Difference Between Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Pension Schemes

Pension is a fund that is built during the working life of the employee and then used to secure the income after retirement. These funds can be operated by employer (occupational pension) who invests over time or alternatively employee can invest in a fund of their choice (private pension scheme). Both of these schemes generate income after retirement. Pension schemes are of two major types: Defined Benefit Scheme Defined Contribution Scheme 1. Defined Benefit Scheme Defined benefit scheme is a type of pension scheme which ensures a particular level of income/benefit after retirement. Most of the cost of the benefit and risk of the investment is borne by the employer however in the contributory define benefit scheme employees also make compulsory contributions. The pension amount is either calculated on the bases of the final salary of the employee or depend upon the average earnings of the employee throughout his employmentContinue reading

Life Insurance – Definition, Need and Benefits

Human life is subject to risks of death and disability due to natural and accidental causes. When human life is lost or a person is disabled permanently or temporarily, there is a loss of income to the household. The family is put to hardship. Sometimes, survival itself is at stake for the dependents. Risks are unpredictable. Death/disability may occur when one least expects it. An individual can protect himself or herself against such contingencies through life insurance. Though Human life cannot be valued, a monetary sum could be determined which is based on loss of income in future years. Hence in life insurance, the Sum Assured (or the amount guaranteed to be paid in the event of a loss) is by way of a ‘benefit’ in the case of life insurance. It is the uncertainty that is risk, which gives rise to the necessity for some form of protection againstContinue reading

Types of Life Insurance Claims

Claims Management Department The claims department is one of the key departments in an insurance company. The claims department has the following functions to perform: To provide the customers of insurance and reinsurance companies with high quality of service. This role gives a long-term edge to the company and hence is referred to as the strategic role. To monitor the claims and see that whether the benefits of insurance exceed the costs of claims. This role is referred to as the cost-monitoring role of the claims department. To see that the expectations of the customers are met with regard to speed, manner and efficiency of the service. This is called the customer service role of the claims department. To meet the standard of service, to keep up to the customers expectations and still operate within the budget. This is the managerial role of the claims department. Both the quality ofContinue reading

Introduction to Insurance Sector in India

Insurance in its basic form is defined as “A contract between two parties whereby one party called insurer undertakes in exchange for a fixed sum called premiums, to pay the other party called insured a fixed amount of money on the happening of a certain event.” Insurance sector in India The insurance sector in India has come a full circle from being an open competitive market to nationalisation and back to a liberalised market again. Tracing the developments in the Indian insurance sector reveals the 360-degree turn witnessed over a period of almost two centuries. Today Insurance Companies in India have grown manifold. The insurance sector in India has shown immense growth potential. Even today a giant share of Indian population nearly 80% is not under life insurance coverage, let alone health and non-life insurance policies. This clearly indicates the potential for insurance companies to grow their marketContinue reading

Bancassurance – Meaning, Need and Advantages

With the opening up of the insurance sector and with so many players entering the Indian insurance industry, it is required by the insurance companies to come up with innovative products, create more consumer awareness about their products and offer them at a competitive price. New entrants in the insurance sector had no difficulty in matching their products with the customers’ needs and offering them at a price acceptable to the customer. But, insurance not being an off the shelf product and one which requiring personal counseling and persuasion, distribution posed a major challenge for the insurance companies. Further insurable population of over one billion spread all over the country has made the traditional channels of the insurance companies costlier. Also due to heavy competition, insurers do not enjoy the flexibility of incurring heavy distribution expenses and passing them to the customer in the form of high prices. With theseContinue reading

Catastrophe Bonds or CAT Bonds

Catastrophe Bonds (or CAT Bonds) are high-yield, risk-linked securities used to transfer explicitly to the capital markets major catastrophe exposures such as low probability disastrous losses due to hurricanes and earthquakes. It has a special condition that states that if the issuer (Insurance or Reinsurance Company) suffers a particular predefined catastrophe loss, then payment of interest and/or repayment of principal is either deferred or completely waived. These bonds were first introduced as a solution to problems resulting from traditional insurance market capacity constraints, excessive insurance premia, and insolvency risk due to catastrophic losses. Catastrophe Bonds or CAT Bonds are complex financial tools which transfer peril specific risks to the capital markets instead of an insurance company. The peril risk is transferred through a complex system of events which include creation of a special purpose vehicle by a sponsor, modeling event scenarios by qualified risk management firms, drafting of a bondContinue reading