Wednesday, 8 June 2016

How Stakeholders take advantage of Insurance Companies

Insurance industry in Pakistan is still growing and has got only few major players in the market. In this phase of growth, the chances of negative intentions of stakeholders is a major issue. I am going to point out some common red flags in this write-up to which insurance professionals would easily relate.

It is not difficult to comprehend how billions of money is laundered each year through insurance industry worldwide. After many regulations by state authorities, the incidents still occur very often. More awareness is required to peruse anti-money laundering laws and periodic training must be given to underwriters to combat this financing terrorism.

Insurance companies are considered as a haven during taxation days. Number of applications received during this particular phase increase significantly, especially with high volume of premium. Although, it is a very good strategy to encourage potential customers to get insured but the problem is that an official tax rebate letter is issued to the client on behalf of insurance company at the time of application. The insurance case may linger on for a couple of months and then cancelled by the client. Even if the policy is issued, it can be cancelled by the client within free look period (and full premium is refunded). This kind of deal ends up being most profitable for client alone. It must not be that easy for anyone to cheat tax.

Some people see insurance company as an investment place. This point is very favorable from economic perspective but most of the time, clients surrender policies against cash values as soon as they get good returns. Insurance companies may introduce noticeable and attractive additional-to-existing incentives (not only limited to monetary) for a policy after every few years or so. In this way, sales gimmicks could also be reduced. The longer the insurance contract, the more profitable it would be.

Underwriters would agree that, underwriting do's and don'ts are subject to Sum at Risk. The same case is further submitted for higher Sum at Risk only after a few months of policy issuance. At this point, ignoring essential proposal requirements may result in risking the company to loss.

Transparency in SOPs and opting the best is the need of time to eliminate risk of scams. In my paperless proposal to Jubilee Life (Pakistan) for insurance application, underwriting and policy documents, it was mandatory to submit/upload video evidence of client agreement which is mentioned in Bancassurance Regulations by SECP as well.

There are many ways to overcome this issue in our insurance sector. All we need is implementation and good intentions. If everyone strives for profits keeping their eyes close to the loopholes, no one could be entitled as leaders.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

To-Do List at Work for Self Satisfaction

Office life constitutes most of your life as a professional. I said it often at workplace that this is our family where we spend more time with each other as compared to our family at home. Isn't it?
Weirdly, some people show different personalities and priorities at home and office. I think, whatever you do, self satisfaction would overpower in the end. Here are some of my picks to have an inner satisfaction no matter what :)
1. Take care of your people
If you are in a position to speak up for people, it becomes your responsibility to do so. Most of the time, they are the ones who cannot stand up on their own.
2. Never take part in office politics
You must have heard this phrase, "one bad fish spoils the whole pond".It actually happens! But what to ponder is whether you are also responding it with equal dirt? If yes, you are in no way better than them!
3. "Introduce" something 
And it must be new and original. You must have learned something in the past or you must have been gifted a skill by nature. Keeping it to yourself just to avoid extra burden/work is very self-centered kind of mindset. Try to bring in some fresh air to your office and you will also be blessed.
4. Teach others what you know
Lit the fire of knowledge, it will spread out itself! May be you are already doing a part. But, are you doing it for claps or to have a handsome increment or to butter up your boss? These materials won't bring you a token of self satisfaction.
Whenever you can, develop people around you to execute new ideas. Some of your colleagues just need a push and kind words. They can do wonders and you can be a source of encouragement for them.
5. Accredit others along with yourself
You are developing people and then you are taking all the credit when it hits as a big idea. Do you think it is fair? I would suggest you to mention the names and their efforts every now and then to your boss rather than just conveying the points where they couldn't perform well.
6. Invite your sub-ordinates for lunch
Professionals usually like to have lunch with their colleagues of same tier. The need of the time is to make your subordinates comfortable with you. And for me, lunch time is the best time to do so. Plus, look around if someone is skipping lunch for some reasons and bring/buy some extra food for them. Else you can simply arrange a group lunch, birthdays or a day-out.
7. Never compromise on your integrity
Like my mother teaches me, I never used even a pen for my personal use that I got from office, neither had a wrong intention for anything or anyone. Whatever your pride is, keep it flagged up. And then if someone tries to point a finger towards your integrity, what should be your take?
8. Be nice!
Your surroundings impact your efficacy. You can ignore physical space and facilities but you "have to" face people. Do not be another one to tease others. Enough already! there are many out there. Instead, you can be a go-to person and enjoy the perks of your very own satisfaction.
9. Personalize your space at your work station
You can have your family picture right on the wall. Why not? Dare to break stereotypes. Believe me it can act as an energy booster during late sittings. 
Once I had some colorful fish in a bowl at my desk. Many gathered around to see this little creature:) If you can find someone at office to take care of them, it will soothe your mind.
10. Advise correctly
If someone comes to you for advice and consultation (not because of your position or influence) then it's a great sign that you haven't wasted years.
In whatever way, it would be your prime responsibility to advise them rightly keeping all the factors in consideration. And yes, be careful of eavesdropping of your colleagues because they may get and pass on an extremely wrong picture of what you are actually advising (Haha! I experienced it :D)
Now that I have left job, above practices lifted my soul as I received so much respect after that. Those bittersweet memories would be a part of my life but with deep satisfaction within myself.

