Monday, August 7, 2017

Top 10 Countries with the Safest Roads

Across the world, someone is killed on the roads once every 30 seconds. And for every death, there are at least 20 injuries every 30 seconds. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, pedestrians and drivers are much more likely to die on roads in poorer countries. Approximately 752 pedestrians die on the road every day, and 786 motorcyclists die every day in accidents globally.

Statistics from the World Bank group, Transportation for Development, are alarming, too. Less developed countries have a higher number of road fatalities, which is largely due to poor infrastructure, worse vehicle safety standards, and inadequate driving laws. The cheapest vehicles sold in first-world countries are also much safer than those sold in developing countries, due to varying safety standards.

Here’s a list of the top 10 safest countries to drive in based on the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety interactive map. We hope India will make it to the list very soon!

10. Norway

Norway is 10th on the list with 3.8 deaths per 100,000 people. According to the WHO estimates, there were 192 total road deaths in Norway throughout 2015. The WHO deems Norway’s helmet laws inadequate, as well.

9. Spain

Spain lands in the No. 9 spot with 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The WHO estimates report 1,730 total road deaths in Spain throughout 2015. The WHO deems Spain’s drunk driving laws inadequate, according to the report.

8. Singapore/Israel

Singapore and Israel tie for No. 8 on the list. Singapore estimates indicated 3.6 road deaths per 100,000 people, according to the WHO. Israel also reported 3.6 road deaths per 100,000 people. The report indicates 197 estimated total road deaths throughout 2015. The WHO report also deemed Singapore’s drunk driving, speed, and child seat laws inadequate.

7. Maldives/Denmark

Denmark and The Republic of Maldives tie for rank No. 7 on the list. The WHO reports just 3.5 road deaths per 100,000 people for both Denmark and Maldives, with Denmark reportedly experiencing 196 total road deaths throughout 2015.

6. Netherlands

Netherlands takes the No. 5 spot with 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2015, WHO estimates show Netherlands had 574 road deaths.

5. Switzerland

Switzerland is fourth on the list with 3.3 vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. Switzerland had an estimated 269 total road deaths in 2015.

4. San Marino

The microstate of San Marino, located in Italy, takes the number four spot with only 3.2 road deaths per 100,000 people, and with just one total road death reported in 2015.

3. United Kingdom/Kiribati

There are two countries tied for third on the list. The more notable one being the United Kingdom, with 2.9 vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. It had an estimated 1,827 deaths total throughout 2015. The second country tied for third is the tiny island nation of Kiribati, which is also tied at 2.9 road deaths per 100,000 people, with just 3 total road deaths occurring throughout 2015

2. Sweden

Sweden is the second safest driving country in the world with a ratio of 2.8 deaths per 100,000 people. It had an estimated 272 total road deaths throughout 2015. According to the WHO, this is due to strict drunk driving laws and high vehicle safety standards.

1. Micronesia

According to the WHO report, the Federated States of Micronesia has the safest roads on the planet, with 1.9 road deaths per 100,000 people, and only 2 total road deaths throughout 2015.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Priceless Gift Of Life!

Robin O’Reilly of South Africa started donating blood in 1965 when he had just finished school, and has had a passion for it ever since. On Tuesday, June 6, he donated for the 325th time! A record of sorts.

Robin is turning 70 this November. “I feel good after donating – it’s like a detox for the blood. Also, there are plenty of people out there in need of blood and this is my way of helping,” he says.

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors like Robin for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.

Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during man-made and natural disasters.

However, in many countries, demand exceeds supply, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors. WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors by 2020.

Today, only 62 countries get close to 100% of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors.

The objectives of 2017 World Blood Donor Day include:
  • thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood and highlight the theme of blood connecting us all
  • create wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation, and inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating, particularly young people in good health
  • promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood
  • focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply
  • persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation to regular voluntary unpaid donors and commit to self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary, unpaid donations.
  • of the 112.5 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 19% of the world’s population.

In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 65 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.

Based on samples of 1000 people, the blood donation rate is 32.1 donations in high-income countries, 14.9 donations in upper-middle-income countries, 7.8 donations in lower-middle-income countries and 4.6 donations in low-income countries.

