Thursday, 28 February 2013

Life Insurance
History of Life Insurance in India                                           Life Insurance in India was nationalized in the year 1956 when a number of private companies were brought under the banner Life Insurance Corporation of India.Till the year 2000 when the insurance sector was privatized it held the monopoly of Life Insurance business in India. It has been most successful Insurance organisation in the world, recording highest number of lives covered, highest number of claims settled and lowest ratio of the outstanding claims in the entire world.
An Insurance contract is called a contract of Uberrima Fides - a contract of utmost good faith.....

This is a unique business on the lives of human beings. One cannot assign a value to the life of a person. A person cannot be rated or evaluated in terms of money. Yet when one loses his/her near and dear ones, a member of the family, it is going to be a big blow to the economic health of the family. At the same time an insurance company cannot be expected to blindly agree to the contract at an unreasonable sum assured. So the sum assured will be decided by the income, health and paying capacity of the proposer and the life assured. And here enters the principle of good faith. Though death is the only certainty in life, the time and the cause are beyond one's reach. So it is the honest responsibility of the proposer to disclose all the material facts which may affect his life and the premium calculation. If he conceals or misleads on any health or family related information, there is a risk of his claim being repudiated. So one has to be extremely honest in answering the questions in the proposal forms.

How is Insurance premium calculated ?
There are three factors that go into the calculation of Life Insurance premium - mortality, interest and expenses. Since the basic principle of Life Insurance is to give financial compensation at the unfortunate event of death of the life assured, the mortality rates of the country is taken into account while arriving at the probability of the death while calculating the premium. The second factor is interest. When a person purchases the policy, he will be paying the same installment of premium at every due date through out the term of his policy. This premium may be less or more compared to the cost of the policy at different stages during the term of the policy. And the insurer has to pay both death and maturity claims to his policy holders. So the premium so collected will be invested by Life Insurance of India in the statutory bodies as per the IRDA regulations. The interest earned on these investments will have a bearing on the premium calculation. And the final consideration is the expenses. The company [ Life Insurance ] will have its expenses in the form of salary, commission, underwriting, office maintenance et all which will have a bearing on the premium calculation. There are experienced actuaries who will be regularly calculating and monitoring the premium and the bonus of the policies.

Privatisation of Life Insurance in India 
In spite of the competition by 23 private companies, Life Insurance Corporation of India not only is holding its ground but growing from strength to strength even after a decade of privatization onslaught. Though it initially experienced a setback when the private players started capturing group insurance and market linked insurance markets, LIC with its vast experience and hold on the public sentiment and loyalty, regained its ground and from 52% it has now regained more that 80% of the share while 23 companies together could capture hardly 20%

The secrets behind the success of LIC of India
The secret of its success lies in its highly principled, clean and above the board practices. Though it settles lakhs of claims worth crores of rupees and sanctions thousands of rupees' loan applications everyday, there has never been an incident of bribery or corruption And it imparts high level of training to its employees and agents, adapts to changing market scenario and upgrades its technology constantly. It has a very good planning, execution and review practices which are the envy of every other business organisation. [Life Insurance] being a long term contract, customers in India have remained loyal to this great organisation. No wonder it goes on winning the awards for the most trusted brand year after year.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Engagement Ceremony ........

......... As anticipated the engagement ceremony had all the glitz, glamour and entertainment and yes sumptuous delicacies.

Mehendi haatho mein Rang layaa tha tho Music badiya mahol banaya thaa........

The groom, bride and the boys and the girls were all decked up and but for the absence of walking the ramp it could have easily beaten any fashion show hands down.

True to South Indian engagement style, there were coconuts with beautiful intricate carvings, Kanchivaram saree for the bride, bangles, flowers and fruits.

Everybody sighed heavily when they realized that the Ferrero Rocher was meant just for the bride. Mmmmmm......

The Purohits conducted the event with great elegance and grace, holding the mike in their hands, inviting the guests to participate and pay attention to the proceedings. On a hindsight may be they were aware that most of the participants were catching up with old friends and relatives and the point of the discussion was anything but the engagement.

