8 Smarter Ways to get a Cheaper Life Insurance Premium

If you are like most people, chances are you want to pay a smaller premium. After all, it a Rupee saved is a Rupee earned (or in this case, lots or Rupees!). We spoke to our insurance underwriters and asked them how customers can get save on their insurance premiums. This is what we found:

1) Age: If you are a young person, there is a better likelihood that you will pay a lower premium as we assume that you have many years of healthy living ahead of you (more on that in a minute).

2) Gender: Sorry gentlemen, but on average, women live a lot longer than men. As a result, being a female can lower your premium as it is perceived that women are more likely to live longer due to their genetic makeup, a better understanding of their bodies and a lesser tendency to engage in risky behaviour.

3) Occupation: Most of us who work in the office should not need to worry here, but if you happen to be employed in a risky line of work (ie: deep sea diving, the armed forces etc), your premium will be a lot higher. In fact, some insurance firms can decide to deny coverage to certain professions due to the high tendency of an accidental death.

4) Personal Habits and Lifestyle: If you are a smoker or tend to indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol, expect to pay more as you will have a higher health risk and a shorter life expectancy. Furthermore, if you like spending time racing fast cars at the Speedrome, go skydiving or engage in otherwise risky hobbies, you will need to spend more on your premium than say, someone who likes to hangout with their friends at the local coffeehouse.risk5) Health: Here is another reason to start exercising -It can lead to a cheaper life insurance premium. If you are overweight, it makes you seem as a liability due to the multitude of unfavorable health conditions (ie: diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease).  Its a simple message-lower your weight, lower your premium.

6) Driving Habits: Your driving record is pretty significant. If you have met with accidents, multiple speeding violations, or have been caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you are considered an unsafe driver. As a result, do your best to ensure that you have a clean driving record and reap the rewards via a smaller premium.

7) Residence: You will end up paying a higher premium if you happen to live in a particularly rough area, or built your house in an area which is prone to say, heavy flooding or is located in an otherwise hazardous area.

8) The Actual Policy: Seems obvious, but really look into your policy and determine if its perfect for you. Some aspects of a policy may not apply to you, so make sure you shop around before you decide to make a final decision.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

Vehicle Safety Checklist: These 8 Features Could Save Your Life

Whether you are buying your first vehicle or deciding to upgrade to a newer model, it is imperative to look into safety. Considering that there are a high number of road accidents in Sri Lanka it becomes necessary to look at safety features as much as the model, fuel efficiency, top speed, engine etc. Here is a review of the safety features you should look into: after all, it could save your life.

1) Seatbelts: These have been around for a long time and offer good protection during crashes. Some vehicles provide additional features such as extenders and pretensions, which provide passengers a safe position without compromising on comfort. Worn properly, these ensure that the passengers are inside the vehicle at all times and minimise the risk of individuals injuring themselves on the windshield, steering wheel or dashboard.

2) Parking Assistance: Parking can be an absolute nightmare, as drivers have to constantly keep looking over their shoulder. With intelligent parking assistance, drivers can use the sensors, cameras and steering angle to their advantage. Keep it mind though, it is still an aid, and unless you have a vehicle which self parks, you still need to learn how to park your own vehicle!

3) Airbags: These have been a standard feature for most vehicles since the late 1990’s. Sensors detect a collision and trigger the deployment of the bags, which inflate in the blink of an eye. These bags ensure that passengers and drivers minimise head injury. However, young children (under 13) must never be in the front seat as the air bags have the capacity to severely injure children and those who do not wear seatbelts. In the mid/late 2000’s,  side air bags were introduced as they offer additional protection to the passengers’ head and torso in the event of a side-on collision.

crash test

4) Sideview Assist: The sensors in your vehicle make it helpful to locate another vehicle in your blind spot and inform you via a beep or a light if there is a possibility of a collision. This technology is especially useful when a driver wishes to change into another lane but cannot see another vehicle as it in his/her blind spot.

5) Anti Lock Brakes:  These are a Godsend as they are designed to prevent the wheels from locking, thereby preventing your automobile from skidding. This is done by applying pressure quickly as the driver hits the brakes. This translates into a shorter stopping distance on wet roads, which is useful during the rainy season. All this enables the driver to control his/her vehicle, which can help reduce accidents.

6) Tyre pressure monitor: As we have mentioned earlier, ignoring tyre pressure can wear down your tyres and cause a blowout. In Sri Lanka, due to the heat and humidity, the tyres lose air  faster. The type of tyre pressure monitors vary as they can measure your tyre pressure directly, or estimate the air lost via the use of sensors. Nonetheless, its always best to check your tyre pressure manually the next time you go to a petrol station, just in case.

