Friday, February 26, 2010

Rate hikes for auto insurance

As 2009 turns into 2010, the winter ice and snow has been particularly hard this year. It even snowed in Florida which shows how climate change is starting to affect local weather patterns. Needless to say, the number of traffic accidents has been at an all-time high. No-one is ever ready for ice on the roads. Yet, all round the country, ice is coming through the mail boxes. The insurance companies are sending out notices chilling our desire to drive - premium rates are being hiked (again). And this time, it's not just a few percent. In most states, it's averaging at around 10%. So we are not talking peanuts. This is serious money while the US is in recession and millions of people are out of work. What's the result likely to be? If it comes down to a choice between food on the table and an insurance policy, food wins every time. Everyone has to eat and everyone needs a vehicle - even in the bigger cities, public transport is a joke. So, when push comes to shove, more people will drive uninsured. That's bad news for the rest of us. Our premiums will rise with fewer policy holders sharing the rising costs of claims. If only the insurers would hold the premiums steady, more people could pay, and rates would stay lower for longer. If only. . .

So why are insurance companies hiking the rates? There are two common problems. The first is the broken healthcare service. Whenever there's a more serious traffic accident, most people go to hospital. The obvious injuries are treated. Bodies are examined to ensure there are no other injuries. Except, the moment anyone steps through the door of a hospital or clinic, the medical expenses meter starts to run. Despite the recession, the drugs industry and healthcare service suppliers have been increasing their prices. There have been some high-profile disputes between insurers and hospital groups in California and Connecticut. The current fight is between the Continuum Health Partners of New York and United Healthcare. The hospitals have agreed pay increases with the labor unions, new technology is expensive to instal and operate. They want more money. The insurer is looking for a reduction in charges of between 7 and 10%. It's painful to admit but, in this fight, the insurers are actually protecting us policy holders.

The second problem is equally easy to explain. When we claim, the insurer should have the money to pay. This money comes from cash reserves and all the different state Insurance Departments monitor the amounts held to ensure there's always sufficient set aside. It's standard for insurers to hold this money on investment so, when the recession came, they were slow to move out of stocks and bonds, and all the larger insurers lost a slice of their capital. Commissioners are offering their local insurers a choice. Either reduce the number of people holding policies or add more to your cash reserves. This forces companies to raise premiums and so, sadly, it's getting more difficult to find affordable auto insurance. Even with the use of this site's excellent search engine, it's hard to find policies with lower rates. When you get the multiple auto insurance quotes, check through to find those with lower premiums. For good terms, look at the discounts available from these companies. Think about accepting a higher deductible. Using the auto insurance quotes as a starting point, negotiate directly with the insurers. Affordable policies are out there. You just have to work harder to find them.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Income Tax Refunds - A New Scam

The latest scam mails doing rounds these days after the online lottery scams and Nigerian scams are the Income Tax Refunds mails where you get the emails claiming to be sent from Department of Revenues, Government of India, where they send an attachment form or a link page where you have to give details of your Bank A/c number, PAN card number, and other personal details which once exposed can give you sleepless nights for life.  So, be beware of these mails and don't be a victim of these scamsters.  Here are the two mails that I got from these scamsters: 

1.   From: Income Tax Departament []
Subject: Rapid Tax Refunds

Dear applicant,
After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined
that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 820.50 Rupees.

Bank account holders at the Bank of India, will receive the money within 12 hours after filling the form
To Access your tax refund please complete the form attached to this email .

Department of Revenue,Ministry of Finance Government of India

2.  Dear applicant, After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 820.50 Rupees.
Bank account holders at the Bank of India, will receive the money within 12 hours after filling the form.

