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“Insuring Dreams”, this is exactly what we at Shriram Life do.

Shriram Life has emerged out of a parent company whose philosophy revolves around the Aam Aadmi (common man), not in papers, but in actuality. With a sole motivation to serve the marginalised section, every single member of Shriram family strive towards creating a better world, for himself/herself and for those around him/her.

For a world, where business means profits and self-centric service, our work-values might sound a bit farfetched. Understandably, the doubt is genuine and undeniable. So here, let us have a glance into the background of Shriram Life and the Shriram Group.
Commencing business in 2006, Shriram life was incorporated in the year of 2005, with constant support from Shriram Group and Sanlam Group, a 90 year old South African Insurance firm.

We work with the primary intention of bringing a positive change in the lives of our fellow beings, while adhering to high service standards at the same time.

The philosophy of putting the common man first is apparent in the way the Shriram Group functions. Its humble environment with no monumental expenditure on luxury is in sync with its working culture. Acknowledging our efforts, many accolades have been bestowed upon us.

Like every other family, the Shriram family also has elders whom we look upon, who guide each and every step of ours, ensuring smooth and effective functioning. The leaders are also known for their simplicity and down-to-earth approach. R.Thyagarajan, the founder of Shriram Group, Padma Bhushan awardee, is the living exemplary of honest and effective business principles.

With the same unwavering commitment, and equal enthusiasm, Shriram Life is stepping into the online world, making the process of buying insurance even simpler and customer -centric.

Under the impactful leadership and visionary approach of Mr. Manoj Jain, Mr. Cassie Kromhout and Mrs.Akhila Srinivasan, the family of Shriram Life is working towards making insurance buying simpler, faster and easier and to help customers in better management of their funds and in increasing their funds through the beneficial and suitable life insurance plans.

This blog is a part of the same initiative. Here, together, we intend to demystify the whole process of life insurance, for the benefits of our customers.

If you have any suggestion or a query, please free to contact us as at feedback@shriramlife.in

You can also reach us at our twitter handle – @ShriramLifeIns & on our Facebook profile http://facebook.com/shriramlife

Shriram Group Founder Mr. R Thyagarajan Honoured with Padma Bhushan

Mr R Thyagarajan (Popularly known as RT) holds a Masters in Mathematics and a Masters in Mathematical Statistics (I.S.I).He is an associate at Chartered Insurance Institute (A.C.I, London), and is a visiting faculty at the Asian Institute of Insurance, Philippines.

Prior to the humble beginnings of Shriram Chits, Mr R Thyagarajan worked with New India Assurance, from where he was strongly influenced by the then director, Mr BK Shah. A lot of the values and philosophies which RT has bought to the Shriram Group are taken from what he learnt during his stint with New India Assurance and his own personal commitment to the cause of the underserved.

Mr R Thyagarajan is founder of the Rs 60,000 crore Shriram Group, headquartered in Chennai. Founded in 1974 to cater to the needs of the under banked segment, the group has today grown to become India’s premier financial services network chain. Over the last ten years, Shriram Group has grown at an enviable rate, with a CAGR of over 40%. The group has over 2400 branches, more than 45,000 employees, Net profit in excess of Rs 15 billion and a strong customer base of 9.5 million. The group plans to expand its businesses into non-financial services in the near future.

Philosophies of Mr R Thyagarajan

The Shriram Group is driven by, and is well known for its philosophies which have been imparted by RT. These philosophies and values have been methodically instilled and institutionalized into the Shriram group over the last 3 decades.

1. Serving the Underserved thereby creating wealth in the community

Mr R Thyagarajan has exceptional commitment in serving the underserved category of customers (referred to as “aam admi”), as this segment of customers are usually neglected by the organised financial sector. These segments of customers have become the target market for all Shriram Group companies in the financial services space.

RT’s philosophy is that the group should only run enterprises which add value to the community. Mr Thyagarajan once said “Unless we have a useful role for the community and customer, we will not enter the business. The businesses we enter must meet the needs of the underserved sections of the economy”. For example, he felt that commercial vehicle buyers should have been given a fair chance of survival and not be burdened with high interest rates. He understood that they would be able to repay loans and it was just a matter of time. Hence he realised that because these segment of customer were neglected by other financial institutions, someone had to extend credit to them at reasonable rates. This is how Shriram Transport came into business, with focus on the owner operators (be it new or used vehicles). This segment has always been perceived as a high risk segment to cater too. Today, Shriram Transport has grown to an AUM in excess of Rs 40,000 crores, a PAT in excess of Rs 1,200 crores, Market Capitalisation in excess of Rs 13,000 crores, and a customer base of 8, 00,000.

