Book Review – Connect the Dots – Rashmi Bansal


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The world is full of several examples of successful personalities who made their name and are tycoons today. The world is changing fast and entrepreneurs are shaping the new regime.  Their stories have inspired many.  Reading stories of those entrepreneurs who may not be a big name, but their brands have reached many households in India. In this article, I have picked a book which depicts life of various entrepreneurs who started from scratch and reached several heights in life. The book titled “Connect the dots” written by Rashmi Bansal is a blissful read.

About the Author

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An MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, Rashmi Bansal is a well-known writer and entrepreneur. She is best known for her book Stay Hungry Stay Foolish (2008) which covers experiences of 25 entrepreneurs of IIM Ahmedabad. Contradictory, Connect the Dots (2010) was her next book which covers entrepreneurs without MBA qualification.  Her other notable books include Take me Away, God’s Own Kitchen, I have a dream etc.  She is also the founder of JAM (Just Another Magazine).

 

About the Book

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The book, Connect the Dots, bring story of 20 entrepreneur without MBA qualification who started their own ventures. The book brings one of the important pragmatic truths of life wherein “You don’t need a fancy degree or a rich daddy to dream big and make it happen. It’s all in your head, your heart, your hands.” There are enormous examples across the globe where people dreamt big and proved themselves with their talent and efforts without much educational qualification. Connect the Dots covers story of such Indians.

The author had divided the entrepreneurs into three parts and so is the story covered in the book is divided into three parts: Jugaad, Junoon and Zubaan. According to the author:

  • Jugaad entrepreneurs have no formal training in business. They learn by observation, experimentation and application of mind as business is not ‘rocket science’.
  • Junoon entrepreneurs are driven by a particular idea, or passion. Something which is different and ahead of time.
  • Zubaan: Creative people need a platform to express themselves. When that talent is unique, the platform must be created and in doing so, the artist becomes an ‘entrepreneur’.

Rashmi Bansal took the interview of these entrepreneurs and have put the same in the book describing their stories which is inspirational indeed. One of the major attractions of the book which I came across is that she had picked most of the entrepreneurs who are less known. You can easily get many stories and books on big names like Tatas, Birla, Ambanis etc. but this book focusses on picking those who have made their way without any successful financial background or well-established family business. Well, this is what makes this book “an interesting and motivational read”.

The book is an inspiration for many who wants to have their own ventures. Learning from the story of these entrepreneurs who made their way from nowhere to what they are present is indeed a motivation.

Success doesn’t come without struggle and this can be felt while reading their stories. There are some ventures which have become brand now like Dosa Plaza, Crossword, Bharat Vikas Group (BVG), Su-Kam etc. Isn’t it interesting to know how they started from scratch and what bottlenecks they faced to make their start ups into a full-fledged venture with brand value??? There is a story of IT company where the entrepreneur says, “anyone can become a programmer and need not to have engineering degree”. Read the book for such interesting stories.

If read carefully and analysed, one can get to know the common problems which they have faced in their journey and hence can be utilized by others in order to avoid such issues. None of them journey was a cake walk and it was full of ups and downs. Learning comes from experience and all of these entrepreneurs have learnt from their practical experience while in the business.    

Some of the important learning and inspiration which I realized from the book:

  • One need not to have MBA qualification or higher qualification for being successful.
  • Common issues can be identified if read thoroughly and properly analysed and can be utilized accordingly.
  • The book cover story from various sectors and hence one can get the glimpse of these sectors and problems faced within.

Do read if you want to know some interesting and inspiring story of Indian entrepreneurs without MBA qualifications and share your views.

 – Ashish Kumar

Insurance industry in India


 

Insurance is a part of financial services apart from banking, capital market, money market etc. Insurance is considered as a protection from events which results into financial loss. The insurance industry in India comprises of life insurance, general insurance, stand alone health insurance and reinsurance. The Indian insurance industry is guided by Insurance Act, 1938 which was amended from time to time, the latest amendment happened in 2015.