To Access the form for your tax refund please click here

Tax Refund Online Form

Department of Revenue,Ministry of Finance Government of India

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why you should not cancel your life insurance policy

Reasons for not canceling your life insurance policy
When facing economical downshift, it can be quite tempting to minimize costs by refusing certain things you might feel as useless or luxury. However, insurance should be amongst these things. Having your life insured may look like a loss of money now, but when the moment comes it can be a great deal in sustaining and supporting your spouse and children from the financial point of view.
If have your life insured, having your policy cancelled can turn into a big mistake from the financial point of view in the long run. Of course, it is very hard to resist such a temptation when having to pay high premiums that do you no favor in means of lowering your expenses. But you have to see the whole picture rather than concentrating on details. The following are six important reasons for refusing to cancel your life coverage policy.

1. Insuring your life is an investment.
When people choose to insure their lives they provide a valuable investment to their loved ones that can be used after certain circumstances. Of course, it's very hard to grasp the situation when you are gone and the relevance of your needs, but think about your family. Losing a key person will lead to serious hardships that will affect the financial situation of your spouse and children as well. And when you insure your life you ensure that your loved ones won't be experiencing financial problems.

2. Life insurance premiums have already been paid.
This will sound as the most logical reason for those who are thinking about the "now" situation. Just think of all the premiums you have already paid. This especially refers to those who had their policies for a while now. Unless you have special types of insurance policies, all the premiums you have already paid will simply turn into a waste of money.

3. You can raise the cash value of your policy with time.
In case you have universal or variable life coverage policies, you probably know that they are typically financed through mutual funds. And if the funds increase, so will the cash value of your policy, which will definitely be a nice feature for you and your family.

4. Some policies allow you to skip premium payments.
Some types of universal insurance policies will allow you to skip a certain amount of premium payments after a specified period of time. And when facing financial hardships it may be wise to use that option. Such policies aren't typically associated with cheap life insurance options but in the long run you get more benefits when using them.

5. Lower the coverage amount to reduce the premiums.
The premiums you will pay are directly related to the amount of coverage carried by your policy. If you lower the coverage amounts your premiums will go down respectively. However, keep in mind that reducing the coverage amounts below a certain point will make your policy senseless, because it won't be able to meet your insurance needs when the moment comes. Define the minimum required amount of benefits to be received and go on from there.

6. Finding good life insurance quotes will be tough in case you cancel.
If you decide to cancel your current policy now and find another one after some time you may be surprised to find out that your rates will be much higher than with your initial policy. Insurance companies tend to give higher life insurance quotes to those who have cancelled their policies before end of term, and you will probably be older when getting the new policy - a factor that also strongly influences the final rates.

="" href="">

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How an insurate rate is determined?

When it comes to the rates you get for your home insurance there are numerous factors affecting them in complex. Starting with the location of your house to square footage and actual house type, as well as insurance claims history - these all contribute to the price you will have to pay every year. And if you want to change your actual rates you will certainly have to learn more about these factors and see how changing them can affect the amount of money to be paid for insurance.

These factors include but are not limited to:
Type of the house - The materials and techniques used in the construction of your house will strongly influence its ability to withstand various types of damage such as flood, fire, storm and other hazards, and will respectively affect the final insurance rates. And while brick and stone houses are very costly to construct they will be usually less expensive to insure than cheap stick frame homes.

Home maturity - Older constructions are usually more costly to insure than newer ones, because mature buildings are more prone to damage due to wear and tear they have taken over the years. Besides, brand new homes usually provide homeowners with new home discounts as their overall condition is evaluated as perfect by insurance companies.

Location - The place your house is located in will strongly affect your insurance rates. Homes located in urban areas will cost more to insure than suburban or rural homes because of the higher burglary risk. Constructions located in areas that have a high risk of certain hazards (hurricanes, storms, flood) will have higher insurance rates too. On the other hand, having a fire hydrant or a fire department close to your home will pull down the premiums to an extent.

Coverage amounts and deductibles - Each homeowners insurance policy has its individual deductible set by the insurance provider. This is the amount of money you will have to pay out of pocket before the insurance claim will be processed. This means that if you have a deductible of $500 you will have to pay for the damage to your property not exceeding this amount and will have to file a claim only for the damage exceeding this value. And the higher is your deductible the lower are your premiums.