In similar vain, one of the other NBFCs of Shriram (Shriram City Union Finance) has over the last 10 years focused on SME’s (small medium enterprises- an underserved segment), and has today grown to become a company with AUM in excess of Rs 13,000 crores, PAT in excess of Rs 350 crores, and a customer base of more than 3.7 million, re-enforcing RT’s philosophy of “serving the underserved”.

Most of Shriram branch employees work in branches from the town which they belong. This allows the employee to contribute back to the economy of the town to which they belong, and create higher standards of living. In addition to this, as the employee is from the same background of the customer, they are able to understand the customer well and build long lasting relations. This is a prime reason due to which most employees are recruited in nearby branches to where they live. Customer centric Community led approach was fostered as a core philosophy of the group.

2. People First

The Shriram’s group philosophy of putting “People first” is an integral part of the organisation and is so well embedded in its cultural ethos that employee attrition rates are under 10% and all the Chief Executives and senior management are home grown talent having been in the group for 20 plus years. RT, along with the leaders he nurtured painstakingly over the years, not only laid a sound foundation but also built an edifice of a business model that is driven by one single philosophy – Creating a positive difference to the lives and businesses of the Group’s customers. Today, the group has churned out leaders consistently from its own erstwhile branch managers and field staff. Rather than identifying businesses to be in, Mr Thyagarajan has instead focused on creating management teams that can build businesses- a very unique approach.

Mr Thyagarajan has always given his employees utmost importance and made sure this has transformed to a value for the group and all its leaders. He has formed a beneficiary trust in the group so that all management leaders of the group are beneficiaries of the wealth created by the group. His philosophy is that if there is any value created in the group, it should belong to the entire company and the employees who have helped in creating this wealth. This is unique in the corporate world in India given the large number of family owned businesses.

3. Empowerment

Empowerment and freedom of operation have been deployed effectively across the Group, resulting in an environment that is conducive to nurturing talent and allowing the exceptional performance to blossom. This philosophy of the group has, over the years, created a win-win situation for the group and its employees and continues to add unique value to the Group.

Mr Thyagarajan has always encouraged those who have an entrepreneurial spirit as he has always supported those who believe in starting a new business. This has allowed the managers to create a business by being fully
empowered, with the commitment of the group.

4. Investor Relations

Transparency levels are high in the group which has over the years increased investor comfort and trust. Mr R Thyagarajan has always ensured that the group focuses not only on providing a onetime transaction with its partners & investors, but on building a relation with them in the long run.

The group’s has high levels of transparency, unique values and philosophies and gives importance to investor relations while offering high returns. RT has managed to attract 90 year old South African Insurance giant, Sanlam Group, to partner with both the Life and General insurance businesses of the group. Both these companies have managed to make profits in the last few years, unlike other insurance players in the country. RT has often stated “Our Company is not based on transactions, but on relations with our financial and strategic partners”. The group has more than 20 Private Equity investors who all have significant shares in
group companies.

5. Frugal Management

Mr Thyagarajan is a role model to many. He leads by exception in a relatively simple life, and has transformed this to a philosophy of the group. Shriram Group doesn’t pay fancy salaries to its employees, does not spend extravagantly, and tries to always optimize costs. RT believes that empowerment and freedom and not huge salaries retain people within the group.

This philosophy has been inculcated by the employees of the group so well, that they have used the same philosophy to build simple offices and branches, as opposed to spending extravagantly on the looks of offices and branches. All the operating companies of the group have some of the best Cost/Income ratios within their respective
industries.

Vision of RT

Mr Thyagarajan’s vision for Shriram Group is to use the existing customer base and branch network of the group to grow into the SME (underserved) and Insurance business, and eventually become a large financial conglomerate serving the underserved through a diversified range of financial products and services.

