RMS Titanic Insurance Claims

It is exactly 100 years since the pride of the White Star Line, the RMS Titanic, hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and sank with the loss of over 1500 lives.

The centenary has prompted many insurance companies on both sides of the Atlantic to publish documents relating to the greatest maritime loss to date in relative costs, mostly showing their company’s involvement with claims payouts.

When the Titanic sank on the 15th of April 1912, the Lutine Bell was rung at Lloyd’s of London, and a very rapid claims process was begun.

A few months earlier the ships owners, the White Star Line, had instructed insurance brokers Willis Faber and Co. to find cover for the hull, cargo, contents and personal effects of the ship. Willis Faber passed the ‘slip’ to their Lloyd’s mercantile division where it was assessed and subsequently underwritten by multiple syndicates and insurance underwriters acting on behalf of members.

The Titanic’s hull was insured for total loss for $5 million or just over one million pounds sterling at the exchange rate of the time. The policy also included total loss cover for cargo at $600,000 and contents at $400,000 a value equivalent to two hundred thousand pounds.

The original broking slip passed around Lloyd’s has been lost, but was photographed and can be seen in Wright and Fayles book of 1928 called ‘A history of Lloyd’s’. It shows that seven large insurance companies took nearly forty percent of the risk between them and the other sixty percent was underwritten by over seventy individuals and Lloyd’s ‘Names’.

According to documents recently released by Willis the marine insurance policy cost White Star £7500 or $38,000 to insure the Titanic at a rate of 15 shillings per hundred. Modern day rates for cruise liners are considerably lower.

The Ship was considerably underinsured for a value of only five-eighths of its replacement cost. This was apparently because the owners thought the hull to be unsinkable and were prepared to bear the additional $3 million dollars of risk themselves.

Willis state that despite the owners belief in the vessel being unsinkable, they had trouble placing all the hull cover at Lloyd’s and some forty thousand pounds was underwritten in Germany. There was also an extremely high excess or deductible of 15% of the insured value.

Four days after the Titanic sank the US senate held a preliminary investigation at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. The surviving officers of the ship presented their evidence to the panel describing the events of the sinking and signed what is called a ‘protest’ which enable insurance claims to be paid.

Incredibly White Star were reimbursed for the loss of the hull within seven days of the sinking, presumably minus the excess, and fully paid up on cargo and contents losses within thirty days.

They were however grossly underinsured for their liability to others given the value of the people on board. Claims against the company exceeded their cover by over $1 million and whether they had private P and I accident cover for their staff liability, remains a mystery. Suffice to say that payouts to families of lost members of the crew, were paltry.

Claims for the loss of people amounted to in excess of five times what the value of the ship was worth, for those lucky ones who happened to have had life insurance policies or had taken out travellers personal accident cover. Although no disputes about loss of life occurred, families had to wait a lot longer than White Star for compensation.

The final payout for human losses has never been fully asserted as over one hundred and fifty different life of accident insurance companies were involved in cover, on both sides of the Atlantic. American companies took the bulk of the claims, due to the many rich entrepreneurs and millionaire family members who were drowned.

The total loss is estimated to be in the region of $20 million and one of the largest payouts was by the Travelers Insurance company of Hartford who paid out a life policy for over $1 million.

The sinking of the Titanic also brought about the first and only insurance claim for a car being hit by an iceberg, by a Mr William Carter who claimed five thousand dollars for his 25 horse power Renault, lost at sea.

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

The popularity of Facebook, with it's almost half a billion active users, and the time that its individual users spend on this site (estimated to be almost an hour), has made Facebook marketing the next big thing in online advertising. You can expand your customer base and probably even have an opportunity to reach out to others which are new to your niche.

Facebook fan pages are effective vehicles to have your message throughout to lots of viewers and increase your web presence. You can even create a separate Facebook account for your business, separate from your personal account and have a separate fan page for this account.

A good practice in advertising on Facebook is to identify what your goal is with this ad campaign. If you aim to get highly targeted traffic to your site you can have the pay per click as an option, but if you want to promote more of your brand, then it would be better for paying per impression because it can display a well created and Interesting image ad.

A good practice also, is to keep your content pages fresh and regularly updated frequently so that viewers will be interested and be motivated to come back on a regular basis. Adding and sharing content can give extra mileage for your Facebook page.

Facebook fans new or old should be encouraged to participate in your fan page. By keeping your page regularly updated, you can encourage them to interact and share information since this can give them opportunities to get information that they have not encountered before and even share it to other people.

By keeping your visitors involved all the way when they are in your page can be good for your Facebook marketing efforts. Sending your visitors to your interesting landing pages can make them more familiar with your products as well as being acquainted with your pages.

For the ads that you placed in Facebook also, you have to make these clear with concise and direct texts that will be understood to your targeted clients. You have to make sure that your products will stand out when placed side by side with competition by highlighting unique features that can clearly benefit customers.