Dollar amount of coverage - The types and amount of coverage carried by your homeowners insurance policy will also affect the rates. Having large coverage amounts usually leads to higher premiums, although some providers tend to offer special discounts for getting certain large amounts of coverage with their policies.

Endorsements - These are additional types of coverage that you wish to include to your policy for an additional price. Of course, the endorsements will make your policy pricier but they will also make your house covered to a larger extent and protected against specific risks. Endorsements give you more flexibility and protection in case of insurance situations, such as pay for your temporary residence in case your home is damaged badly.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Monday, February 15, 2010

Regulations and deregulations in insurance market

The world is a complicated place and, more often than not, it does not work well unless the right people hold the key positions. When it comes to insurance, you might think the key people are the legislators who sit on the relevant consumer or finance committees. In reality, the key person is always the Commissioner who heads the state's Department of Insurance. Every state has such a person and the department is responsible for regulating the insurance market in the state. It licenses companies to write policies and, where appropriate, sets the terms for the conduct of business. This is where the role gets political because some commissioners see their role as being protective of the insurance companies, while other aim for consumer protection. The difference in political attitude shows up most clearly in the complaints process operated in each state. If a complaint is found valid after an investigation, the commissioner has sweeping powers to order the insurer to correct the situation. So the first sign comes in the number of complaints held valid. Then comes the pattern of responses in promoting fair trade practices. Finally, there is the degree of publicity given to the results. Some commissioners publish annual reports. The best name and shame the companies, showing how many complaints have been upheld against each. Others simply give overall statistics without naming the companies. If you live in one of the best states, you can get detailed help on identifying the safest insurers with whom to do business. It is never enough just to get online quotes. Always get some background on the main companies writing policies in your state.

This makes it all the more sad that one of the best of the current commissioners is going to step down and move into a university post. This is Nonnie Burnes, a former Superior Court justice, who has been the commissioner in Massachusetts during a critical two-year period of time. It was her role to implement the state's move to a competitive market for car insurance. This has seen a managed expansion from nineteen to thirty companies giving car insurance quotes and writing policies. She was also a pivotal figure in the debate over the rates for homeowner policies, particularly those applying to coastal areas more prone to storm damage and flooding. She imposed a full ban on the use of factors including the driver's occupation and education level, credit scores, etc., instructing the insurers to focus on the safety record of each driver and their level of experience as the basis for fixing the premium rate. Now, if a university professor lives next door to an electrician, they both pay the same rate if their driving records are broadly similar.

Massachusetts is going to lose a person who has, for the most part, championed the rights of the consumer. Indeed, there is fear that unless the state legislature writes some of her regulations into law, the incoming commissioner may undo some of her good work. You should take a direct interest in your state's department of insurance. If you are lucky, it will be a strong defender of your rights. Even if the commissioner is pro-insurer, there will still be many employed on the enforcement side who will investigate complaints thoroughly and push the companies to play fair on your policy.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Obama Targets Outsourcers (US versus India)

After months of silence, US President Barack Obama once again woke up from his slumber and said something that many perceive to bring some radical changes in US outsourcing policy and its impact on developing countries like India (!!!) in particular.

In an interview to the business magazine Bloomberg Business Week, Obama said about the outsourcers outsourcing their work to India, "If you are a business here, entirely located in the US, and investing in the US, and hiring workers in the US, you are paying a 35 percent rate; however,if you are a multinational and you are investing in India, and your workforce is in India, and your plants and equipment are in India, but your headquarters are here, you are taking deductions on all the expenses in India, but you are keeping your profits outside the US; and that just doesn't seem entirely fair," he argued.