I was always curious to know why we always apply kumkum on the forehead with right hand finger but when we perform aarathi we apply the red vermilion water with the left. The Purohit was gracious to explain that the tilak we apply after aarathi is actually a custom to remove the evil eye - nazar utharna to be precise - and it should be applied on left eyebrow for girls and right eyebrow for boys. Those who believe and follow customs - remember this, others, take it with a pinch of salt.

The picture perfect couple exchanged the rings,which was followed by cake cutting and with a vow to meet at the marriage, the guests and friends bid adieu.....

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Engagement ...........

The D Day is here!                                                                

Vinay my nephew is getting engaged today to Shwetha Kumar, his classmate turned friend turned beloved after a looong courtship of five years ( Vinu and Shwetha -  is it five or six or seven years or more? Both of you are not forthcoming with correct details. Don't worry, we have means of finding it out and sure will do!)                                        

The preparations have been on for quite some time. Soumya my niece, Rashmi my daughter and Shreya, Shweta's sister are the most excited of the  lot and have been planning and planning ....and planning everything to the minutest details. After all it is the first marriage in both the families...

Gosh, how can anyone let such important things get messed up or go wrong? The first and foremost is the dress - what and which and how and when - everything had to be discussed, Googled, dreamed - and finally materialized. Whether it should be a saree, ghagra choli, lehnga or salwar suit and then closing in on a color and of course the tailor - it involved so much of hectic planning.

Then comes the appointment with the parlor  For facial, hair style, hair coloring, eye brows. The three girls would be euphoric dreaming about the details, and sometimes would have nightmares dreading the catastrophe - if the beauticians not following the details or messing up with the fine points. Thank God, He has been kind and everything has turned up well...

Oh yes, how can one forget the clutches, the matching stilettos and The Jewellery. Guests, be prepared for the most enchanting bride with exquisite jewellery and the beautiful girls having their  dazzling smiles and jewellery competing with each other!

The best blessing from God - or is it the Marxists - is the day being declared Bharath Bandh against the economic policies of the Central Government. Schools and colleges declaring holiday is the biggest boon. Of course the option of bunking was always there but still the pleasure of not missing attendance and the labs and the headache of self study has been lifted from the minds. Boy, are the girls delighted!

But the Bandh has a downside too. Last minute make up and the mehendi programs had to be preponed. We had a blast yesterday night in Gandhi Bazaar. Because of the hectic last day before the D Day, the mehendi program got pushed to the last minute. Of course Shwetha was smarter to get it done in the late afternoon. By the way, we poked our noses in her mehendi design, rather length of the design Shwetha had planned in consultation with Vinay. (Sure it must be looking stunning on the hands of the beautiful bride).

At 10 o'clock in the night Rashmi, on her last task of the day was rushing to Gandhi Bazaar for mehendi, decided to pull me along. I had almost settled for the day, with oil dripping from my hair, all jewels removed. Dressed in my nightie, I was pulled out from my bed and pushed into the car. How could I let Shaila, my sister and the grooms'  mother miss the fun? we pulled out her also and in a flash of a second were sitting in front of the mehendi artists.Imagine walking in that avatar on Gandhi bazaar main road. If any of our friends and colleagues had seen us at that time, I am sure they would not have recognized us.

The occasion was equally thrilling for another soul - our pug Pogo! He rushed along with us and had a free run in Gandhi bazaar. The entire footpath was at his disposal and with most of the shops closed, he lifted his leg at every shop and had long walks with my hubby Prakash. And he had his own fun too. Stealthily he would walk behind the artists putting mehendi and bark and scare their wits out. We would shake with laughter, causing the embarrassed artists to glare at us. And we could not hide our amusement when we overheard another customer next shop arguing with the artists that she should be charged less as she had small hands! When we had almost got the mehendi on our hands, Rashmi asked whether I had my purse with me. No madam, none of us had a penny on us. Thankfully Prakash had come with his wallet and was more than willing to oblige. Not only that. He performed the role of the chauffeur with great dignity, opening the car doors for us and dropping everybody, obliging to take our photos and in the night offering us garam chai with a straw!

We will take a break here..... Will be back with the details of the fun filled engagement evening later.

Keep a watch !!!

We shall meet The Engagement Ceremony ........