Making ads on Facebook that have strong and unique call-to-action phrases can make your ads different from all the others. These strong and compelling words can make them go to your landing page by making a click on your ads.

An attractive and interesting image ad that is relevant and appropriate for your products or services is also a good advertising practice in Facebook. Remember that your ad is specifically aimed at getting the viewers attention and these people may not be interested in your product in the first place, so you have to make ads that can really attract customers' attention.

Electronic Keyboards – Their History and Development

The term "electronic keyboard" refers to any instrument that produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some way, to facilitate the creation of that sound. The use of an electronic keyboard to produce music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the very first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of these, initially developed by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, and called the hydraulis. The hydraulis produced sound by forcing air through reed pipes, and was powered by means of a manual water pump or a natural water source such as a waterfall.

From it's first manifestation in ancient Rome until the 14th century, the organ remained the only keyboard instrument. It often did not feature a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated by using the whole hand.

The consequent appearance of the clavichord and harpsichord in the 1300's was accelerated by the standardization of the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp / flat keys found in all keyboard instruments of today. The popularity of the clavichord and harpsichord was ever eclipsed by the development and broadfall adoption of the piano in the 18th century. The piano was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of the sound the instrument produced by varying the force with which each key was stuck.

The emergence of electronic sound technology in the 18th century was the next essential step in the development of the modern electronic keyboard. The first electrified musical instrument was thought to be the Denis d'or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This was shortly followed by the "clavecin electrique" invented by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The former instrument Consist of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later was a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that were activated electrically.

While being electrified, neither the Denis d'or or the clavecin used electricity as a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented such an instrument called the "musical telegraph.", Which was, essentially, the very first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray discovered that he could control sound from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and so invented a basic single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them over a telephone line. Gray went on to incorporate a simple loudspeaker into his later models which considered of a diaphragm vibrating in a magnetic field, making the tone oscillator audible.

Lee De Forrest, the self-styled "Father Of Radio," was the next major contributor to the development of the electronic keyboard. In 1906 he invented the triode electronic valve or "audion valve." The audion valve was the first thermionic valve or "vacuum tube," and De Forrest built the first vacuum tube instrument, the "Audion Piano," in 1915. The vacuum tube became an essential component of electronic instruments for the next 50 years until the Emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.

The decade of the 1920's brought a wealth of new electronic instruments onto the scene including the Therin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.

The next major breakthrough in the history of electronic keyboards came in 1935 with the introduction of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument capable of producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention of the Chamberlin Music Maker, and the Mellotron in the late 1940's and early 1950's. The Chamberlin and the Mellotron were the first ever sample-playback keyboards intended for making music.

The electronic piano made it's first appearance in the 1940's with the "Pre-Piano" by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This was a three and a half octave instrument made from 1946 until 1948 that came equipped with self-amplification. In 1955 the Wurlitzer Company debuted their first electric piano, "The 100."

The rise of music synthesizers in the 1960's made a powerful push to the evolution of the electronic musical keyboards we have today. The first synthesizers were extremely large, unwieldy machines used only in recording studios. The technological advances and proliferation of miniaturized solid state components soon allowed the production of synthesizers that were self-contained, portable instruments capable of being used in live performances.

This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his "Moog Synthesizer." Lacking a keyboard, the Moog Synthesizer was not really an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his "Minimoog," a non-modular synthesizer with a built-in keyboard, and this instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.

Most early analog synthesizers, such as the Minimoog and the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, capable of producing only one tone at a time. A few, such as the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at once when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (the production of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for the playing of chords) was only obtainable at first, using electronic organ designs. There were a number of electronic keyboards produced which combined organ circuits with synthesizer processing. These included Moog's Polymoog, Opus 3, and the ARP Omni.

By 1976, additional design advances had allowed the appearance of polyphonic synthesizers such as the Oberheim Four-Voice, and the Yamaha series CS-50, CS-60, and CS-80. The first truly polyphonic synth, introduced in 1977, was the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. This instrument was the first to use a microprocessor as a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to be saved in computer memory and recalled by simply pushing a button. The Prophet-5's design soon became the new standard in the electronic keyboards industry.

The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) as the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to be connected into computers and other devices for input and programming), and the ongoing digital engineering revolution has produced tremendous advances in all aspects of electronic Keyboard design, construction, function, sound quality, and cost. Today's manufactures, such as Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are now producing an abundance of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and will continue to do so well into the foreseeable future .

Effect of Liberalisation in Insurance Industry

Introduction

The journey of insurance liberalization process in India is now over seven years old. The first major milestone in this journey has been the passing of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. This along with amendments to the Insurance Act 1983, LIC and GIC Acts paves the way for the entry of private players and possibly the privatization of the hitherto public monopolies LIC and GIC. Opening up of insurance to private sector including foreign participation has resulted into various opportunities and challenges.