This is one of the key reasons why Shriram has started focusing on financing of small enterprises (SME’s) as there is a need to fund SME’s in the country. With the existing network of Chits, this has proven to be a good move. The existing network of the group has always been useful for starting new ventures. The same was in the case of the Insurance business- The entry into Insurance was smooth due to the groups existing customers in truck financing.

Inclusive growth has always been a driving force for the group because of its commitment, and it will continue to be, as the group grows and expands to new businesses and verticals. The services of RT in the neglected sectors of the society will help shape the group in good stand in its ambition to contribute to the Indian growth story in the years to come.

When it comes to buying an insurance plan, there are many things which one needs to look into, especially, if you are buying it for the first time. Like every new experience, the process of purchasing a life insurance policy might appear intimidating and confusing.

Which is the best plan to buy? Where should I buy from? Do I really need insurance and why? How should I choose a plan? These are a few questions that will come haunting.

Here are a few tips that will help you in buy a suitable plan.

  • Know your insurance requirements:
    Before buying an insurance plan, assess your insurance needs thoroughly. The cost of a plan depends on variables such as your age, health, amount of coverage you want, etc. All these factors also play a major role in choosing an appropriate life insurance plan.
  • Choose your beneficiary carefully:
    A beneficiary must be someone who is trustworthy. So, do contemplate and decide who you want to nominate. It is also important to keep the beneficiary informed about your insurance plans and its prominent features.
  • Decide the amount of coverage:
    Whether you are single, or have a family, whatever the status of your health or your retirement plans, whether anyone depends on you financially, the amount of income you provide for your family, is there a debt that they may have to pay after you, how financially independent they are, based on these or similar questions you can decide the amount of coverage you would need.
  • Don’t hide, Inform truthfully:
    There is no point in hiding a few facts or distorting the truth to get a lower rate. At the time of the claim, the insurance companies do carry out detailed checking, which will reveal the truth eventually.
  • Understand the renewal policy:
    Most of the term insurance plans can be renewed for one or more terms. However, the amount of premium may increase when you opt to renew your plan. Before buying a policy do check the age limit until when you can renew the policy. It is also advisable to get an idea on the premium in case of policy renewal.
  • Compare different kinds of insurance plans:
    Are you looking for an affordable premium or a broader coverage period? Decide on which kind of plan you would like to purchase. For instance, you can choose between a term plan and a permanent insurance plan. In simple terms, term plans offer you cover for a stipulated period of time while permanent insurance offers coverage as long as you are paying the premiums, and has a cash value attached to it.
  • Be sure of your financial stability:
    Once an insurance plan is bought, it becomes very important to pay premiums on time. Be aware of your economical situation. Carefully evaluate whether you will be able to pay premiums on time and whether you will be able to bear the charges if in case the premium amount increases. Based on these questions, you should fix the amount of your premium.

Many of us are still sceptical when it comes to buying an insurance. The apprehension increases even further if the buying is via an online medium.

Why are we still unconvinced to purchase a life insurance policy through a fairly simple online method? There are many misconceptions that are associated with online buying. Lets look at some of those prevailing myths about online life insurance:

  • Myth 1 — There is zero personal assistance
    Fact: It is one of major and most popular misconceptions. However, the fact is that most of the insurance companies do have the option of constant online assistance. From information about the plan to clarifications on a clause, you can have real time assistance through a live online chat or toll-free number call.
  • Myth 2 — Online buying is a complicated process
    Fact: Buying insurance online involves a comparatively simple process. All you are required to do is to have your documents ready and within your reach! Once you login, select a suitable policy, fill the form and submit the documents. If a medical examination is required, you will be informed and the process will be taken further. The freedom to buy from anywhere, anytime, gives you flexibility, something which is difficult to attain through an offline purchase.
  • Myth 3 — One needs to be net-smart
    Fact: One only needs to be internet literate for buying an online life insurance plan. If you are aware of the basic functioning of a computer and internet then you can buy an insurance policy without any difficulty.
  • Myth 4 — Online Buying is Costlier
    Fact: On the contrary, buying an online plan is cost effective. As there is no involvement of agents and lesser infrastructure costs, the online plans have reduced rates when compared to offline plans.
  • Myth 5 — Claim settlement process is difficult for online policies
    Fact: There is a common perception that the process involved for the claim settlement for an online policy is more complicated. However, in reality there is absolutely no difference between the claim settlements in an online or an offline policy.
  • Myth 6 — Choices are limited for online insurance plans
    Fact: On an online platform, you have the complete freedom to cross check and compare as many insurance plans as you wish to. You can do detailed research on each plan and choose the one which suits you in the best possible way.
  • Myth 7 — It is unsafe to share information online
    Fact: As the websites of insurance companies are hosted on a SSL certified server, you need not worry about the misuse of your personal information. The server facilitates security of personal data as well as financial transactions.