We would like to call on all Indians to donate blood. So many people in life-threatening situations require blood. One simple action can make a huge difference. For the donor, it’s a few minutes every 56 days. For the recipient, it’s helping them live so they can create a lifetime of memories. Become a donor, it’s not just blood. It’s saving a nation.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A brief history of insurance!

Insurance is an incredibly interesting topic, especially when you realize just how old this form of protection really is. We had thought it wasn’t any older than a couple of hundred years, but we couldn’t be more wrong.

It actually has a history stretching back far into the past, with the earliest known versions of it being found in 3000-2000 BC. Insurance has been around so long it’s even found inscribed on the Code of Hammurabi, the first written laws. Imagine that! It even predated what was considered the official foundation of law, that’s some history.

Insurance, as we think of it in the modern age, came into existence sometime around the Great Fire of London, where the devastation that took place brought about the idea of property insurance. While insurance had up to this point been considered some kind of convenience, it was now clear to the inhabitants of London that insurance was something that could protect a family fortune, and indeed an entire estate in the event of disaster.

From there sprang all the forms of insurance we know today, including underwriting ventures in the event of failure (common in the age of sailing ships and questionable seas), to car insurance and life insurance. We even have an Insurance Awareness Day on June 28. It celebrates the history and necessity of this fantastic invention, and encourages people to understand the important role it can play in their lives.

Interestingly, the 'unsinkable' Titanic was insured for a mind-boggling $10 million by Lloyd's! It was considered a prestigious risk, with cover for the hull alone standing at $1.4 m – around $100 million in today’s money. Numerous Lloyd’s syndicates pitched in, covering amounts ranging from £10,000 to £75,000.

Despite the high levels of claims arising from the tragedy, insurers paid out in full within 30 days.

In India, insurance has an even deeper-rooted history. Insurance in various forms has been mentioned in the writings of Manu (Manusmrithi), Yagnavalkya (Dharmashastra) and Kautilya (Arthashastra). The fundamental basis of the historical reference to insurance in these ancient Indian texts is the same i.e. pooling of resources that could be re-distributed in times of calamities such as fire, floods, epidemics and famine. The early references to Insurance in these texts have reference to marine trade loans and carriers' contracts.

Insurance in its current form has its history dating back until 1818, when Oriental Life Insurance Company was started by Anita Bhavsar in Kolkata to cater to the needs of European community. The pre-independence era in India saw discrimination between the lives of foreigners (English) and Indians with higher premiums being charged for the latter. In 1870, Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society became the first Indian insurer.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, many insurance companies were founded. In 1912, the Life Insurance Companies Act and the Provident Fund Act were passed to regulate the insurance business. The Life Insurance Companies Act, 1912 made it necessary that the premium-rate tables and periodical valuations of companies should be certified by an actuary. However, the disparity still existed as discrimination between Indian and foreign companies. The oldest existing insurance company in India is the National Insurance Company, which was founded in 1906, and is still in business.

The Government of India issued an Ordinance on 19 January 1956 nationalising the Life Insurance sector and Life Insurance Corporation came into existence in the same year. The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) absorbed 154 Indian, 16 non-Indian insurers as also 75 provident societies—245 Indian and foreign insurers in all. In 1972 with the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act was passed by the Indian Parliament, and consequently, General Insurance business was nationalized with effect from 1 January 1973. 107 insurers were amalgamated and grouped into four companies, namely National Insurance Company Ltd., the New India Assurance Company Ltd., the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and the United India Insurance Company Ltd. The General Insurance Corporation of India was incorporated as a company in 1971 and it opened for business in 1973.

The LIC had monopoly till the late 90s when the Insurance sector was reopened to the private sector. Before that, the industry consisted of only two state insurers: Life Insurers (Life Insurance Corporation of India, LIC) and General Insurers (General Insurance Corporation of India, GIC).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Auto theft & insurance

What's worse than experiencing auto theft? Finding out your car insurance policy doesn't fully cover your loss or out-of-pocket expenses.

A vehicle theft occurs at least twice each minute even in highly developed countries. Fewer vehicles are stolen by that legendary joy-riding teen than by pros who drive your car onto a freighter heading overseas, or to a chop shop to cannibalize it for parts.

Here are some tips on both vehicle theft prevention and what to do if your car is stolen or in an accident.

