Chennai, Feb 13 : If you fret that your finances may dry up if handed the pink slip or how your funeral will be funded, Bharti Axa Life Insurance Company is coming out with a series of innovative products promising to address at least a part of such anxieties.

The $370-million company, a 76:26 joint venture between the New Delhi-based Bharti group and the French Axa Group, proposes to launch these and several more first-of-its-kind risk covers in India by the third quarter of this year to improve customer coverage.

"We are planning a funeral expense plan as part of life insurance policy which will pay the funeral expenses within 48 hours of an intimation of a death-claim even if the full settlement takes more time," said V. Srinivasan, the group's chief financial officer.

"As regard the job-loss rider, it will compensate a policy holder for a specified period if he loses his job suddenly," Srinivasan told IANS, adding steps were also being taken to have a one-page policy drafted in simple language to save costs and ambiguity.

Incidentally, the business of insurance is said to have begun with what were then called "burial clubs" to cover the funeral expenses of their deceased members, while monetarily compensating the kith and kin of their survivors.

Srinivasan said Bharti Axa had already started paying the full fund value of unit-linked insurance policies within 48 hours of filing a claim. Even for traditional policies, the company will start paying the surrender value of a participating policy imediately.

Surrender value is the sum a life insurer will pay a policyholder, minus the charges, if the policy is surrendered before maturity. "The processing of death claim does take some time. But that time is also being shortened." he said.

"The claims sometimes may be pending due to want of papers or the investigation report. But by simplifying the claims procedure, we can shorten the process. These simple steps will also result in cost-cutting and contribute to our bottomline."

Srinivasan said some fixed costs were also being converted into variable ones -- like outsourcing human resources, where payments are based on the tasks achieved. The group also intends to use SMS to reach out to policymakers to save courier charges.

During the first half of the current financial year, the operating expenses of Bharti Axa Life came down by Rs.3.5 crore compared to the like period of last year. It earned Rs.368 crore from premia during the period, up from Rs.236 crore.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at

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