount that you can withdraw for the paying of medial bills.

Finally, while choosing the best health insurance scheme for you does matter, finding yourself the best insurance dealer also matters equally well. Therefore, research the market well and find the dealer who is ready to provide you the kind of plan you are looking forwards to. This will ensure that you and your business remain ensured, in terms of health, as long as you live.

To find a cheap car insurance one has to take efforts as it may seem simple but requires patience. There are numerous car insurance coverage’s that one can choose from over the internet. A little bit of research is required then one can find the plan that is suitable as per ones needs.

The next step while searching for cheap car insurance is to find out whether you are eligible for the coverage, as normally cheap car insurance is not provided without any conditions. Some basic criteria is a must to avail of such insurance. The insured party has to primarily feel that there is less risk associated with your insurance policy, only then will they be willing to offer low premiums and insurance rates.

To avail of cheap car insurance determine the condition of your car and check out its value. If the car has a high performance value and is esteemed to fetch a high price in the market, then the risk associated with insuring such a car is more, hence it would not fall under the category of cheap car insurance. Next check out if you have any record of traffic violations as this would make a negative remark about you and would increase the level of insurance rate as you would be prone to accidents more frequently than others. Try and install safety devices in the car such as seat belts, anti-lock systems and more as this would help in fetching cheap car insurance rates.

Lastly find out if there are any discount schemes going around or select plans with flexible payment schemes and reasonable rates. Find out about multiple policies and multicar policies which would help in lowering the rates of premium if purchased from the same service provider.

Some insurance providers offer cheap car insurance rates for women as it is considered that women are safe drivers as compared to men and the severity of accidents in the case of women drivers is also relatively less. One can get cheap car insurance rates over the internet by doing a comparison study of various insurance quotes. Insurance quotes can be obtained by filling online application forms and requesting for quotes which are sending to the email account of a person within minutes. Such quotes are free of cost and one can compare them to get the best rate of insurance.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Out of the Ordinary Insurance

When people think of insurance, they most likely conjure up images of cars, houses, travel and pets but there are some not-so-standard insurance policies that you may never have thought about!

Believe it or not there is actually a company in Florida which offers insurance against Alien Abduction! You can insure yourself against being kidnapped by extra-terrestrials, and if you are snatched by a bright light from the sky, then you need to hope you are dropped back on Earth so you can fill in the paperwork and make a claim. So if you're worried about seeing UFO's near your home or have been watching too many X-Files episodes then this type of insurance could be just the ticket.

Many celebrities over the years have insured parts of their bodies that were vital to their success. Michael Flatley insured his legs for millions, Bruce Springsteen covered his voice and Egon Ronay took out a policy on his taste buds. It's unlikely that most of the general public would consider such extreme measures but when there's big money and livelihood at stake, it can often make sense.

The term ‘moral turpitude' is not one you hear every day but it refers to a type of insurance policy that covers celebrity endorsements when they go wrong. If, for example, a company paid a celebrity millions of pounds to endorse a product and then during that time the celebrity was convicted of wrongdoing then the policy would protect the company's investment.

Sporting events also come into play within the insurance market and not just in the way you might think with regards to sponsorships. Big sporting events like the Olympics and the Superbowl are often heavily insured against things going wrong and the event not being able to take place. One policy even covered Scottish football fans for trauma should Scotland ever go on to win the World Cup. Another possibility could be to insure against being hit by a stray ball at a golf event or cricket match, because you just never know.

In recent years insuring your pets has gone from being considered rather quirky and unnecessary to being a must have item for animal owners, so who knows what areas of insurance may grow in popularity in the future? All it needs is one or two confirmed Alien abductions and a whole new market could open up!

For most people however, such insurance is nothing short of fantastical and the likelihood of finding insurers to cover such bizarre potential occurrences is likely to be slim at best. There is of course a more down-to-earth side to insurance however than all of these extreme policies and remembering to get a home insurance quote for example before you move house will prove much more useful in your day-to-day life than wondering if E.T. is going to pay you a visit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cheap Car Insurance Australia

The increasing cost of repairs and other damage to your car is a result of the number of car accidents increasing in Australia. Car insurance will help cover the cost of repairs and other damages to the car. Having adequate car insurance is a necessity for all drivers in Australia and you must insure your car to protect both your car and yourself when driving. Cheap car insurance makes sense if you are looking for a low premium option, with the security of the protection insurance provides. Having car insurance will help if you have repair costs and you may be offered car replacement or other extras if the mistake is not on your part.

A cheap car insurance policy that provides minimum coverage is the third-party insurance policy. With such a policy, if there is damage caused by you to someone else's property is covered by your policy. Fire and theft coverage will protect your car in case of any sudden calamities which cause serious damage to the car. Your insurance company will cover your losses if your car is damaged by such unforeseen accidents. If you opt for a full comprehensive insurance then you will be covered for all major insurance needs. Property liability and additional needs are provided by the motor/vehicle insurance with a full comprehensive policy.