7) Electronic Stability Control: The Electronic Stability Control, aka ESC is a safety system which can ‘feel’ when the vehicle starts to lose control and takes over by applying the brakes in order to get the vehicle back on track. This is especially useful for drivers who drive on wet, slippery roads or end up driving for long hours at a time.Electronic Stability Control, is an excellent safety feature for your automobile8) Head restraint: A lot of individuals believe that these are simply used as a headrest. However, they are designed in order to restrict head movement if another vehicle collided with yours, especially in the rear. This allows for the reduction of neck and shoulder injuries for both passenger and driver. Ensure that the head restraint can be locked into position: it must be as close to the back of your head and as high as your eyes. If you share a vehicle, ensure that your head restraint is fit to suit your head in order to minimize injury.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.


What is ‘My Pension’? Mr. Manjula de Silva Answers your FAQ’s

A guaranteed monthly lifetime pension from HNB Assurance, for everyone over 55 years

HNB Assurance has identified a primary need of the elderly citizens of our country and has introduced a Guaranteed Monthly Pension Plan named ‘my pension’ for those who seek a peaceful and contented retirement, becoming the first insurance company in the country to do so. This unique product is being offered in collaboration with its parent company, Hatton National Bank, which will market this product islandwide through its branch network.

We interviewed Manjula de Silva, Managing Director of HNB Assurance on the importance of retirement plans and their latest product ‘my pension’.

       1. Can you tell us about the current situation of the insurance industry and what is your reaction to that?

Yes, the insurance industry is highly competitive, similar products are being launched with similar pricing strategies; there is a high level of new entrants entering the Industry making it more and more competitive. We look at this in a positive manner and we encourage such competition as that enables us to be innovative with new products that cater to the needs of our customers. We have managed to have a high growth and improve our market share of Life insurance because we cater to their needs and continuously do research on what the consumer wants. HNB Assurance PLC has recorded an impressive growth as per the latest interim results released to the Colombo Stock Exchange. The Company was successful in strengthening its topline over the first half of the Financial Year of 2014, where the combined turnover, expressed as Gross Written Premium (GWP), of both Life and Non-Life Insurance businesses escalated by 24% over the same period of the previous financial year. This achievement was driven by an impressive 27% growth in Life Insurance GWP while Non-Life Insurance GWP also contributed with a growth of 21%.

      2. Can you tell us about ‘mypension’? Is it an insurance plan or a pension plan?

It is a combination of a pension plan and an insurance plan. my pension’ gives you a guaranteed monthly pension for life. In addition, a life cover will be in effect in the event of demise of the policyholder within the first 10 years. At the point of entry, the Company guarantees a  pension value which you will continue to receive throughout your life irrespective of interest rate fluctuations. My pension is a single premium policy where you can pay the premium at once and enjoy monthly pensions for the rest of your life, regardless of how long you live.

my pension brochure (2)

    3. Can you illustrate through an example?

For instance if you are 55 years of age and have invested 5 million rupees you will receive a monthly pension of Rs. 41,750 (Annual pension will be Rs. 501,000) plus a life cover of Rs. 5,500,000 less total monthly pensions paid up to death. This monthly pension will be paid for as long as you live. The monthly pension will vary depending on the initial investment that you have paid. The other remarkable feature of this pension plan is that if you buy it at an older age, the pension you will receive will be more. For instance, a person aged 65 investing Rs. 5 Million will receive a monthly pension of Rs. 43,750 (Annual Pension of Rs. 525,000) with the same life cover for 10 years.

     4. What will happen if the policyholder dies within the first 10 years? Will the family get anything back?

Yes, that is what we are addressing through the life cover attached to the policy. If a policyholder dies within 10 years of taking the policy, his nominated beneficiaries will receive 110% of the investment less the pensions received by the policyholder up to his death. This effectively ensures that the initial investment is protected in the event of an early death. For instance if someone aged 55 invest one million Rupees and dies after two years of receiving the pension, his beneficiaries will receive approximately Rs. 900,000/-. This is in addition to the monthly pension of approximately Rs. 200,000/- already received by the policy holder.

     5. Normally a pension is given to government employees, what qualifications do you need to possess in order to  attain this product?

In order to obtain a My pension retirement plan you need to be within the entry age 55 to 80 & pay an initial investment for the single premium in the value range of Rs. 1 Million to 25 Million.

Out of all the retirement products in the market and considering the market interest rates, my pension is the best product available offering the highest pension for a given investment. The specialty about this product is that even though the interest rates fluctuate in the market, you will get the same fixed amount that was calculated at the time of committing. You will get a monthly pension from the day that you bought this product till the last day that you live. Even if you have been a government employee or a private employee same applies to all who obtain this pension plan.