What is mis-selling? As the name suggests, it involves selling of products by giving false or partial information.

Wondering how is it relevant to you? It is not restricted to any particular kind of product, rather it has become quite common in the insurance sector, a place which is highly susceptible to mis-selling. Consumers are convinced in such a way that they end up buying an unsuitable product. Many a times, the risks are not explained properly and misleading information is given.

Now comes the most important question – how to avoid mis-selling of life insurance policies?

Here are a few tips:

  • Ask for the standard illustration:
    First and foremost, ask the agent for a standard calculation of the plan. Many agents tend to offer a handwritten calculation, which can be easily manipulated. Hence, it is better to ask agent specifically for the company’s standard illustration of your selected insurance plan to avoid any misguidance. You can carry out calculations on the company’s website as well.
  • Clarify doubts:
    Understand what has been included and excluded, the surrender policy, the grace period, etc. Take some time to clarify all your doubts. It is advisable to not buy any plan in a hurry.
  • Filling the form yourself:
    Many agents offer to fill the insurance form on your behalf. Later, they would just ask for your signature. This does reduce your work, but may lead to ambiguity and confusion. To fully understand the policy, it is better to read all the details and then fill the form yourself. You should be completely aware of the documents you are going to sign.
  • Insurer Calls:
    To avoid mis-selling, Shriram Life and various other insurance companies call the consumer to ensure that they have understood all the terms of the plan. Here you can clarify all the doubts. If in case unconvinced, you can return the policy.
  • Evaluate excessively-fascinating products:
    Some of the agents try to lure with unbelievably charming products. There are high chances that the agent might be offering a few unrealistic rewards. It is better to cross check the product on the website or brochure of the insurance plan.
  • Check the medical requirements:
    While buying a life insurance plan do check whether there is any requirement for your medical details. It is seen that some agents skip providing medical details as it leads to delay in buying. However, it is one of the most important parts that directly impacts the claim settlement process.
  • Check the plan name:
    While filling the form, do check the policy name and confirm whether it is the same which you have selected. There can be many plans under a single category, each with their specific benefits and clauses. Thus, make sure that you have checked the name, in order to avoid any confusion.

Wondering what to gift your loved ones this year? Gadgets, kitchen ware, latest toys, tickets to a popular music event or a trip, video games, designer clothes — these are just a few gift options worth considering. How about considering something different this year, something which can be useful to them even in the years to come? How about gifting them a life-insurance policy?

It might not sound as exciting as planning other gifts. It might not even glitter enough on a Christmas tree or bring a bright smile to the faces of your young ones. However, it is one of the most practical gifts that you can give to your loved ones. One of the best ways to start your new year, filled with hope and strengthened with support.

It is a gift which promises to help you in situations which are uncertain and unseen. In other words, it prepares you for your future. Which gift can be better than gifting financial stability to your dear ones?

Here are a few reasons why you should gift life insurance policy:

  • A Generous gift: It is a gift for a lifetime, ensuring the financial security and safety of your loved one.
  • It is practical: One of the common ways of gifting an insurance policy is by making someone your beneficiary. This will ensure a comfortable life for them, even if something unfortunate happens to you.
  • Sets a good example: We all know the importance of life insurance. What better way to make the younger generation understand that, than by practically showing them? By gifting insurance, you set an example which others can follow too.
  • It proves to be profitable: Life insurance is a gift which increases in value with the passage of time. As the premiums are paid regularly, the cash value increases depending on the policy you opt for. It is always better to gift it to a young adult, so that the accumulated money can be used for his/her higher education and marriage.
  • Protects your child’s future: The biggest dream of any parent is to see their kids happy. We intend to provide them with the best we can. By buying an insurance policy for them you ensure that in future all their needs are fulfilled on time, without unnecessary pressure on you.
  • Shows your love: A life insurance plan shows how much you care for your family. As it is often said that “actions speak louder than words”, this gift will remind your family of your generosity and your love, even in your absence.
  • A respectful retirement: Not just children, you can gift a life insurance policy to yourself and your partner too. We all wish to have a happy old age. A relaxed and self-sufficient life is something we all want after retirement. Benefits of a life insurance policy can be invested to provide for retirement, depending on your financial circumstances.