Concept of Insurance

In our daily life, whenever there is uncertainly there is an involvement of risk. The instinct of security against such risk is one of the basic motivating forces for determining human attitudes. As a sequel to this quest for security, the concept of insurance must have been born. The urge to provide insurance or protection against the loss of life and property must have promoted people to make some sort of sacrifice willingly in order to achieve security through collective co-operation. In this sense, the story of insurance is probably as old as the story of mankind.

Life insurance in particular provides protection to household against the risk of premature death of its income earning member. Life insurance in modern times also provides protection against other life related risks such as that of longevity (i.e. risk of outliving of source of income) and risk of disabled and sickness (health insurance). The products provide for longevity are pensions and annuities (insurance against old age). Non-life insurance provides protection against accidents, property damage, theft and other liabilities. Non-life insurance contracts are typically shorter in duration as compared to life insurance contracts. The bundling together of risk coverage and saving is peculiar of life insurance. Life insurance provides both protection and investment.

Insurance is a boon to business concerns. Insurance provides short range and long range relief. The short-term relief is aimed at protecting the insured from loss of property and life by distributing the loss amongst large number of persons through the medium of professional risk bearers such as insurers. It enables a businessman to face an unforeseen loss and, therefore, he need not worry about the possible loss. The long-range object being the economic and industrial growth of the country by making an investment of huge funds available with insurers in the organized industry and commerce.

General Insurance

Prior to nationalizations of General insurance industry in 1973 the GIC Act was passed in the Parliament in 1971, but it came into effect in 1973. There was 107 General insurance companies including branches of foreign companies operating in the country upon nationalization, these companies were amalgamated and grouped into the following four subsidiaries of GIC such as National Insurance Co.Ltd., Calcutta; The New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Mumbai; The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., New Delhi and United India Insurance Co. Ltd., Chennai and Now delinked.

General insurance business in India is broadly divided into fire, marine and miscellaneous GIC apart from directly handling Aviation and Reinsurance business administers the Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme, Personal Accident Insurance, Social Security Scheme etc. The GIC and its subsidiaries in keeping with the objective of nationalization to spread the message of insurance far and wide and to provide insurance protection to weaker section of the society are making efforts to design new covers and also to popularize other non-traditional business.

Liberalization of Insurance

The comprehensive regulation of insurance business in India was brought into effect with the enactment of the Insurance Act, 1983. It tried to create a strong and powerful supervision and regulatory authority in the Controller of Insurance with powers to direct, advise, investigate, register and liquidate insurance companies etc. However, consequent upon the nationalization of insurance business, most of the regulatory functions were taken away from the Controller of Insurance and vested in the insurers themselves. The Government of India in 1993 had set up a high powered committee by R.N.Malhotra, former Governor, Reserve Bank of India, to examine the structure of the insurance industry and recommend changes to make it more efficient and competitive keeping in view the structural changes in other parts of the financial system on the country.

Malhotra Committee’s Recommendations

The committee submitted its report in January 1994 recommending that private insurers be allowed to co-exist along with government companies like LIC and GIC companies. This recommendation had been prompted by several factors such as need for greater deeper insurance coverage in the economy, and a much a greater scale of mobilization of funds from the economy, and a much a greater scale of mobilization of funds from the economy for infrastructural development. Liberalization of the insurance sector is at least partly driven by fiscal necessity of tapping the big reserve of savings in the economy. Committee’s recommendations were as follows:

o Raising the capital base of LIC and GIC up to Rs. 200 crores, half retained by the government and rest sold to the public at large with suitable reservations for its employees.

o Private sector is granted to enter insurance industry with a minimum paid up capital of Rs. 100 crores.

o Foreign insurance be allowed to enter by floating an Indian company preferably a joint venture with Indian partners.

o Steps are initiated to set up a strong and effective insurance regulatory in the form of a statutory autonomous board on the lines of SEBI.

o Limited number of private companies to be allowed in the sector. But no firm is allowed in the sector. But no firm is allowed to operate in both lines of insurance (life or non-life).

o Tariff Advisory Committee (TAC) is delinked form GIC to function as a separate statuary body under necessary supervision by the insurance regulatory authority.

oAll insurance companies be treated on equal footing and governed by the provisions of insurance Act. No special dispensation is given to government companies.

oSetting up of a strong and effective regulatory body with independent source for financing before allowing private companies into sector.

competition to government sector:

Government companies have now to face competition to private sector insurance companies not only in issuing various range of insurance products but also in various aspects in terms of customer service, channels of distribution, effective techniques of selling the products etc. privatization of the insurance sector has opened the doors to innovations in the way business can be transacted.