The cost of your car insurance is influenced by several factors and it is worth understanding how this works. Factors influencing the cost of your insurance premium can include the type of car and the protection you select to take out. Additionally, the location where you park the car impacts upon the cost of theft coverage; owners parking in an unsafe area will face a higher insurance cost. Factors such as age and sex of the driver also determine the premium you have to pay, as teenagers and men are more likely to cause accidents and consequently the insurance company will ask higher premiums to cover the higher risk.

Budget car insurance is a good option if you are on a low budget, but be aware that there is a lesser coverage that you obtain with this option. If you're a good driver with demonstrated experience controlling your car then you can also find it easier to obtain cheap insurance. Higher premiums can often be a consequence of a poor driving record or when a new driver hasn't had time to build a solid rating. The insurance companies will also charge higher premiums if the car owner has committed motor offences.

Having a cheap car insurance policy means you pay lower monthly premiums, while protecting your vehicle and yourself in the case of accidents. To select the best policy for your needs it is worthwhile getting quotes on cheap car insurance from a number of different insurance vendors. Today car insurance companies offer online support, which provides you with quotes from several vendors at the same time to choose the best one for you. Before taking out car insurance, assess what coverage you need and then include this when asking for the quotation from the insurance companies. Comparing car insurance quotations is the key to making a wise decision; which a broker can help you with if you are still unsure of your needs.

The government is examining various amendments to the insurance law, including a special statute for health insurance, aimed at improving the functioning of domestic companies and increasing their penetration.

"There are several amendments being considered such as allowing foreign reinsurers to set up branches in India, allowing insurers to raise hybrid capital and having a special statute for health insurance," Tarun Bajaj, joint secretary in the Union finance ministry, said on the sidelines of a seminar here on Tuesday.

In 2004, a committee set up by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) had suggested that the minimum capital requirement for standalone health insurers be reduced to Rs 50 crore from Rs 100 crore. In addition, a reduction in the solvency requirement and providing other regulatory flexibilities were suggested. The move was proposed to make the business a more viable proposition for standalone players.

Though the government and Irda have not implemented the recommendations so far, standalone players have already entered the market. "Increasing health insurance penetration and ensuring affordable premium rates remain the key challenge," Bajaj said.

"Health insurance has been growing at 50 per cent." We have started seeing some product innovation. But the need of the country is very varied. Another issue is taking care of senior citizens, improving the coverage for senior citizens as suggested by the Sastry Committee Report." he added

The government is working on a Bill to amend the Insurance Act, Irda Act and laws governing the Life Insurance Corporation and public sector general insurance companies. Among other things, amendments to the LIC Act are proposed to increase the company's paid-up capital base from Rs 5 crore to Rs 100 crore.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Insurance Jokes: View of insurance

Americans fear for their life insurance after financial turmoil

Americans who have ploughed their savings into life insurance and annuity-linked pension funds were running scared yesterday as financial titans collapsed around them.

"We're receiving phone calls that we wouldn't usually get," said Robert Willis, Executive Director of DC Life and Health Insurance Association, part of the national network that guarantees insurance policies.

"Given what's happening with AIG and Lehman Brothers, people are looking at their life insurance and annuity products and are concerned about these companies going under and what the impact would be on them," he said.

Wall Street icon Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in New York on Monday after suffering massive losses from the subprime crisis of loans to high-risk customers.

The following day, the US Federal Reserve stepped in with a $85-billion bail-out of American International Group (AIG) after the insurance giant also fell victim to the mortgage subprime lending meltdown.

In a statement issued Tuesday, AIG assured its life insurance clients that their policies were not at risk.

Willis tried to reassure them, too, by explaining how warranties such as those provided by DC Life and Health work. Most of the guarantees allow the investor to recover his or her initial investment plus any earnings, up to a ceiling of $300,000 in death benefits.

But the ceiling is only applicable once per person. Someone with three separate pension plans, each worth $200,000, for instance, is protected only to the tune of $300,000, said Willis.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Choosing motor insurance for your car?

When it comes to choosing any insurance, say health, travel, student, home etc, you compare the various policies in the market. As each company offers innovative covers, it becomes easier for you to make a decision based on the coverage as well as the premium offered . However, it is not the same case of Motor Insurance.

Motor Insurance in India is governed by the Indian Motor Tariff. The coverage for your vehicle would be the same no matter which company you would buy it from. Moreover, motor insurance is mandatory and needs to be renewed every year. So, how do you choose the right plan and where do you buy it from?

Here are a few pointers that shall help you to make a more sound decision.

Check out the premium
Even if the coverage offered would be the same, the premium charged by various companies would still be competitive. Study the cost involved with various companies and choose the one which gives you the best rate. However, don't let premium be the only deciding factor.

Name/ goodwill of the company
Try and buy insurance from an insurance company which has a good name and reputation. It always helps to go with the number one in the country!

Consider the garage tie-ups
All insurance companies tie up with various garages across the country for cashless settlement of claims. When you get your vehicle serviced at any of these garages, the claims are directly settled by the insurer. Always check the number of cashless garages the company has a tie up with. Also, consider the quality and the location of these garages.

Payment options
What are the various payment options available? Does the company offer you various options from which you can choose the one which is most convenient? Does it have an EMI option so that you do not have to pay in lumpsum? Do get this valuable information.