Lead a healthy life, take less stress, exercise daily, eat healthy. Haven’t we all heard these once in a while, sometimes as a reminder, sometimes as a command. A healthy, hassle-free life is something we all wish to have. A bit of planning and a healthy routine is all what we need for a happy living.

Here are a few changes that we can do for a better self;

  • Watch what you eat:
    What we eat determines how we live. Healthy diet doesn’t mean total exclusion of carbohydrates and fat. In fact, what we really need is a balanced diet. Our body needs its fair share of fibre, proteins, minerals, vitamins along with fats and carbs too. So, whatever you eat, choose carefully. For instance, for healthy snacking, you can have almonds, which are high in protein and have lower cholesterol.
  • Drink More Water:
    Water is one of the most influencing factors that is needed to maintain a healthy equilibrium. Some of us don’t understand the importance of being hydrated. For a proper digestion, nutrient absorption and an overall maintenance it is crucial that we drink enough water. Drinking less water can not only slower the metabolism, but can also lead to many ailments.
    Another thing which we must keep in mind is to not substitute water with other kinds of liquid beverages. In fact, beverages such as coffee, soft drinks or alcohol leads to dehydration.
  • Develop a hobby:
    When you are feeling low or need a break from everyday stress, a hobby is one of the best ways to uplift the mood. Amidst the constant pressure of professional and personal goals, we are ignoring small pleasures of life. Hobbies are a key way to relieve our mind off stress. It also lets us socialise more and interact with those with common interests. A sure shot way to happiness.
  • Sleep enough:
    Most of us tend to ignore this. We might exercise daily and eat healthy but without enough rest we are likely to weaken. A sound sleep provides our body the time to carry out the regular maintenance and repairing of our cells. It is crucial for both physical and mental health. Research shows that insufficient sleep leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune system and mood disorders.
  • Be prepared:
    Maintaining a healthy body is comparatively easier than having a stress-free mind. We might have all physical comfort and a healthy routine but in the absence of a peaceful mind, all this may go in vain.

Well-being of our near ones is something which worries most of us. If in case, you are the breadwinner then your responsibility increases by many folds.

Although we cannot prevent unfortunate events, we can be prepared to face them in the best possible way. A backup plan can definitely help achieve mental peace. Once you are financially secure, you can be sure that if the need arises your requirements will be taken care of and your family will be protected. A life insurance policy can help with that but there are a few things one should bear in mind before buying one. You can read about that in our blog- Things to know before buying a life insurance.

With increasing number of insurance products in the market, customers enjoy a wide array of choices. Many competitive products are being offered, some at comparatively lesser rates as well. Predictably, many of us also prefer products which are cheaper. However, the question we need to ask ourselves is     – whether every cheap product is good?

Life Insurance, one of the most crucial of all products, is  available in a wide range, each plan with something unique to offer. Insurance companies are in competition to lure consumers with attractive features. Although most of the features are beneficial to us we do need to evaluate thoroughly before we finalise one.

We tend to go for the cheapest plan possible. The reason being the popular belief and the advice that is offered to us, again and again! There is nothing wrong in choosing a cheap plan. However, what we need to consider is whether that is the only deciding factor? Should rates of the product be the only criteria we need to follow?

No! Let us discuss why.

Buying life insurance, unlike any other product affects our entire life. That is the reason why it becomes even more important to be careful while purchasing. There are a few things which we must keep in mind before buying a life insurance plan.

Here are a few ways which can help you in making an informed decision.

First, review all your insurance needs. Understand what your requirements are, plan for your future and for your family. Decide whether you want to buy a term insurance or a permanent insurance. Term insurance offers cover for a stipulated period of time while permanent insurance offers cover as long as you pay the premiums.