He further added "The same is true where you have companies that have 90 percent of their sales in the US, but are posting 90 percent of their profits overseas.  You get a sense there that the accountants have been busy."  Thus, probably starting a debate of sorts about the companies who are pro-business and anti-business to US economy.  According to him, US companies that are working in US, have a US workforce, have made investments in US, and are paying due taxes to the US are pro-business, while the other companies (primarily outsourcers) are somehow anti-business.  Now, that is something that is open to debate and I am sure a lot of reaction from across the globe (and especially India) will soon start to follow about this pro-business and ant-business model.  Indians might sense some far-fetching consequences if this means some outsourcing policy changes by the US government in the coming year where the outsourcing companies will be liable to pay a certain percentage of tax (and I guess that may be a big chunk) to the US and thus will have to compensate that with cost-cutting measures in their Indian business while still keeping their profit level same or higher, that means a win-win situation for Obama where he will be hailed as pro-US people while still allowing outsourcers to outsource work to India and still getting a big chunk of money coming back to US in terms of taxes; but, what it means for Indians, well what I perceive, bigger salary cuts, more pink slips, and probably lesser job opportunities.  Well, let's not be so negative in our thoughts, but still  things are concerning and the statement coming from Obama just in the first quarter of the year may give sleepless nights to thousands of Indians working for these outsourcing companies.  Just wait and watch with bated breath what happens next!!!

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Health Insurance for Family

When time comes for deciding which type of health insurance coverage is most appropriate for your family there are many options you can choose from. And one of the most influential factors here is whether your employer provides you with a group coverage plan or not. In case your employer offers you family coverage through a group plan, you should think well about whether you want to apply for this group plan or get a separate policy for your family. In case there is no group health insurance coverage offered by your employer, you will have to search for a provider on your own, analyzing all the options in order to determine which plan and insurance company will cover your family insurance needs to the right extent.

In general, family insurance plans are individual health insurance policies that allow the policy-holder's family to be included in it as well. A great number of employers instead of providing group coverage, offer their workers individual plans with including possibilities if they have any family members they want to add. The federal law also restricts the insurance companies from excluding family members with pre-existing conditions from group plans. And in most cases, the employer will pay a part of the worker's yearly premium. This of course makes family health insurance less costly for an individual's family budget. Still, if you lose the job your insurance coverage will also be taken away.

When speaking of individual plans, we speak about the health insurance plans you buy directly from a provider. Such plans provide a high degree of freedom, as you can freely choose the company to buy from or the type of coverage you want in your policy or not. In most cases, however, the coverage provided by individual plans will be somewhat inferior to the extents you get with a group plan, still if there's no other option you can choose a plan that will meet your exact requirements. Keep in mind that in many cases individual health insurance plans won't allow you to include family your members with pre-existing conditions.
For those who want to get cheap health insurance quotes and the best coverage option the best choice would by taking a group health insurance plan. Such plans usually offer the most coverage for the lowest rates, and are way more inexpensive than separate individual policies in general. However, if your employer does not provide you with group health insurance you will have to invest some time in comparing group health insurance quotes from different providers as the difference in rates can be quite impressive. And also make sure to fully understand all the terms and provisions before actually buying and signing the policy.

Some elements to consider before actually buying the policy and shopping around: policy types offered, providers available in your area, coverage types and exclusions, benefit pay off procedures. You should also learn all possible options regarding the premium payment and deductible adjustment effect. Make sure you buy the policy from a reputable company licensed to work in your state and your insurance agent is able to answer all of your questions regarding the coverage options and special provisions of the policy. There should be no compromises when insuring your family because having good coverage really matters when there are any health problems.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why you must have life insurance?

People say lots about life. Comments such as "Don't take life too seriously" and "What doesn't kill you make you stronger" can be dubious. What is the reason for that? First of all we should take life too seriously because some mistakes can never be erased. We live only once to take it for granted. What doesn't kill you can make you paralyzed or wounded. Do you want that? Surely not.

Can you make sure you are insured for life?
Yes there is a way to insure yourself from danger or any harm you might meet in your life. What do you need for that? You have to make call to the insurance company and ask them for protection. They have an insurance that will not come too expensive. It is called lifetime insurance. It is good for those people that don't want to head into the insurance company's office every now and then. You can insure yourself today and stay calm about your tomorrow and even the next week. This insurance doesn't cover you for a particular period of time. It covers you for good. A significant benefit with the insurance company's long-term insurance that covers life is that it also builds cash value. It is totally tax-deferred until the time comes when you can withdraw the money and borrow against it.

