What is insurance? What are the elements of a contract of insurance?

In modern times every exchange is based on an agreement that is enforceable by law and hence is a contract. There are many types of contracts that people enter into. It may be a service contract with an employer or a lease rental contract with a landlord or a business contract with a seller/buyer. And like all these, insurance is also a legally valid contract.

What is Insurance

Simply put, insurance is a contract in which an insurance company agrees to pay to the policyholder a predetermined amount or the extent of the loss (which ever less) that the policyholder has incurred because of the happening of an untoward incident(s), that were agreed to be compensated for in terms of money, all in exchange of insurance premium that the policyholder should pay to the insurance company for the contract to begin. The total value of coverage provided by the insurance company to the policyholder is called total sum insured. Read more : Beginner’s Guide to Insurance

Features of an insurance contract

  1. Utmost good faith:
    Insurance contracts have a peculiar feature of UTMOST GOOD FAITH because here the insurance company issues a policy in the name of the proposer (policy holder) by believing that all the details provided by the policyholder are completely true and provided in good faith and in utmost gold faith because the details are best known only to the proposer. The same is true vice versa also that the insurance company is expected to issue the policy by providing all the relevant policy details as understandable by the policy holder.
  2. Indemnification:
    The insurance company agrees to compensate or indemnify the policy holder, a loss that can be quantified in terms of money and compensate him in such a way that it puts the insured back in the position as if the accident had not happened. An insured does not stand to make a profit from an insurance contact.
  3. Insurance interest:
    The person taking the policy should have an interest in the well being of the person for whom or property for which he is taking the policy. This is called insurable interest. The policy buyer may acquire interest by common law of ownership or by a statute. Eg: Life insurance in the name of self or spouse or children; insurance for the property or business owned; insurance taken for one's employees.
  4. Consideration:
    A prerequisite for a contract is exchange of something in return for something. So the insurer agrees to compensate the insured in return for a small sum of money called premium which may be paid at the onset of the policy contract or in installments during policy period depending on the country's insurance regulations.
  5. Contribution:
    If an insurer holds policies from multiple insurance companies for the same subject matter, the insurance companies are required to share the compensation to be paid to the insured in the same proportion as the sum insureds the different policies. This is true in case of all policies except of life insurance and health insurance policies where each insurer is required to pay the whole sum insured to the policyholder.
  6. Subrogation:
    This feature of an insurance contract means that in case the insurance company pays the insurance amount to a policyholder because of the negligence caused by a third-party, the company is entitled to be of compensation by the third party.
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4 Cute Ways To Pacify Your Angry Spouse

How to Deal With an Angry Partner

Is it really safe to ask your partner to take a chill pill when he or she is really angry? I guess it is best not to say something that can flare up an argument. If your partner is angry because of you, then be even more cautious. Defending yourself will be like adding fuel to the fire. We need to understand that nobody is upset by choice there is always a reason. So, as a first step to calm your partner down, you should let your partner vent out their emotions. Here are some ideas that will definitely help.

1. Humor- Yes manners are good but humor is a must in a relationship. We all are attracted to people who have a good sense of humor. Humor takes the centre stage when it comes to sustaining a relationship or calming down your partner. When he/she gets angry turn on their favorite music and ask them to dance or even better, dance on the same notes in a weird funnier way! That should definitely improve their mood. I will tell you something funny: just repeat the words your spouse says, keep on repeating them until he/she become quite and that will force them to laugh.

2. Speak the truth- When they shout at you, don’t shout back or reply angrily. Instead confess that you get scared and feel hurt when treated like that. They will lovingly disengage themselves from their angry self.

3. Know your partners melting point- Aha this is very crucial to note down folks. There are times when you will hate your significant or better half for the kind of behavior they present. But trust me behind their red facade is a golden heart that you once traded with yours. So research a little about your dear one, what, when, how does your sweetheart get upset or irritated and then try to figure out ways to handle such situations if they crop up! To melt away the anger be genuinely sorry if you have made a blunder. Accept the punishment and from the next time make sure that degree Celsius is not shot up!

4. Don’t ever run away- Okay many have the habit of abstaining from the main point and bringing in other ‘not so important’ point and fighting over it. Handle it well and please don’t refrain from the point. Communication is a must. This will not make your partner feel frustrated or resentful otherwise they will think that you simply don’t care.

Anger is like fire, it will burn everything down. So be calm, be patient and you will notice the anger cascading. Don’t forget you can always take help from near and dear ones if the situation is not manageable all by yourself. Many people gather the wrong notion of not seeking help as they feel ashamed (they think people will think that they are adults but still can’t handle such situations). But that is incorrect. In that way they are digging their own graves. Life will invite numerous twists and turns or ups and downs but to maintain the balance in a relationship you have to maintain inner peace yourself. Understand that your spouse has a lot of pressure like you; at the end of the day we all are human beings. If both are of the same temperament then you guys will only repeal and worsen the condition, the strength of our relationship. So keep calm, back-off for a while, try to judge the gravity of the situation and finally act.