New age insurance companies are embarking on new concepts and more cost effective way of transacting business. The idea is clear to cater to the maximum business at the lest cost. And slowly with time, the age-old norm prevalent with government companies to expand by setting up branches seems getting lost. Among the techniques that seem to catching up fast as an alternative to cater to the rural and social sector insurance is hub and spoke arrangement. These along with the participants of NGOs and Self Help Group (SHGs) have done with most of the selling of the rural and social sector policies.

The main challenges is from the commercial banks that have vast network of branches. In this regard, it is important to mention here that LIC has entered into an arrangement with Mangalore based Corporations Bank to leverage their infrastructure for mutual benefit with the insurance monolith acquiring a strategic stake 27 per cent, Corporation Bank has decided to abandon its plans of promoting a life insurance company. The bank will act as a corporate agent for LIC in future and receive commission on policies sold through its branches. LIC with its branch network of close to 2100 offices will allow Corporation Bank to set up extension centers. ATMs or branches with in its premises. Corporation Bank would in turn implement an effective Cash Flow Management System for LIC.

IRDA Act, 1999

Preamble of IRDA Act 1999 reads ‘An Act to provide for the establishment of an authority to protect the interests of holders of insurance policies, to regulate, to promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Section 14 of IRDA Act, lays the duties, powers and functions of the authority. The powers and functions of the authority. The powers and functions of the Authority shall include the following.

o Issue to the applicant a certificate of registration, to renew, modify withdraw, suspend or cancel such registration.

o To protect the interest of policy holders in all matters concerning nomination of policy, surrender value f policy, insurable interest, settlement of insurance claims, other terms and conditions of contract of insurance.

o Specifying requisite qualification and practical training for insurance intermediates and agents.

o Specifying code of conduct for surveyors and loss assessors.

o Promoting efficiency in the conduct of insurance business

o Promoting and regulating professional regulators connected with the insurance and reinsurance business.

o Specifying the form and manner in which books of accounts will be maintained and statement of accounts rendered by insurers and insurance intermediaries.

o Adjudication of disputes between insurers and intermediates.

o Specifying the percentage of life insurance and general and general business to be undertaken by the insurers in rural or social sectors etc.

Section 25 provides that Insurance Advisory Committee will be constituted and shall consist of not more than 25 members.Section 26 provides that Authority may in consultation with Insurance Advisory Committee make regulations consists with this Act and the rules made there under to carry the purpose of this Act.Section 29 seeks amendment in certain provisions of Insurance Act, 1938 in the manner as set out in First Schedule. The amendments to the Insurance Act are consequential in order to empower IRDA to effectively regulate, promote, and ensure orderly growth of the Insurance industry.

Section 30 & 31seek to amend LIC Act 1956 and GIC Act 1972.

Impact of Liberalization

While nationalized insurance companies have done a commendable job in extending volume of the business opening up of insurance sector to private players was a necessity in the context of liberalization of financial sector. If traditional infrastructural and semipublic goods industries such as banking, airlines, telecom, power etc. have significant private sector presence, continuing state monopoly in provision of insurance was indefensible and therefore, the privatization of insurance has been done as discussed earlier. Its impact has to be seen in the form of creating various opportunities and challenges.

Opportunities

1. Privatization if Insurance was eliminated the monopolistic business of Life Insurance Corporation of India. It may help to cover the wide range of risk in general insurance and also in life insurance. It helps to introduce new range of products.

2. It would also result in better customer services and help improve the variety and price of insurance products.

3. The entry of new player would speed up the spread of both life and general insurance. It will increase the insurance penetration and measure of density.

4. Entry of private players will ensure the mobilization of funds that can be utilized for the purpose of infrastructure development.

5. Allowing of commercial banks into insurance business will help to mobilization of funds from the rural areas because of the availability of vast branches of the banks.

6. Most important not the least tremendous employment opportunities will be created in the field of insurance which is a burning problem of the presence day today issues.

Current Scenario

After opening up of insurance in private sector, various leading private companies including joint ventures have entered the fields of insurance both life and non-life business. Tata – AIG, Birla Sun life, HDFC standard life Insurance, Reliance General Insurance, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance, Bajaj Auto Alliance, IFFCO Tokio General Insurance, INA Vysya Life Insurance, SBI Life Insurance, Dabur CJU Life Insurance and Max New York Life. SBI Life insurance has launched three products Sanjeevan, Sukhjeevan and Young Sanjeevan so far and it has already sold 320 policies under its plan.

Conclusion

From the above discussion we can conclude that the entry of private players in insurance business needful and justifiable in order to enhance the efficiency of operations, achieving greater density and insurance coverage in the country and for a greater mobilization of long term savings for long gestation infrastructure prefects. New players should not be treat as rivalries to government companies, but they can supplement in achieving the objective of growth of insurance business in india.