Buy online, it has many benefits
When you buy online, a digitally signed policy is generated. This is a valid legal document. The soft copy of your insurance policy is available online and can be accessed anywhere and at anytime. Now you don't have to worry about being extra careful about your hard documents. Also, buying online is most convenient and hardly takes a few minutes.

Make the sound choice for our car insurance based on the parameters above and avail complete peace of mind.

Do check the comprehensive Car Insurance policy by ICICI Lombard, GIC. Offering the most competitive rates in the country, ICICI Lombard gives you multiple payment options along with a 0% EMI facility. The number one general insurance company (in India) has one of the largest cashless garage network of more than 2,500 garages. Click here to buy or renew your car insurance online instantly.

Insurance companies across the board are exploring options to branch out into rural areas and enhance their presence in the micro-insurance sector in the country.

Among the major players, LIC, ICICI Lombard, Agriculture Insurance Corporation, IFFCO-Tokio and Tata AIG are seeking ways to consolidate their presence in the sector. Also, MaxLife has launched Max Vijay to tap the micro-insurance potential.

Incidentally, the Indian insurance industry is expected to witness a 500% growth and reach $60 billion in next four years. Insurance firms are keen to exploit this potential; in keeping, ING is planning its entry in India.

The fact that these companies are focusing on micro insurance is crucial as traditionally insurance has never really expanded beyond urban geographies. This has been attributed to poor insurance literacy and awareness, high transaction costs, inadequate regulations, and inadequate understanding of client needs and expectations. According to the Centre for Insurance and Risk Management (CIRM)--which operates under IFMR Foundation-- the Centre and Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (Irda) need make administrative and regulatory changes to enable penetration of micro insurance, especially in rural areas.

However, Rupalee Ruchismita, coordinator of CIRM, told FE, “The perception that entering rural markets is expensive has been replaced by the possibility of making rural insurance not only commercially viable and sustainable but also profitable. This is provided questions about product design and models of delivering risk hedging products are innovatively addressed.”

She admitted that India is the only country with micro insurance regulation. However, she noted that IRDA should allow more players in the sector. Ruchismita was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on “Indian Microinsurance: What Works?” organised by Microfinance Insights, IFMR Foundation and CIRM.

She said that while the Micro Insurance Act stipulates an upfront payment of premium for micro insurance policies, people in rural areas have low incomes and are incapable of paying a lumpsum amount upfront. Therefore, allowing them to pay the premium in monthly installments will help in stimulating demand for insurance products, she added.

Ruchismita urged the centre to take administrative measures for promotion of micro insurance. She said that data must be made available to insurance companies so that they can expand their activities in rural areas.

On a family holiday in Switzerland in May, a father's worst nightmare came true.

On a Friday afternoon my son had acute pain in his abdomen, the general practitioner whom we consulted advised us to rush to a hospital. At the hospital he was advised to undergo an emergency appendicitis removal operation. We were apprehensive as we were in a strange country and even communication with some of the doctors was a little challenging as some of them could not speak English fluently. In the late evening after considering the risks of not operating we gave our consent for the operation.

We could afford to pay for the operation on our own but at the back of my mind was a question whether the insurance company (my travel insurance policy was taken from a public sector insurance company) would actually pay up. The policy was part of a package taken through the tour operator who had made the travel arrangements for us. He in turn had used the services of an insurance broker to buy the package policy.

Here is my experience described in greater detail:

Friday, May 23: My son got operated at around 10 pm. He was admitted and operated without us having to fill in an admission form or making any deposit. They did not even know whether we had insurance to cover the costs.

Late at night I sent an email to the international TPA, the Indian TPA and the Indian insurance broker informing them of our impending claim.

Saturday, May 24: My son was fine and so started to try and call for activating the claim process. The initial call to the Paris toll-free number was not very fruitful with the male consultant on the other end of the line not giving any satisfactory response. But when I checked my email I had received a response from them indicating a file number for my claim and laying down the documents needed to process the claim.

I also reached a very helpful gentleman called Prakash who was the claims executive with the insurance broker in India. He made several calls to me and also spoke to the TPA in Paris and generally guided me. The hospital was also helpful and provided the necessary facility for faxing the papers to the Paris TPA. However a confirmation from the TPA to the hospital got stuck because they wanted a medical report from the hospital before providing a coverage confirmation (which would have enabled me to avail of cashless facility from the hospital).

The hospital informed me that this was not a usual request and it took a couple of hours before I could get the report and fax it to the Paris TPA. Meanwhile since it was a Saturday I was forced to make a deposit (around Rs. 125,000) to the hospital by using my credit card. While we received no final confirmation from the Paris TPA the Indian TPA had not responded at all.

Sunday, May 25: My son was discharged from the hospital.

The hospital said the deposit was enough to cover the bill and they would refund the balance in due course by crediting the balance to my credit card account. No final confirmations from the Paris TPA, though I must say that by then a very competent lady from the Paris TPA kept calling me to update me on what was happening. She also informed me that she had sent a confirmatory fax to the hospital (this was after the discharge) and as the hospital office was closed we could not confirm the receipt of the fax by them.