Read More:
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What are the main elements of a healthy lifestyle? 7 essentials

“Health is wealth” and as every New Year brings in a sense of positivity and unending energy with plans to conquer the world let's get started with the basics and discuss 7 essentials to a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Set a routine:
    Nature works on a pre-set clock and so do our bodies. Setting a routine means making and sticking to wake up and sleep time schedules.It’s not easy to be sincere towards it but only when we do it will we realize the benefits. Waking up and sleeping at a set time aid in better metabolic functions essentially keeping us healthy and mentally awake from the moment of awareness in the morning till bed time. It reduces stress in us unlike when we rush in the morning to reach office in time or drop off kids to school before the hour bell goes. Ultimately it keeps us at peace as we get going without much of a hurdle.

  2. Know your morning mantra
    Everyone has a special thing he/she would like waking up to. That special 1st hour can be spending with family and pets or engaging in gardening, a nature walk, or simply sipping a mug of coffee. One must know one's pick and try to inculcate that in one’s everyday routine. What we do in the first hour of our waking matters a lot. What that first hour must give you is a happy feeling at the end of the day however hard the day at work has been.

  3. Eat right
    We are what we eat! Although not everyone's body act in a similar way, it is up to us to make wise eating decisions at least 5 out of 7 days a week. Sumptuous and energy providing breakfast followed by a balanced lunch or a series of small meals should be the plan before ending the day with a light yet satisfying dinner. You may choose any cuisine you prefer because all have good balanced dishes but ensure that you are consuming a balanced, well planned and healthy diet throughout the week to keep you physically healthy and mentally active and aesthetically vibrant.

  4. Drink enough water
    Water is the second most essential ingredient for survival water oxygenated air. And not drinking enough of it is not going to get us anywhere even if we lived ideal lifestyles. Water keeps the blood sugar levels right, reduces stress, helps eliminate toxins, keeps the skin supple and oil-free, reduces waste build up in the gut, and if drunk sufficiently also helps us lose weight beyond our imagination. It keeps us from overeating and suffering from mood swings and by supplying more oxygen to the brain it improves our productivity at whatever we are doing. Isn’t it an elixir enough?

  5. Stay mobile
    Staying active has become more of a choice than necessity with increasing comforts making their way into our lives. Choosing stairs instead of the lifts and elevators, lifting our stuffs than seeking help, planning to walk to a nearby place than renting a cab are the excuses we need to make to stay active. And best of all choose to deliver a message to your colleague on the same floor in person than sending out an intranet message. Flexing muscles every half to one hour keeps the blood from thickening. Those who can should certainly include a 30 minute walk/ cycling/ gymming/ dancing/sporting routine in their lives because who doesn’t want better health and physique!

  6. Short recesses
    Taking quick breaks helps us get back to our activity with a fresh mind and energy. Ending with the right people during such recesses goes a long way in staying positive, connected and successful.

  7. Plan an activity for every day
    We all have or at least want to have a life beyond a 9 to 6 work-day. Although many of us may be not be able to achieve a lot in this segment we can at least set small, tasks and targets for ourselves to make each day merrier by being able to accomplish them and at the same time doing what we love to or we ought to. Keep your expectations on the ground and plan your everyday in a different way so that you stay away from monotony and feeling the burden of daily mundane chores. Personally, I suggest set every alternate day for chores and self pampering... keeps me motivated enough to go through the grind.

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What are Interest Rate Swaps(IRS) | What happens in Interest Rate Swap ?

In the world of finance “Interest Rate Swap” is a financial technique used by financial institutions around the world. But we don’t realise that it is applicable to a common borrower like you and me. IRS is considered to be a complex financial arrangement but ironically it is barely a 5-10 minute simple read that can help you not only understand the process of an IRS but also use this in your next borrowing negotiation, thus helping you save a considerable amount of interest on your debt. Let's see how.

What is Interest Rate Swap with example? How does an interest rate swap work?

Let's break down the term first. ‘Interest Rate’ indicates that it talks about a rate of interest on a loan payable by any borrower (debtor) to the lender. ‘Swap' simply means to take something by giving something. So, IRS means that you as a borrower and payer of interest are going to come into an arrangement with another borrower whereby you will take up a fixed rate of interest payment on the debt in place of a floating rate of interest or vice versa. Now, this decision of yours will be completely based on your expectations of a rise or fall in interest rates in your country or with your bank or your lender. And an IRS can take place only if there are two borrowers who have different expectations about the future interest rates.