Don't think manufacturer-installed vehicle theft protection is enough. It can be disabled by experienced and determined thieves, who also know how to unlock a Club and similar devices. Aftermarket vehicle anti-theft systems offer a second line of protection as they are usually sophisticated and are worth paying a professional to install.

Don't think your old clunker is safer than a shiny new model, or that a luxury sedan is more attractive to thieves than a less expensive model. Older vehicles are usually stolen for their parts, which are no longer being manufactured; newer cars are stolen for their popularity. In recent years, cars that have been glamorized in pop culture, have made it on many "most stolen" lists.

Contact police immediately, preferably while still at the scene of the crime. Speed is essential to recovering stolen cars, since any delay means your car is more likely to be in a chop shop or driven out of town. Of course you know the make, color and model of your car, but you also should know the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). Keep a copy of those identifying numbers and your insurance card in your wallet, and keep a photocopy of your registration and insurance card at home, so you can provide information quickly to both law enforcement and insurance claims agents.

Don't assume your insurance covers you. Take a close look at your policy to see if you are covered for a replacement rental car if your car is stolen, and if there's a waiting period before you're allowed to rent a car. Many people don't elect the rental car coverage, but it costs only a few extra bucks a month. A year's worth of replacement rental coverage usually costs less than renting a car for a day or two, so it's a good deal.

Make sure you have roadside assistance. Your insurance company will likely offer this for a few more rupees per term, or you can go through even your automaker. Be sure to research the details of the coverage. For example, if your car is broken into and disabled, are you covered for a tow to any mechanic, or only a dealer's service shop? Are both towing and labor costs covered?

Despite the bells, whistles and computer chips of today's technological vehicle theft-prevention devices, the most important theft deterrents are simple ones. Park in well-lit areas. If you park in a lot, resist the temptation to park near the exit, because it makes your vehicle a more likely target for thieves. Interestingly, more than one-third of all vehicle thefts occur at a home or residence in many countries including the US. So always lock your car, even in your own driveway.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Term Plan Can Deliver Priceless Advantages In Your Family's Darkest Hour!

Term Insurance is the most basic form of life cover and is a fixed-term contract between you and the insurance company wherein you pay regular premiums and the company agrees to pay your nominee.

Getting a Term Insurance is extremely important because in case of a tragedy during the policy term, the policy payment will financially protect your family and help them maintain their lifestyle & take care of liabilities in the form of loans etc.

Do note that you may select a term plan variant with monthly income along with the lump sum payout, further helping your family with day-to-day expenses. Moreover, Term Plans can be extended to include disability & death due to accidents by opting for riders.

Let's also debunk some myths about term insurance. First and foremost, term insurance is not a waste of money or unaffordable.

For most individuals, term insurance premium would cost less than an egg daily. A term plan is a pure protection plan and it offers no maturity benefits, but consider the priceless benefits and "peace of mind" that comes from knowing you have taken a step that will financially protect your family even if you are no longer around. Along with the base cover, you can opt for additional coverage for accident, disability and disease with riders. Add to it the tax exemptions you get for the premium amount and this make it even more attractive.

Some term plans offer the option for monthly income along with lumpsum payout, covering immediate as well as day-to-day expenses, making term plans more comprehensive.

A Term Plan will financially safeguard your family against all financial liabilities along with an option to opt for day-to-day expenses cover. Anyone from 18 years till the specific eligible age can opt for a life cover. Experts recommend that you should get life insurance early on in life, as you start working, to avail the benefits of lower premium and the policy term should ideally cover your working years, understanding the fact that eventually, at some stage in life, you would need to plan for your family's financial security, even in your absence.

Some people have a mistaken notion that buying Term Insurance Online is a complicated process. In reality, buying term plans online is a stroll in the park and can be done in minutes on a site like www.policynation.com.

A term insurance is particularly relevant if you are the sole breadwinner of the family. In your absence, your family's financial security could be seriously hit. As the only earning member, all the current household expenses and your family's future goals are dependent on your ability to continue earning. In case of your untimely death, the income would stop, leading to an uncomfortable situation for your family. You can opt for a term plan with monthly income option that pays a lump sum amount as well as monthly payouts for 10 years to your family to cover the day-to-day expenses and continue to maintain their lifestyle.