Monday, May 26: The hospital confirmed that they had received the fax confirmation from the Paris TPA and would refund the entire deposit amount to my credit card in a few days time after they actually receive the payment from the insurance company. Prakash had been in touch with me through out.

Tuesday, May 27: We return to India.

First week of June: Submitted a claim for expenses paid for the general practitioner in Switzerland, the ambulance charges, and the medicines purchased amounting to about Rs 25,000. This was submitted to the Indian TPA through Prakash.

Second week of June: Got the Switzerland hospital deposit amount refunded in my credit card account. Was shocked to discover that even though in Swiss franc terms I had received the full refund, there was a difference of around Rs. 13,000 in the rupee amount that I had paid and the rupee amount credited to my credit card account. On closer inspection it proved to be because of the huge 3.5 per cent each way commission that the credit card company charges (making it 7 per cent in all) as well as the significant differential in the buying and selling rate of the foreign exchange.

Meanwhile Prakash informed me that my other claim had been approved on June 13 and I could expect the payment cheque in 15 days time.

July 2008: No cheque despite vigorous follow up. Finally in the last week of July sent an e-mail notice to the insurance company that I would complain to the Insurance Ombudsman if I did not receive the payment.

August 4, 2008: Finally I receive the cheque by courier.

My learnings from the whole episode:

1. Never pay by credit card overseas. Only the card issuer goes laughing all the way to the bank.

2. The Indian insurance companies have specific requirements that make the process of pre-approval that much more difficult overseas as it is not in line with local practices.

3. The moment you submit claims to the Indian TPA brace yourself for delays.

4. Use the two magic words 'Insurance Ombudsman' in your letters and e-mails. That's the one thing that makes the wheels move.

5. The insurance broker is worth his weight in gold if they have people like Prakash working for them.

6. While the delays were annoying and the amount retained by the credit card company was scandalous, I don't think I will ever venture outside Indian shores without a proper travel insurance policy.

7. If you have to fall ill do so in a country like Switzerland, where even the general ward is better than the luxury suites of Indian hospitals. The nursing staff actually helped us in booking a hotel for the night and summoned a taxi for us. A level of service that I cannot even imagine in India.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Protections for AIG Policyholders

People with an annuity or a life-insurance, auto or homeowners policy through American International Group are no doubt mighty worried right now as they watch that company struggling.

But policyholders don't need to panic, experts say. For one thing, while the holding company is in financial distress, AIG's insurance subsidiaries are separate entities that are financially sound, regulators and others say.

AIG's insurance subsidiaries "did not receive a bailout; they are financially solvent," Sandy Praeger, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said in a statement last week. She added in an interview that "state insurance laws regulate the AIG subsidiaries to assure that the assets are preserved to protect the interests of policyholders."

Further, if an insurance company were to fail, each state runs an insurance guaranty association to protect policyholders. Insurers ante up fees to ensure customers of failed firms are protected. Still, those state guarantees are limited -- and that potentially could mean problems for some policyholders if an insurer becomes insolvent.

Your best bet now is to take a measured approach. Find out whether you're fully protected by state guarantees. Contact your state insurance department, or look up your state's rules at

If you're not, weigh your options. Talk to your insurance broker about possible surrender charges or other penalties for exiting your policy or annuity, and determine the cost of purchasing similar products elsewhere. Remember that even consumers with policies worth more than their state's guaranteed limit may have nothing to worry about given that these insurers are solvent.

Life-Insurance Protections

State guaranty associations protect life-insurance policyholders for at least $100,000 in cash surrender or withdrawal value and at least $300,000 ($250,000 in California) in death benefits, says Peter Gallanis, president of the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations in Herndon, Va. Some states provide protection up to $500,000.

For policyholders within their state's limits, if a company fails, "there is a very good chance that your policy will be transferred [to a different insurer] and you'll never miss a beat," Mr. Gallanis says.

For fixed annuities, states generally cover up to $100,000, though some guarantee $300,000 or more.

Variable annuities are investment products. Generally your money is invested through a subaccount that is separate from the insurer's assets and not covered by state associations. However, the portion of the contract that promises a payout from the insurer usually is covered.

Usually a failed insurer's business is taken over by another company in what can be a seamless transition for policyholders, Mr. Gallanis says.

"Typically the new insurer will provide all of the protection that would have been provided under the old policy," he says.

But it is possible in some situations that people with life-insurance policies worth more than the state limits may find they're on the hook for a higher premium or a reduced death benefit, Mr. Gallanis says.

Similarly, it's possible an annuity contract might be modified by an acquiring company; for instance, if the promised interest rate is deemed too high. But that's a rare event, requires approval by regulators, and is much likelier when an insurance company's failure is rooted in its policy-writing practices.

Auto, Home Policies

There are similar state guaranty associations protecting consumers with homeowners and auto-insurance policies. If you have a claim filed with a company that then fails, "the guaranty fund steps into the shoes of the insurance company from a claims-paying perspective," says Roger Schmelzer, chief executive of the National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds in Indianapolis. Most state guaranty associations cover homeowners- and auto-policy claims up to $300,000, he says.