Interest Rate Swaps Example

So, suppose Mr. A has a loan of $100,000 from his bank with a fixed rate of interest on the debt @ 8%. And also imagine that Mr. B, another borrower, has borrowed $100,000 from his bank at a floating rate of interest @ LIBOR+2%. Suppose LIBOR is 5% now.So Mr. A is paying $8000 p.a. and Mr. B is paying $7000 p.a.

*LIBOR is a benchmark floating rate of interest
*(Floating rate of interest is a changing interest rate on your loan as and when your lender bank changes the rates due to economic changes)
*Mr. A & Mr. B need not necessarily be borrowers of same amounts but we have considered $100,000 for easy calculations.

From, fixed rate of interest and floating rate of interest, you must have learnt that at the time of taking a loan Mr. A has opted for a fixed interest rate on his loan because he assumes that the interest rates in the future are going to rise, while Mr. B expects a fall in the future interest rate and so opts for a floating interest rate.

Going forward, they both are unhappy with their interest rates i.e. Mr. A thinks that he was wrong about his assumption and Mr. B finds it a burden to pay an uncertainly changing interest rate as and when the bank changes its rate and so they decide to enter into an IRS agreement whereby Mr. A will be paying interest at a floating rate and Mr. B at a fixed rate after the Swap. So with this change Mr. A will be paying $7000 p.a. as interest when the interest rates are unchanged and Mr. B will be paying $8000 p.a. at all times.

If the LIBOR rises from 5% to 7% Mr. A will end up paying $9000 p.a and Mr. B interest remains same. Again if the LIBOR falls from 5% to 4% Mr. A ends up paying $6000 p.a. while Mr. B pays the same $8000 p.a. as he has shifted to a fixed interest rate regime after the Swap.

Thus, an IRS is a mutually benefiting agreement between 2 parties who are borrowers in some form and have an opposite expectation about the future interest rates or have an opposite risk taking ability.

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Difference between Fixed Rate of Interest & Floating Rate of interest?

Any borrower of money, either an individual or an institution is expected to pay an extra amount over and above the actual amount of loan to the lender at the time of repayment. The extra amount paid is called interest and the actual amount of loan is called principle. Interest to be paid by the borrower to the lender is calculated as a percentage of the principle. Hence, the term Interest Rate.

There are broadly two systems of interest rates charged by banks and financial institutions or any lender following an formal system of lending: The fixed rate of interest and floating rate of interest.

Here is a simple explanation for the two!

Fixed Rate of Interest

When a lender- a bank/ financial institution or an individual lends at a predefined and unchangeable rate of interest to be paid by the borrower on the principle (amount of loan) for the duration of loan irrespective of what happens to the interest rates in the country in the future, the rate of interest is said to be fixed.

Fixed rate of interest is a better choice for a lender if he expects a fall in the interest rates in the future. So, he would profit from receiving a higher rate of interest even when the general interest rate levels are down in the future. On the contrary, this would be beneficial for a borrower if he expects the rates to rise in the future. In this case, he would enjoy paying a lower fixed interest rate irrespective of the higher rates in the future.

Floating Rate of interest

Let's say that at the time of lending, the lender specifies the interest rate (to be paid by you) on your loan to be LIBOR+2%. This means that your interest rate is not fixed but rather variable. It may rise in the future if the LIBOR rises and fall if the LIBOR falls thus requiring you to pay more and less in the cases respectively. Thus, under this rate of interest the rates are completely dependent on the base – LIBOR.
Going by the same logic as above for a lender, floating rate of interest is ideal if he foresees a rise in the interest rates in the future but for a borrower it is rational to choose a floating rate of interest if he expects a fall in the interest rates in the future.

What are fixed and floating rates of interest?
Which is better, a fixed or variable rate loan?

Fixed vs Floating Interest Rate – Which Suits you The Best

From the above you may realise that you should opt for a fixed rate of interest for your loan if you are expecting the future rate of interest in your country to be higher than they are now and choose a floating rate of interest if you are expecting a fall in the interest rates in the future. The exact converse will be true in case of a lender.

You would know this if you're reading the newspapers or financial tabloids that discuss about the future plans of the Central Bank of your country or your lending bank/ institution. If there are signs that the Central Bank or your lending bank is likely to rise the rates of interest, you as a borrower should know that a fixed rate of interest is what you must choose today.

Read More:
What are Interest Rate Swaps(IRS) | What happens in Interest Rate Swap ?
How are Open Market Operations (OMO) and bond yields related?
3 Types of Insurance You Don’t Need to Buy
EDI: Pros and Cons of Electronic Data Interchange

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