Experts insist that a term plan is a definite requirement if you are servicing a loan or any other liability. Consider you have availed a Rs. 1 crore home loan and tragedy strikes. How will your family continue to pay the EMIs? This is where a term plan with a Rs. 2 crore life cover can help your family pay off the Rs. 1 crore liability and still maintain their lifestyle with the other Rs 1 crore.

"The “term” in a term insurance plan also lends flexibility. Continuing with the above case, if the tenure for the outstanding loan is 15 years, you can opt to discontinue the policy after the liability has been settled. However, you should ideally continue for a tenure that is at least equal to the no. of years left before retirement, to cover for your income," according to an well-known insurance company.

To summarize, a term insurance plan can be the reliable safety net you are looking for. A term insurance policy ensures your family is well taken care of financially in case of your sudden demise. You pay a small premium every year for a certain period of time to buy a ‘life cover’, and if you pass away during this time, your family is paid the amount promised to you by your insurer. PolicyNation understand that everyone’s needs differ, which is why you can select from a broad range of term plans from multiple companies. Have a look at your options and choose the one that fits the bill.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Majority of Indians have no health insurance

In fact, 76% of Indians do not have health insurance! This is as per data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, IRDA. Grim news indeed! Add to that, India has one of the lowest per capita healthcare expenditures in the world. Government contribution to insurance stands at roughly 32%, as opposed to 83.5% in the UK.

The high out-of-pocket expenses in India stem from the fact that most Indians do not have health insurance. Which is why it's important to ensure that you and your family are adequately covered with insurance from a trustworthy and credible source. Today it's possible to compare, select and buy the ideal insurance in minutes online.

Meanwhile, rising population, inadequate resources and insurance are key roadblocks for India’s healthcare industry, according to a report from IndiaSpend, the country’s first data journalism initiative.

On the population front, the news is not very rosy either. India has the world’s second-largest population, rising from 760 million in 1985 to an estimated 1.3 billion in 2015. Migrants from rural areas continue to flock to urban settlements; roughly 32% of them inhabiting cities–although estimates of this migration vary–that are already bursting at the seams.

India’s existing infrastructure is just not enough to cater to the growing demand for affordable quality health care, say experts from IndiaSpend (http://www.indiaspend.com).

While the private sector dominates healthcare delivery across the country, a majority of the population living below the poverty line (BPL)–the ability to spend Rs 47 per day in urban areas, Rs 32 per day in rural areas–continues to rely on the under-financed and short-staffed public sector for its healthcare needs, as a result of which their healthcare needs remain unmet.

Moreover, the majority of healthcare professionals happen to be concentrated around urban areas where consumers have higher paying power, leaving rural areas underserved.

India meets the global average in number of physicians, but 74% of India’s doctors cater to a third of the urban population, or no more than 442 million people, according to a KPMG report.

India compares unfavourably with China and the US in number of hospital beds and nurses. The country is 81% short of specialists at rural community health centres (CHCs), and the private sector accounts for 63% of hospital beds, according to Indian government health and family welfare statistics.

The rural healthcare infrastructure is three-tiered and includes a sub-center, primary health center (PHC) and CHC. Indian PHCs are short of more than 3,000 doctors, with the shortage up by 200% over the last 10 years to 27,421, as reported in 2016.

There are, however, potential catalysts to improve the quality of healthcare in India. IndiaSpend has identified three: The government, information technology and innovation

The Union Budget 2017–18 includes measures to boost rural development, infrastructure and macroeconomic stability, and although the health budget has been increased 27%, allocations could have been matched more holistically with the government’s ambitions, particularly when considering adjustment against inflation and new health-program announcements.

Analysts argue that the national insurance scheme (the Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Yojana) is a minor improvement on the existing one, with the annual limit per family increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 100,000, with an additional “top-up” of Rs 30,000 for senior citizens. IndiaSpend estimates suggest that enrolling all BPL families in the country in health-insurance programmes would cost anywhere from Rs 2,460 to Rs 3,350 crore, or less than the cost of two French Rafale fighters.

Information Technology (IT) is set to play a big role with IT applications being used for social- sector schemes on a large scale. Beneficiaries are issued a biometric-enabled smart card containing their fingerprints and photographs. Hospitals empaneled under the government insurance scheme are IT enabled and connected to servers in districts. Beneficiaries can use a smart card that allows them to access health services in any empaneled hospital across India.