If you've prepaid a premium, that is also usually recoverable through the guaranty association, says Barb Cox, the group's vice president of legal and regulatory affairs, though the limit may be $10,000 or $25,000.

Meanwhile, if you're simply holding a policy, with no claims in process, then consider shopping around, Mr. Schmelzer says.


Last week a friend called to say that his Ford Ikon had been stolen and he didn’t have theft coverage for his car. A few hours later he called back. The car had been found! But the thief had crashed it. “Thank God” he told me, “I am now going to claim for the repair from the insurer”. But he was disappointed when I explained to him that “theft” being the proximate cause of the loss and an excluded peril, the claim will not be paid by the insurance company.

When life insurance emulates the mutual fund sales pitch

While paying claims, Insurance companies look at “what exactly caused” the event leading to a loss. In my friend’s case, it was the theft of the car. It was the thief who wrecked it. Theft was the ‘proximate cause’. My friend didn’t have coverage for theft, so the insurance company would not honour the claim.

Life insurance agents are in demand

What causes a loss? On its face, this seems to be a simple question. But real life is rarely that simple. Many events and circumstances combine to produce a particular result. So, confusion prevails when there are multiple events that lead to the loss. This is where the doctrine of proximate cause helps.

Insurance reforms close to reality

‘Proximate cause’ is defined as “The active, efficient cause that sets in motion a chain of events, which brings about a result, without the intervention of any new or independent force.”

Mediclaim: Ten questions you should ask your TPA

As one is aware, every policy has a set of perils that are covered and another longer list of perils that are excluded. In fact, while deciding to opt for an insurance policy, what you actually decide is to protect yourself against is the financial losses you may suffer due to a set of certain perils.

Insurers get innovative on renewal payments

Take, for example, a home owner choosing a Fire policy and skipping a Machinery Breakdown policy (which would have covered his electrical equipment). He has chosen to take cover for Fire and allied perils and ignore Breakdown-related perils.

'Health insurance premium reduced'

There happens to be a fire in his building, following which there are frequent electrical fluctuations and his refrigerator breaks down after a few days. He would naturally expect that the claim will be paid through the fire policy! Alas! He would be in for a disappointment.

The fire policy does not include “breakdown-related” perils and since the proximate cause was ascertained to be “breakdown” and not the “fire” directly! If you get selective in coverage (innocently or otherwise!), well, the insurer gets selective in paying claims too!

The following two cases illustrate whether a remote cause can be considered as the proximate cause of a loss:

Case I: Lightning damaged a building and weakened a wall. A day later, the weakened wall was blown down by high winds. Lightning was considered to be the proximate cause.

Case II: Fire damaged a wall and weakened it. Several days later, a gale blew down the weakened wall. It was held that fire was not the proximate cause.

The point to note here is the length of time that passed before the remote cause occurred which made the difference between the two cases.

In the second case, there has been a break in the chain of causation because of which the initial event will not be treated as the proximate cause for a loss.

Consider this too: Firemen remove undamaged stock from a burning building to protect it from fire. It is stacked in the open yard and subsequently damaged by rain. Was the proximate cause of the damage — the fire or the rain?

If the rain damage occurred before the Insured had an opportunity to protect it, then the proximate cause of the damage would be fire, which is covered under the fire insurance policy. However, if the stocks were left unprotected for an unreasonably long period, the rain would be a new and independent cause of damage that is normally not covered under the policy.

There are many examples of such claims, which at first sight suggest that the proximate cause is obvious, but on more detailed enquiry, different conclusions are reached.

Understanding proximate cause in the context of a loss can be a daunting task. The facts of insurance claims are usually complicated — given the different potential causes of loss involved and exclusions in play.

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Some jurisdictions may view the exclusion ambiguous and in favour of the insured and other jurisdictions may view it as being clearly in the insurer’s favour.

In the end, a claim on an insurance policy is an exercise in patience.

IT looks as if we may get through this weekend without another scramble to save a troubled financial firm with a trillion-dollar balance sheet.

But that doesn’t mean taxpayers are out of danger. No, sir. No, ma’am. Because lawmakers are at work on a bailout fund that would buy the kind of distressed assets (defaulted mortgages, for example) that have ignited this firestorm.

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. has called the fund the “troubled asset relief program.” I’ll just call it TARP for short (you know, the kind of thing they spread over muddy fields so you don’t soil your Guccis).

And depending on how TARP is operated, and how the assets are valued before taxpayers are forced to buy them, it could bloat our final bill for this mess while benefiting the very institutions that got us into it.

Yes, we need a smart plan and a concerted effort to get the frozen credit markets up and running. But we also have to be certain that the types of conflicts of interest that riddle Wall Street aren’t visited upon TARP.

Consider: A bank wants to sell the TARPistas (also known as TAXPAYERS) a pile of stinky mortgage securities that it currently values at 60 cents on the dollar. Let’s assume that the most recent actual trade between market participants for similar assets was struck at 30 cents on the dollar.

So what’s a fair price that we TARPistas should pay for the assets?