Manjula De Silva, MD HNB Assurance

     6. From where can you get a ‘mypension’ plan?

My pension’ can easily be obtained from any of the 51 HNB Assurance branches that are located Island wide or from any of the 175 HNB branches where Bancassurance counters of HNB Assurance are located. Customers can also call the dedicated 24 hour hotline on 0114-384-384 to get more details or visit the Customer Service Center located at 51A, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 3.

     7. It is clear that ‘mypension’ is an attractive pension plan, Can you say something about the company that offers it?

HNB Assurance is a trusted company with a Fitch rating of ‘A (lka)’ which implies the strong financial stability of the company. We are a proud subsidiary of HNB which is one of the largest private sector commercial banks in Sri Lanka with a heritage of more than 125 years. Our hope is that our customers have a safe, independent retirement where they can enjoy their retirement with no stress, with an abundance of confidence that we will look after their financial needs.

Manjula de Silva – Managing Director of HNB Assurance

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

Be a Hero: Take a Stand Against Suicide

Suicide: A major problem in Sri Lanka

According to a staggering new WHO Report, Sri Lanka is the 4th most suicide prone country in the world, with 28.8 individuals per 100,000 committing suicide. This is significantly higher than the global rate of 11.4 per 100,000 individuals, with the most commonly used methods involving firearms, pesticide poisoning, hanging and jumping off buildings. Add to the fact that 3500 Sri Lankans took their lives last year, it makes for grim reading. Gunatilleke (2013) reports that suicide is a significant reason for the demise of individuals between 15 and 35. The question is: Why?

Help Someone Tackle Depression Identifying the Issues

The World Happiness Report 2013 may shed some light on this dilemma. Sri Lanka is one of the least happiest countries in the world, ranking 137 out of a measured 156 nations. The report adds that we have become less happier since the first report was published in 2010. Further reading cites mental health as the ‘single most important cause of unhappiness’, and manifests in the form of depression and anxiety. Wickramasinghe (2014) agrees, suggesting the victim often feels that the level of suffering is too much and wants to end his/her suffering. Other reasons are due to psychosis, impulsive behaviour and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where victims are exposed to highly traumatic experiences such as war, violence, death threats or sexual assault.

Help is Available

If you, dear reader, can relate to this article and feel that you have depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact Sumithrayo. They are a non profit who have listened to countless stories for over 40 years and will help you too. They have trained professionals who conduct awareness programs and are available 365 days a year, maintain client confidentiality and offer their services for free to those who need it the most. Contact can be reached via phone, email, letters or on a face to face basis and go out of their way to provide you the emotional support which you need.

In the meantime, get a Hope box and fill it with your with items which mean a lot to you: letters/emails from those who care about you, pictures of the ones you love, photographs of the special times in your life, inspirational or religious quotes, a CD of your favorite songs, jokes or a DVD of your favorite comedian which make you laugh-anything which helps you smile. At the end of the day, no matter what, suicide is not the answer.

Smile. Image credit: www.ft.lk

Help a Friend

If you know someone who may display warning signs of being overwhelmed or depressed, take action. The cues are often subtle, and may be physical, behavioural or even noticeable in everyday conversation. If you notice that something may be amiss, speak up and say you want to help them.  If you know somebody who has been a little distant, ask how they are doing and let them know you care.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

8 Essential Insurance Terms You Must Know

Following our debut post about the importance of insurance, its time to get a basic understanding of insurance terminology. We have compiled a list of common insurance definitions which customers often get confused over. This list is dedicated for those who want to get a basic grasp of insurance jargon but are too embarrassed to ask!

1.  Claim: This is a request made by the customer to the insurance company who wishes to recover (usually monetary compensation) after a loss, under the terms of the policy.

2. Benefit: The amount which the insurance company agrees to pay the customer in case an insured event taking place.

3. Premium: The amount paid by the customer in return for a contract of insurance. Premiums are normally paid weekly or monthly.

4. Deductible: This is the amount the policyholder has to pay before the insurance plan starts to cover their claims. Until this particular amount has been settled, the policyholder must pay for all claims out of pocket.

Its never too late to Understand Insurnace

5. Claims incurred: The total number of claims paid in the accounting period.

6. Sum Assured: The amount guaranteed by an insurance policy to pay the policyholder, prior to addition of any bonuses. This can also be called the coverage amount.

7. Maturity: The date when the value of the policy is paid by the insurance firm to the policyholder, and the contract ends. This includes the sum assured and additional bonuses (if any).

8. Annuity: This is where the policyholder deposits a lump-sum money for investment and the contract provides payments at regular intervals for a fixed period of time.

Do you have more terms which need to be explained? Tell us in the comments section!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.