Friday, 16 October 2015

5 things I learned from MasterChef Australia (Season 7) for my Professional life

MasterChef Australia has been the addiction this season for some people like me! This show is known for passion and love of food. What I have observed while watching the show is that I’ve learned a few extra things than just recipes and food, the things that are helping me out at the workplace. 
1. Do not be over-confident without right strategy
Like everything else, we all have some strengths and weaknesses in the kitchen as well. (Well, if you know how to cook!) But, your strength does not work all the times, especially if you feel over confident about it.
I’ve seen multiple times that some participants were so self-assured about the ingredient or palate of the dish, but they end up in elimination pressure test because of this over-confidence and not thinking over the right strategy.
Recall the salad competition in which Rose claimed to be a salad queen, but her salad was rejected by the judges. Also, I cannot forget Melita’s disappointment when she was given the boot from MasterChef on Thai food which she cooks a lot at home.
2. Never lose trust in yourself till last moment
I would call Rose “The Elimination Champion”, like seriously! She ended up in elimination test three times in a row. The thing that amazed me more than this was that she escaped the kick-out from MasterChef kitchen and realigned herself every time.
I noticed that she never quit during eliminations and keep trusting her guts and instincts. While other girls were doing much ahead than her in Carrot Cake pressure test, she was calmly reading the recipe to know all ins and outs. I think, that is how she presented the most beautiful carrot cake and much similar to the original one.
Trusting in yourself and fighting till the very last second can make you fool rejections, I learned.
3. Failure teaches you what success cannot
Initially, John was not one of my favorite cooks because of his unnecessary overdoing in dishes he served. Then, it was the communication team challenge and he just rejected the dish chosen by his captain Jarrod. He started all over again in the middle of the competition which failed the whole team.
The good thing was that he learned from his mistakes and began following advises of the judges and mentors. He actually made some very interesting dishes after realizing his mistakes and rectifying them.
Yes, failure can teach you more than success but you have to be ready to learn from your mistakes.
4. What you know should reflect in what you do
So, you know a lot, inspiring! But, what are you reflecting is the question in queue. A lot of good cooks sent home in this magnificent show only because of losing themselves. They could not manage to let the pressure down at tricky points.
You have to have composure of yourself or be ready to descend. The episode of team challenge to feed Mexican food to over 500 people reflected the same. Sara, who is known for her captaincy, seemed confused and lost self-control that ultimately made her bump up her prices in front of customers. Obviously, this move of her was far away from reality.
5. You can try to be a MASTER of all trades
Maybe you’re a good cook, perhaps an excellent cook, but do you know dessert, savory, Italian, Mexican, plating, cutting, utensils, machines, breakfast, hi-tea and so on very well? You may not be a Master of all trades, but at least you can try!
MasterChef checked every aspect of a MASTER CHEF in her contestants. The ones who were able to roll over the different angles of each requirement were the ones who managed to keep themselves going.
Being a professional, consider your expertise in the area you are working in and try to broaden your skill set. Never underestimate the power of general skills e.g. communication, computer proficiency, decision-making power, leadership skills, teamwork, negotiation skills, confidence, relationship building, stress management and the list goes on. They all are going to help you in one way or other in your work life and make your professional goal a bit easier to achieve. 
There are many practical examples of success and failure, trying and losing, learning and doing which are spinning around us. All we need to do is to roam around and pick the right mixtures of confidence and failures and skills for our professional life.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Facebook - a set of brands

Only a few years ago, the term Social Media was not so familiar even the existence was there. Today, especially in context of Marketing, Social Media Marketing is popularized as a new platform with high rate of returns.

What social media is all about, I guess, is to socialize non-physically but effectively. Like a lion in the forest, facebook is the king in social media. Playing smartly, an 8 year kid with millions of profiles has started rigorous captures all around.

Few of the purchases made by facebook are:

February’ 2010 – Octazen Solutions (Contact importing startup)
April, 2010 – Divvyshot (Photo-sharing service)
April, 2012 – Instagram (Photo-sharing service)
March’ 2013 – Team from Storylane
August’ 2013 – FriendFeed (News aggregator by Gmail engineer)
February’ 2014 – Whatsapp (IM application for Smartphone) – announced only

To some sources (See, it would be the 45th acquisition by facebook since inception and the most highly paid too. Its line of action is clear, it’s expanding. Shares of profits made by facebook that made these purchases possible are the ‘artifact’ of Social Media Marketing. Although, all of the purchases are in favor of strengthening of the business in social media but, it has raised some other concerns too.