If we bought at 60 cents, a price that the bank would argue is appropriate, we would most likely face a loss. The bank, however, would be much better off than if it had to dump at 30 cents.

Conversely, if the assets were sold at 30 cents, taxpayers could wind up making a profit on the purchase if the assets performed better than expected over time. But the bank would have to write down the value of the assets as a result of the sale, possibly threatening its financial standing yet again.

Do you think, perchance, that financial services lobbyists might be working their Hill contacts right this very minute to ensure that the TARP valuations are rigged in their favor?

You know the answer to that.

And you also know that we should steel ourselves for heavy losses as the TARP gets pulled over our eyes. Never mind that it was the banks, with their reckless lending and monumental leverage, that drove us into this ditch.

Such is our lot today: They break it. We own it.

Taxpayers deserve better than this, of course. But we have no lobbyists, so we get skinned.

IF federal regulators and political leaders want to earn back some trust, they could do two things. First, they could provide us with some transparency about whom precisely we are backing in the recent bailouts.

Take, for example, the rescue on Tuesday of the American International Group, once the world’s largest insurance company. It was pretty breathtaking. Since when do insurance companies, whose business models seem to consist of taking in premiums and stonewalling claims, deserve rescues from beleaguered taxpayers?

Answer: Ever since the world became so intertwined that the failure of one company can topple a host of others. And ever since credit default swaps, those unregulated derivative contracts that allow investors to bet on a debt issuer’s financial prospects, loomed so big on balance sheets that they now drive every bailout decision.

The deal to save A.I.G. involves a two-year, $85 billion loan from taxpayers. In exchange, the new owners — us — get 80 percent of the company. If enough of A.I.G.’s assets are sold for good prices, we may get our money back.

Credit default swaps, which operate like insurance policies against the possibility that an issuer of debt will not pay on its obligations, were the single biggest motivator behind the A.I.G. deal.

A.I.G. had written $441 billion in credit insurance on mortgage-related securities whose values have declined; if A.I.G. were to fail, all the institutions that bought the insurance would have been subject to enormous losses. The ripple effect could have turned into a tsunami.

So, the $85 billion loan to A.I.G. was really a bailout of the company’s counterparties or trading partners.

Now, inquiring minds want to know, whom did we rescue? Which large, wealthy financial institutions — counterparties to A.I.G.’s derivatives contracts — benefited from the taxpayers’ $85 billion loan? Were their representatives involved in the talks that resulted in the last-minute loan?

And did Lehman Brothers not get bailed out because those favored institutions were not on the hook if it failed?

We’ll probably never know the answers to these troubling questions. But by keeping taxpayers in the dark, regulators continue to earn our mistrust. As long as we are not told whom we have bailed out, we will be justified in suspecting that a favored few are making gains on our dimes.

A.I.G.’s financial statements provided a clue to the identities of some of its credit default swap counterparties. The company said that almost three-quarters of the $441 billion it had written on soured mortgage securities was bought by European banks. The banks bought the insurance to reduce the amounts of capital they were required by regulators to set aside to cover future losses.

Enjoy the absurdity: Billions in unregulated derivatives that were about to take down the insurance company that sold them were bought by banks to get around their regulatory capital requirements intended to rein in risk.

Got that?

Which brings us to Item 2 for policy makers. Stop pretending that the $62 trillion market for credit default swaps does not need regulatory oversight. Warren E. Buffett was not engaging in hyperbole when he called these things financial weapons of mass destruction.

“The last eight years have been about permitting derivatives to explode, knowing they were unregulated,” said Eric R. Dinallo, New York’s superintendent of insurance. “It’s about what the government chose not to regulate, measured in dollars. And that is what shook the world.”

And it will continue.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Know about Insurance, Types of Insurance

Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium. An insurer is a company selling the insurance. The insurance rate is a factor used to determine the amount, called the premium, to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.

Some Insurance Types
Different types of Insurance plans are offered based on your needs. Some of them are
• Life Insurance
• Health Insurance
• Dental Insurance
• Automobile insurance
• Property insurance

Life Insurance
Life insurance or life assurance is a contract between the policy owner and the insurer, where the insurer agrees to pay a sum of money upon the occurrence of the insured individual’s or individuals’ death or other event, such as terminal illness or critical illness. In return, the policy owner (or policy payer) agrees to pay a stipulated amount called a premium at regular intervals or in lump sums.

Health Insurance
The term health insurance is generally used to describe a form of insurance that pays for medical expenses. Basically, the client pays a sum of money called the Premium and in turn the Insurance firm would commit to pay a predetermined sum of money to meet the customer’s claims. Health insurance plans are offered in two categories. They are individual and group insurance policy. The individual plans covers health costs for a single person whereas the group health insurance plan covers medical coverage for the entire family.

Dental Insurance
Dental insurance covers dental costs for an individual or group. The costs include normal dental care cost as well as damage to teeth in an accident. Dental insurance protects people from financial hardship caused by unexpected dental expenses.

Automobile insurance
Auto insurance protects the policy owner against financial loss if he has an accident. It is a contract between policy owner and the insurance company. The policy owner agrees to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay the losses as defined in your policy.