Friday, 15 February 2013

Laughter The Best Medicine

Where all that laughter has gone? Remember those giggles you shared in the class room? Remember how you laughed and laughed with your friends during combined studies, holding your sides, till tears started rolling down your cheeks? Then surely you must remember the reason for that laughter. No? Try again. At least can you remember the last time you laughed like that recently ? Where do we lose that light mirth which makes us laugh at silliest possible reasons.In this bittersweet life it is the laughter which is the real elixir of life.

The earliest incident I can remember was when I was in my high school. We were studying in a school in Gulbarga and had gone to Gokak to attend the marriage of my friend shobha's brother Vijayanna. In those days it was a practice to travel in a bus all the way from boy's town to the bride's where we were put up in small vacant houses. No such thing as choultry or wedding hall way back then and especially in small towns like Gokak.Even the wedding ceremony was conducted in small houses, covering the entire road in shamiana where the food was to be served. As children we never bothered about the luxuries as what mattered most was the chance to be with friends and miss the school !

On the night before marriage, after dinner we arrived at the adjacent house, called "beegara mane" to sleep. But sleep was the last thing on our mind as we lay on the rows of carpet along with aunties, grannies and mamis. As elders were tired and anxious to get up early in the morning started their sleep and snoring simultaneously, one of the girls could not control her laughter and giggled. Lo. that was the spark for the ignition of the series of giggles that followed. If hers was just a small " khi ! " someone from the other corner joined by a " khee khee " and a third by a louder " hee hee". A grandma who was light on sleep got irritated and snapped " sumne bidkolre " ( sleep silently ). Just imagine! That snap made another giggle loudly, joined by many more. This time ajji lost her sleep and peace completely and shouted loudly " Hucchu mundera bai muchkondu malkolre". ( By the way this slang may shock the citiwallas and people of other part of karnataka,but it was the most accepted language in north Karnataka). Though it ensured a silence for a few minutes, it also ensured a louder snore by aunties and maamis and thereby as a chain reaction of a louder guffaw by the girls. 

The hysterical laughter by us awakened the other elders and without even knowing the reason they also started to giggle and like an epidemic it spread the entire house. Even those sleeping in other rooms joined in the laughter and this amused we girls all the more because we were happy that we were successful in waking up all and also avoided being scold. Someone courageous from us got up and switched on the light and we all turned towards ajji to see her reaction. Ajji was having a benevolent and indulgent smile on her face which emboldened us to carry on with our pranks whole night!

On another occasion, during Deepavali vacation I had been to my elder sister Geetha's house in Gangavathi, a small town in Raichur district. It was a joint family and her mother-in-law was very orthodox. She would keep aside a part of the lunch prepared by her aside in the big pooja room separately for her dinner so that so that nobody touches it and she can have her own cooked food and still avoid cooking in the night. 

I who was in my high school was totally was unaware of all these intricacies. In the evening when I came back from playing, she told me " Go eat some poori payasa ". She actually meant the food left and kept in the kitchen, but I while playing hide and seek in the afternoon had noticed the poories and payasa kept in the pooja room. So without a second thought I picked four poories and payasa from the pooja room, took to the veranda and ate it. When I came back to the kitchen to drink water and saw a plate of poories and payasam at first I was surprised. Then suddenly it dawned that this is the plate my sister has kept for me on hearing her mother-in-law and I was supposed to eat it.

I picked the poories and tip-toed to the pooja room and put it in the box from which I had taken the poories and heaved a sigh of relief. But the real drama was to start later. In the night when the mother-in-law opened the box, she was perplexed.She started calling my sister " Geetha I had kept six poories and two cups of payasam but now only five poories and one cup of payasam is there. Have you touched it? My sister, who was a new bride to that family was both scared and flummoxed. When she replied in negative her mother-in-law grew all the more suspicious fearing that the cat must have eaten the missing part ! By this time I had realized the whole scene and put the blanket on my head as if in deep sleep but hardly able to control my giggles imagining the looks on the faces of my sister and her mother-in-law.

It was only later that I narrated this to my sister who at first gave a sound slap for my mischief and then could not control her laughter but joined in my giggles recalling the look on her mother-in-law's face !