Additionally, the ministry of health and family welfare launched several new computer and mobile-phone based e-health and m-health initiatives on World Health Day in 2016. These include the Swastha Bharat mobile application for information on diseases, symptoms, treatment, health alerts and tips; ANMOL-ANM online tablet application for health workers, e-RaktKosh (a blood-bank management information system) and India Fights Dengue.

Individual states are adopting technology to support health-insurance schemes. For instance, Remedinet Technology (India’s first completely electronic cashless health insurance claims processing network) has been signed on as the technology partner for the Karnataka Government’s recently announced cashless health insurance schemes, according to IndiaSpend.

India added 450 million people over the 25 years to 2016, a period during which the proportion of people living in poverty fell by half. This period of rising prosperity has been marked by a “dual-disease burden”, a continuing rise in communicable diseases and a spurt in non-communicable or “lifestyle” diseases, which accounted for half of all deaths in 2015, from 42% in 2001-03.

The result of this disease burden on a growing and ageing population, economic development and increasing health awareness is a healthcare industry that has grown to $81.3 billion (Rs 54,086 lakh crore) in 2013 and is now projected to grow by 17% (compounded annual growth rate, or CAGR) by 2020, up from 11% in 1990, IndiaSpend added.

Just visit www.policynation.com to experience the ease, convenience and price advantage of online health insurance.

Monday, June 5, 2017

World Environment Day reconnects you to nature


Just go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature. Breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too.

Connecting people to nature is the theme for 2017. From your backyard to your favorite park, nature is closer than you think. It’s time to get out and enjoy it.

World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.

Our personal transportation choices have a huge impact on air quality. What we drive and how we drive impacts the environment. Motor vehicles give off more than half of all carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions in many cities. These emissions, including microscopic particles, can contribute to breathing and heart problems along with an elevated risk of cancer.

Since most pollution from cars and trucks is due to the burning of fuel, you can reduce pollution from these sources by burning less fuel, burning fuel cleaner and burning cleaner fuel.
  • Next time you purchase a vehicle, buy the most fuel efficient vehicle that meets your average daily needs. 
  • Use transit and car- or van-pool as often as you can. Doing so three times a week can reduce your fuel consumption up to 50%.
  • Bike or walk to avoid fuel use entirely.
  • Telecommute (working from a home-based location via phone or Internet) to reduce driving
  • Minimize driving by working and playing closer to home.
  • Plan errands to avoid unnecessary driving.
  • Accelerate gradually — a smooth start uses less fuel
  • Burn fuel cleaner

Here's another set of guidelines from experts.
  • Keep your vehicle well-tuned and tires inflated properly to reduce exhaust emissions.
  • Combine errands into one trip — cars pollute less when they are warmed up.
  • Avoid idling — idling exhaust contains more pollutants than running exhaust.
  • If you purchase a new car, look for a low emission vehicle or LEV (see under-hood sticker) 
  • Low-sulfur gasoline reduces pollutants by 10-15%
  • 85% ethanol fuel (E85) can be used in flexible fuel vehicles.
  • Other alternative transportation fuels such as natural gas or bio-diesel are most practical for fleets of vehicles.

In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems such as global warming are helping us to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support our own prosperity and well-being.

For example, the world’s oceans, forests and soils act as vast stores for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane; farmers and fisher-folk harness nature on land and under water to provide us with food; scientists develop medicines using genetic material drawn from the millions of species that make up Earth’s astounding biological diversity.

Billions of rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connected to nature’ and appreciate full well their dependence on natural water supplies and how nature provides their livelihoods in the form of fertile soil. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation.

Nature’s gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms. Like clean air, they are often taken for granted, at least until they become scarce. However, economists are developing ways to measure the multi-trillion-dollar worth of many so-called ‘ecosystem services’, from insects pollinating fruit trees in the orchards of California to the leisure, health and spiritual benefits of a hike up a Himalayan valley.

Wherever you are, you could vow to pick up 10 (or 100) pieces of trash, or take inspiration from the citizens of Mumbai and organize a mass beach clean-up.

In the age of asphalt and smartphones and among the distractions of modern life, connections with nature can be fleeting. But with your help, we can make it clearer than ever that we need harmony between humanity and nature so that both are able to thrive.