Property insurance
Property insurance gives protection against your property. This includes specialized forms of insurance like fire insurance, flood insurance, earthquake insurance, home insurance etc.

You decide to take that once-in-a lifetime trip, the one you’ve always dreamed of and you want to make sure that nothing goes wrong. As any human being, you are aware that you do not have a total control over your life and that accidents can happen. Travel insurance is a necessary item if you are going on a vacation.

The competition on the insurance market is stringent and there are many companies ready to offer travel insurance suitable for one’s needs and preferences. Remember that is vital that you purchase travel insurance in order to protect your travel investment.

While browsing, decide what type of coverage you require. Take in consideration several factors such as: journey duration, destination and your age and health conditions. You should also check if preexisting conditions are covered by your travel insurance.

Travel insurance is a necessity you cannot do without. It offers coverage for unpredictable situations such as: cancellation of trips, delays of travel, lost of luggage and personal belongings, emergency evacuation or medical expenses. Some travel insurance policies have additional claims for accidental deaths.

For travel to Canada, it is best that you choose to purchase travel insurance for Canada as it has certain advantages. Former English colony, Canada is the world’s largest country by land mass and offers a broad range of cultural and geographical features. This outstanding country offers its visitors one of the most untamed landscapes in the world. Still, all tourists are encouraged to have travel insurance in Canada for safety reasons.

You should also check if the travel insurance you choose has additional features like: travel document loss, optional medical benefits (helicopter for emergency cases), and accidental death during flight. These things are difficult to think about but not impossible to happen. It is best to be prepared and purchase complete travel insurance. In order to arrive to an informed decision search online, compare prices and benefits. In short: canvas and compare.

The tricky part is finding the appropriate travel insurance quotes. You just log on to your computer and go online. There are many insurance companies ready to offer free travel insurance quotes on their sites. Consider the features and compare figures.

Travel insurance quotes can be easily obtained by completing a form with basic information. After filling out the form, you will receive travel insurance quotes from several companies. These travel insurance quotes show in detail different travel insurance options, deductible and other details. This will help you pick out the best plan based on your need and preferences.

Choosing a reputable website can help you obtain instant travel insurance quotes from leading companies and also personalized travel insurance assistance. These travel insurance quotes are always up-to-date and accurate not to mention that there is a wide selection online. You can look at several different travel insurance quotes at the same time online, in a short period of time.

You can find on the Internet various travel insurance quotes for Canada from leading Canadian companies. These companies are the best on the market and they have been meeting the demands of a diversified population for many years. Travel insurance quotes in Canada are easy to find but you have to be careful if they are meeting your needs.

Traveling will always offer lifetime lasting memories. So it is in your best interest to look after yourself and purchase full travel insurance in order to feel safe and have fun. There is no reason to be skeptical; purchasing travel insurance is a must.

As the demand for homeowner insurance is increasing day by day, numerous companies are offering the home insurance policy. Since a myriad of options are available now, an individual needs to be quite careful while purchasing a policy. There are several key points that should be borne in mind and that can actually help you purchase a good policy.

Before you start looking around for a policy, decide amongst yourself what all coverage and the coverage amount you want. Then look for various companies and their offers. In this you can take help of agents, friends and family members. Internet too is a good source for information. You can obtain various price quotes from there. While comparing rates make sure that they are for same coverage’s.

Deductibles play a crucial role in choice of a policy. Deductible is the amount a person needs to pay before the insurance company to pay for him. Higher deductibles are instrumental in lowering the premium rates. So it is better to look for high deductibles though you will have to pay if you have a claim.

Never think and try of giving fake information to acquire the insurance policy. You can land yourself in grave trouble. So be true while obtaining a price quote and applying for insurance. For wrong information can lead to denial of coverage and incorrect price quotes.

But don’t just get carried away with the price (premium rates etc.) as most people do. Other factors such as company’s financial ratings and stability, its reputation in the market, customer service record, complaint index and the like also do matter a lot. Thus make sure you check these things out.

Also see if the agent offering the policy is licensed or not. It is in your interest to purchase a policy from certified i.e. licensed companies and agents.

Usually it is very difficult for people who reside in high-risk zone and defaulters to acquire a homeowner’s insurance. High-risk zone stands for areas prone to floods, hurricanes and other natural calamities and also areas where the crime rate is quite high. In such a case you need to make an extra effort to get a homeowner’s policy. You need to speak to other people living in the zone and any previous insurers. If you propose to shift to one such place then ask you current insurance agent to help you get one such insurance.

You should also know that usually the homeowners insurance covers personal items such as jewelry, fur, watches, silverware, valuable papers and securities etc. If you seek to have coverage apart from this then you have to fill up the Personal Articles Form. Speak with your agent about the coverage that is already there and about what additions you require.

When it is time to renew your homeowner’s insurance policy, ponder again over the coverage issue. Check your personal details in the policy and see if it is up to the mark. In case you require more coverage for any expensive items you purchased such as electrical appliances etc., ask your agent to get your policy changed accordingly.

Life insurance is an important aspect of everyone’s lives and is something which everyone will have to face at some point in time throughout their lives. This point may come sooner rather than later for some individuals because of the job they perform on a daily basis.