This post briefly gives an overview of insurance sector in India particularly discussing about the regulator, life insurance, general insurance, stand alone health insurance and reinsurance. The life insurance comprises of around 79% of the market, the rest 21% is occupied by general insurance. Of the general insurance, motor insurance has the highest market share of 44% followed by health insurance having market share of 29%, as per IRDAI Annual Report 2015-16. It is worth to mention that the insurance industry in India has showed a significant growth after it got opened for private sector in the year 2000. Since then, the industry is growing rapidly. In 2015, the reinsurance sector was allowed for foreign players which were solely dominated by General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re).  A small discussion about regulator, life insurance, stand alone health insurance and reinsurance is mentioned below.

Regulator:  Indian insurance industry is regulated by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) which was formed by an Act of Parliament in 1999. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Act was passed in 1999 leading to the formation of IRDAI. IRDAI is headquartered in Hyderabad and has offices in New Delhi and Mumbai. The regulator is responsible for carrying various activities like granting license to insurance companies, framing regulations which the insurers need to follow, protecting policyholder’s interest etc. Breach of IRDAI regulations can have serious implications resulting from penalty to cancellation of license of the insurance company.

Life Insurance: At present, there are 24 life insurers in India, of which, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is wholly owned by the Government of India. LIC was formed in September 1956 by an Act of Parliament known as LIC Act, 1956.  Some of the private life insurers include ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, HDFC Standard Life Insurance, SBI Life Insurance etc.

General Insurance: Non-life or general insurance comprises of all kinds of insurance except life. It has various segments comprising of motor insurance, health insurance, fire insurance, marine insurance, engineering insurance, aviation insurance, satellite insurance etc. There are 33 non-life insurers operating in India consisting of public and private insurers. The public insurers include the following:

  • The New India Assurance Co Ltd. (NIACL), headquartered at Mumbai.
  • National Insurance Co Ltd. (NICL), headquartered at Kolkata.
  • Oriental Insurance Co Ltd (OIICL), headquartered at New Delhi.
  • United India Insurance Co Ltd (UIICL), headquartered at Chennai.
  • Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC)
  • Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC)

ECGC and AIC are known as specialized insurers. Apart from above mentioned public sector companies, some of the private non-life insurers include ICICI Lombard, HDFC Ergo General Insurance, SBI General Insurance, IFFCO Tokio General Insurance, Tata AIG General Insurance etc.

Standalone Health Insurance: These are those companies which are solely carrying their business on health insurance. There are six stand alone health insurers like Apollo Munich Health Insurance, Star and Allied Health Insurance, Max Bupa Health Insurance, Cigna TTK Health Insurance, Religare Health Insurance and Aditya Birla Health Insurance. One of the ways to recognize the stand alone health insurers is that the stand alone health insurers will have the word “health insurance” in the name of the company as in the above mentioned six stand alone health insurers.

Reinsurance: General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) is owned by the Government of India and is the national reinsurer which is headquartered at Mumbai. The reinsurance industry in India is now opened for foreign players to open their branch offices in after the Insurance Act, 1938 was amended in 2015. At present there are 9 foreign reinsurers who have opened their branch offices in India. They are mentioned below:

  • Swiss Re
  • Munich Re
  • Llyod’s India
  • Reinsurance Group f America (RGA)
  • Hannover Re
  • SCOR
  • XL Insurance Company
  • Axa France Vie
  • General Reinsurance AG

It is important to note that apart from GIC Re and the above mentioned foreign reinsurers, ITI Re is the first private Indian reinsurance company which got licensed by IRDAI. Hence the Indian reinsurers include GIC Re and ITI Re.

 

Apart from the above players, the insurance industry also comprises of various intermediaries and distribution channels like agents, brokers, Insurance Marketing Firms (IMF), Web Aggregators etc. which I will discuss in separate post.

One thing to be noted is that the insurers in India can take part in either life insurance or general insurance business and not both. This means that a life insurer cannot start their business of motor insurance, fire insurance etc and vice versa. Health insurance is the only insurance product which can be offered by both non-life and life insurers. Non-life insurers can sell separate health insurance policy while life insurers offer health insurance in the form of riders. Riders are the extra benefits which are covered by paying some extra premium. Example of riders include Accidental Death Benefit (ADB) rider, critical illness rider etc. Life  insurers cannot offer separate health insurance products.

– Ashish Kumar