Then, evaluate your financial condition – check whether you have any debt or mortgages. Decide on the amount of coverage you would want and for how long, the amount of premium that you will be able to pay regularly, whether you have any dependents or, whether you need to provide financial support to your family. If in case something unfortunate happens, how much of financial support you must provide to ensure a financially stable life for your children, parents and spouse. These are just a few factors that can influence your purchase of life insurance policy.

Rates of plans may vary from one company to other. However, for a suitable product, one must consider above mentioned variables along with looking into the cost of the plans. A life insurance is to help us at times of need. Hence, we shall buy a product which fulfils our requirements on time and in ways we would prefer.

Buying an insurance policy online can appear as a faster and hassle-free task. Well to be true, it is. Online process has made insurance buying much simpler and easier. A basic know-how of internet and a decent connection is all you need to get yourself a suitable policy. However, there are still a few things which one must keep in mind before making the purchase.

Here are a few common mistakes that we do while buying online policy –

  • Provide Incorrect Information:
    While filling an online form, there might be an agent around you to look into the accuracy of your details. However, the role this information plays during the claim process remains the same. If the insurance company finds out that the information provided is deliberately misled or is entirely incorrect, then there are high chances of your claim being rejected. Some insurance companies can also deny insurance altogether if policyholder provides wrong information. In worst cases, there can be allegation of fraud if policyholder has lied to a large extent. Even a minor lie can lead to rejection of your claims. Hence, be extra careful while providing your details. Ensure that every detail is correct. Get all the facts correct before filling the form.
  • Inadequate Research Before Buying:
    While buying life insurance policies, our decision is usually based on two major factors — cost of the policy and the claim ratio of the insurance company. However, in case of inadequate research, you might settle down for an average plan. Research about not just one, but various plans which are offered by the companies as well as which are listed on the aggregator’s sites and then finalise the most suitable one.
  • Forget to make the renewal payment:
    Unlike in traditional insurance, when you buy an online policy there is no agent to remind you about the premium renewal dates. As there is no one to remind, you are required to remember the dates and pay on time in order to save your policy from lapsing. The best way is to have your bank do it at every scheduled date and month. However, for this, you need to ensure that you have enough money in your account.
  • Buy an unsuitably large cover:
    Online insurance policies are quite popular for their costs. Most of the online policies offer low premium rates which is definitely an advantage unless the policyholder gets carried away. In many cases, the buyer tends to take a cover much larger than they require as the premium rates are low. However, one must look into the amount he/she is investing in premiums. Premium, however less, if paid for a cover which is not needed, is a waste. Don’t let the amount of premium be the deciding factor is choosing a policy or a cover for yourself and your family. Evaluate every influencing factor and then buy a policy.

Traditional plans are the oldest kind of insurance plans that are available in the market. For those, who seek lesser risk, these are the most ideal insurance plans. Although older, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the plan.

These are considered to be risk free and one of the safest plans. If you are wondering how, then let us have a detailed look.

Traditional insurance plans offer fixed returns to the insured at the time of maturity. In case of death, fixed returns are offered to the nominee. Along with this, there is also an ensured safety of funds as the investment guidelines (by IRDA) offer a cap on equity investments. The investment risks here are borne by the insurance companies, making it even more profitable for the buyers.

When compared to market-linked insurance plans, traditional plans are less volatile, resulting in higher stability. These plans are protection-oriented. There is lesser dependence on the external factors, making it easily comprehensible as well as almost risk free.

Who is the most ideal buyer of these plans? The answer could be, anyone. However, these are more suitable if you have low risk appetite. In other terms, if you are not financially prepared to take risks, then opting for low-risk plans like traditional insurance is advisable. These plans are also perfect for those with interests in long-term saving. It offers the benefits of both, protection as well as guaranteed returns to the passive investors. Through this plan, you get a guaranteed sum along with a bonus at maturity, if applicable. For those who wish to create assets, its feature of long term investment is ideal. Another major benefit of these plans is that it is difficult to mis-sell them, owing to its feature of assured returns. However, in traditional plans, usually the option of partial withdrawal is not offered.

There are primarily two kinds of plans — Endowment Insurance Plans and the Whole Life Insurance Plans. Broadly, they constitute features like as life insurance cover, returns, guarantees, safety and tax benefits.