While some individuals start everyday by putting on their suits and racing to get to the coffee shop for their morning coffee, others are strapping on their work boots and preparing themselves for a day of excruciatingly hard labor. As scary as it may sound, there are many individuals who are willing to put their lives in danger every single day when they get up and go to work.

The following is a list of the top 5 jobs which are considered to be the most dangerous jobs in the world. Individuals who perform these jobs are highly recommended to have a life insurance plan incase (god forbid) anything goes wrong on any given day. These are the 5 occupations which made the list:

1.Police/Detectives - Police Officers face life threatening situations almost everyday. They are highly trained to defend themselves and are equipped with protective equipment at all times. Life insurance and disability insurance are crucial for individuals working in the field of policing.

2. Airplane Pilots - Believe it or not, airplane pilots require life insurance because they are dealing with such powerful machines which have been known to have mechanical glitches. Airplane pilots are also highly trained in their field to make sure they do their best to fly safely.

3. Construction Workers - Construction workers are somewhat unappreciated for the amount of hard work they do everyday. They not only put their lives in danger from all the machinery they are expected to operate, but they also face many factors which will affect their health in the long run. Overexposure to sun, heat and excessive lifting are just a few of these factors.

4. Farm Workers - Much like construction workers, farm workers are at high risk of injury or death due to the fact that they are constantly operating heavy machinery. There are hundreds of farm work related deaths a years and thousands of injuries for individuals working in farm fields. Life insurance and disability insurance are important for individuals in this occupation.

5. Fire Fighters - It is a known fact that fire fighters put their lives on the line everyday to save the lives of others. Knowing the potential consequences and performing the job anyways indicates that these workers deserve the highest level of respect from others. Individuals who have chosen careers in firefighting are also likely to have a life insurance policy.

Is your job dangerous? Is your life on the line everyday? Maybe not, but there are many other factors other than your occupation which may indicate you need life insurance. Life insurance is a plan which will ensure your loved ones are taken care of incase anything happens to you. Wouldn’t you like to know your family would be looked after should this type of situation occur?

About the Author: Bill Mason is a retired insurance agent who now writes as a freelance writer for - a site that offers information on insurance of all kinds including online life insurance, business insurance and more.

The growing number of consumers taking up health insurance plans has led to the mushrooming of scam health insurance providers. These providers often target new retirees and the elderly individuals and small-business owners, who can’t negotiate better rates with legitimate insurers. Be very cautious before you invest in any health policy. Read on to get an idea about 3 ways in which your health insurance company can scam you.

1. Failure to pay claims: Usually fraud health insurance agents sign up a huge number of people quickly by offering them lucrative deals. These insurance providers keep paying small premium amounts and medical claims, but if there is a substantial claim amount or regulators catch them, these illegal companies vanish as if they never existed.

So, just beware if you are getting delayed payments or your service provider is offering fake excuses for the failure to make the payments. If you have signed up for these illegal plans, you may be liable for the medical bills of your employees as well.

2. Non-licensed health plans: If the company from which you have bought your health care policy is not licensed by State Insurance Commissioner, you can be in trouble. If all the protections of insurance regulation do not apply on your service provider, then the company may be phony. In this case your service provider is scamming you by selling non-licensed health plans.

Insurance agents are not allowed to sell any legitimate ERISA or union plan as federal law governs them. So, if your insurance agent tries to dupe you by selling an “ERISA” or “union” plan, report them to your state insurance department.

3. Unusual coverage offered at lower rates: If you are offered an unusual coverage irrespective of your health condition and that too at lower rate and much more benefits in comparison to other insurers, its time for you too hit the panic button. Do not get fooled by the lucrative offer, else you can be taken for a ride. The ‘scamsters’ aim to collect huge amounts as early as possible so, they try to sell maximum number of policies at attractive prices.

Life insurance is the building block of any good financial plan. It can protects your family against the loss of income caused by a premature death. Some life insurance policies are permanent, while others only last a specific amount of time and are commonly referred to as term life insurance. Whether you think you need term life insurance or a permanent life insurance plan, you should always get the policy that is right for you.

Disability insurance can protect against the agony of income loss caused by an injury or sickness outside of the workplace.

Group Health Insurance can help employees pay for some of the costs of medical services including yearly physicals, blood testing, and surgeries. Most group health insurance plans require a co-pay for covered doctor visits and prescription drugs.

Travel insurance is a type of insurance that can help indemnify you against a trip cancellation or evacuation. A travel insurance policy comes with specific definitions regarding to what it considers an emergency evacuation or travel related sickness or accident. You can find insurance coverage for terrorism, hazardous sports and activities, annual travel insurance (Holiday Insurance policy), and much more.

Travel Health Insurance is a health insurance coverage for those that do not reside in their native country. Many American's health insurance plans do not offer medical protection outside of the United States. If you are a college student abroad, missionary, or expatriate in need of a doctor or hospital in another country, you might need to purchase a travel health insurance policy; otherwise the school or organization has it available for you. Travel Health Insurance is also known as international or global medical health insurance.