At first, security and privacy issues are already in limelight with the extensive use of facebook all over the world. Facebook took a number of measures to tackle the issues but they are still there. In addition to that, people’s personal information has been circulated widely whether publicly or privately through social media. It all goes in hands of one, ultimately. I hope, facebook is already planning to take care of these.

With every new app or tech, we get used to of it like in past with Instagram and Whatsapp. Can you just think of a couple of days without facebook? We all are habitual of sharing and socializing now no matter who has acquired what.

Next few moves of facebook will more clearly explain the horizon of expansion. Whatever it is, but facebook is really working on ‘connecting people’. Isn’t it?

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Consumerism is not about consumers. It’s about consuming

The more we consume, the better our lives will be can be awarded as the most misleading notion of this world. Upto 70% off on Ego, Clearance Sale at Zubaida’s, Buy 2 Jeans and get 1 free from Levi’s and much much much more is ready to grab your attention while just passing by the road, a commercial area or a shopping mall.

Karachi, specifically, is the place where being Shopaholic is like winning a big game. Though the idea of consuming more is not communicated to us in a way as the crow flies but the bombardment of advertisements through different mediums leads us to this trail.

Many products have used consumerism as a marketing technique to lift up consumption of the product and elevate their profits. For instance, toothpaste ads are claiming that brushing twice a day every day is necessary but in actual, brushing while going to bed is needed and the person can have a mouth wash or so in the morning just to freshen up. But today, 90% of the world is not aware of this fact.

Why consuming more is negative? Rather, it can be beneficial for the economy. Turning the coin, global warming, destruction of forests, elevating standards of life for a common man, evaporating water resources, shortage of marine life, rapid rate of population growth, obesity and hunger are the problems in this world that are encouraged by consumerism.

Although, ethical shopping is also in practice in many developed countries and consumers too are concerned with the idea but they are still not ready to shop less for the sake of mother earth. Only not consuming a polythene bag or buying items that are not tested on animals is not sufficient.

Surely, the more we consume the more energy will be used and the world will move towards destruction. "Consumerism is now a lethal disease", says Jonathan Porritt. The need of the time is to change the culture..................... the culture of consuming more and more. Let our culture overpower on advertising industry and not the advertising industry to shape our culture.

Consume Less .......... Save the Planet !!!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Upbeat in a crunchy munchy planet....

Walking through a general store lets you have a glimpse of a bundle of crisps stack inside glass counters. Apart from the fact that they cost no more than a quarter of a hundred, they hold almost 80% of the space on the shelves. Why is it so?

Gone are the days when it was considered that 'girls' are fond of spicy snacks. Now, even age doesn't restrict you to have some crisp packet in your hand. What do people get from these snacks? Joy or satisfaction or is it just a matter of habit? Or maybe just to prevent sanction from the group that surrounds you? Whatever it is, Pakistanis are addicted to these snacks now.

Noticeable is a fact that not a single barrier is faced while entering into a snack industry in Pakistan. People here welcome every new kid on the block. Though it is reasonable to say that Pakistani market is widening her arms for new businesses that in-turn benefits our economy, but there are some other concerns too.

Most of the snacks, especially potato chips, are fatty and are not good for health, but they are consumed on a larger scale. Rising issues like diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, heart diseases and so forth are not in the pink of a condition in our country. Unfortunately, health related needs are not met appropriately and people are not ready to quit having these snacks like cigarette, chaalia and gutka. Surely, it negatively impacts on their health.

Children, adults and oldies...everyone is fond of these snacks. But, there can also be some smart choices to minimize their adverse consequences. Have some baked healthy crisps like Cheers!! Have a smart life!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

You are more beautiful than you think!

“Oh no, a pimple again … right on my nose” I was worried in front of the mirror. When I told my friend about that, she responded someway like “C'mon, you are worrying for a pimple alone. See me; my eyes are too small naturally. I don't know how to give them a prominent look for today's party”.

These kinds of conversations are a part of our daily life. Every woman is found complaining, in some way or other, about her beauty. I don't know why visual aspect has always been a ‘topmost’ priority of feminine class. I never met a woman who is completely satisfied with her face cuts, complexion, hair texture, and so forth.

A goofy point is that every woman is impressed by her neighbor's bulgy eyes, her colleague's oval face and her sister's flawless skin. Like me, as I replied to my friend, “Your eyes are just perfect. You are taking it into your head for no reason”.

Dove, well known for its beauty platform and their round-the-way viewpoint on the topic, has picked the latent point and released a video. They produce a pair of sketches for a few women, one of them based on the woman's own explanation of herself and the other one was described by other people.

“I should be more grateful of my natural beauty” said a participant. They explained their faces as fat rounded one, big jaw, more freckles, big forehead. However, fellow participants praised them being fair in color, having a nice thin chin, nice eyes, cute nose, chic blue eyes and likewise.

Every woman is beautiful, indeed. We should now stop making faces each day in front of the mirror and accept as we are. 'What you do' is more significant than 'How you look’. Isn't it???