What possibilities are there with a whole life insurance once you got it?
There are certain choices you can make within your insurance. The most popular of those would be - traditional, interest-sensitive, and single-premium insurance that involve your whole life. Now let us introduce all of these policies to you so you can definitely make the right decision. The traditional policy is offering you a minimum rate of return on the part named your cash value. The second one is called interest-sensitive policy. What is really beneficial about this policy is that its rate can differ so you can adjust it to your own preferences. With the help of this policy you could easily raise your death benefit without having to lift your premiums up. And the last but definitely not the least comes the single-premium policy. It works perfectly well for those people with a good fortune behind their backs that also want to insure their life ahead of the time. You can save some cash on your insurance as this one is a cheap life insurance.

Why should one go for a life-long insurance instead of any other insurance?
People want to hear about financial benefits when raise this issue. Usually a life-long insurance saves money. When you choose insurance that only covers a certain period of your life you end up losing money at some point. What is good about this life-long insurance is that lets some of the premium money to be transferred towards your cash value. A big advantage is also the fact that the premiums are not raised with time. They remain the same throughout the whole period of time. You don't have to pass any medical exams with the life-long insurance. You do it once and the record is kept for the rest of your life. You can save lots of money on your taxes which is also great. Who would not be interested in this? Life-long insurance is also a cheap life insurance compared to other ones. Don't hesitate to get it today!

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cheap Auto Insurance

Insurance business is a very vast one. Don't ever come to think that there is only one type of policy insurance companies try to sell. There are many different policies that will match your criteria and necessities. Before you get your insurance you need to sit down, relax and think it over. Figure out what it is that you need to obtain from your insurance. Each plan has its own restrictions - provisions, limitations and exclusions. If you are about to go to an insurance office we would recommend you to request a special detailed information meeting during which you can get a scoop on how to treat each insurance type. If you prefer to check WebPages for information, you should get quotes online.

When the subject is the car the insurance word gets very powerful. First of all we would like to tell a few things to you and you need to learn them well enough if you have any situations with rented cars. When you get yourself a rented car the liability coverage limitations you have written in your policy with your own car remain in effect with the same amount of limits you have. When we speak about collision and comprehensive coverage the also remain in effect with the deductibles you have. If you don't know how to differentiate these two please collect information on collision and comprehensive coverage now.

There is a possibility that you might have additional auto insurance coverage with the help of your credit card but we advice you to check the information on your credit cards before you think too much. There might be certain details you will need to know about. There might be certain limitations. For example, there are credit cards that will only give you coverage if you deal with a particular car rent agency or company. There are also day limitations and certain car class limitations. You must consider them all. There are certain cards that will provide you with only collision or comprehensive coverage which means most of the losses will be left on your shoulders. The agencies that usually have business with cars that are being rented by others allow you to have liability coverage in two parts - the one is called a Loss Damage Waiver and it usually covers everything that has to do with rentals and liability policy that protects you from unwanted claims that other may bother you with. But you also must remember one thing - the Loss Damage Waiver is more of an agreement rather than a type of insurance. It is perfect for not holding anybody responsible for all or part of any destruction to the car.
You should always consider the price you might need to pay when you think of renting a car. If you are a responsible person you will analyze the risks and consider every advantage and disadvantage.

Cheap auto insurance is not hard to find. Internet is full of offers that might look tempting. But please think that you need the one that would suit you more rather that a discount. Cheap auto insurance can benefit you only in the case when it is exactly the coverage you needed. Consider this and make sure your decision is well thought. We believe you will do so.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Monday, February 08, 2010

US versus India: Earning versus Cost of Living

The once magic word NRI particularly US NRI is slowly losing its magical charm these days with rupees consistently getting stronger against US dollars and the continuing downward trend in US economy. In fact, if the trend continues to move the same way, the days are not too far where you will find a US techie drawing just the same salary as an Indian techie or to put it in another words a US techie will be earning as low as an Indian techie earns in India (that means US salary dipping and Indian salary rising).

SALARY:  Based on the data compiled by Manpower, take a look at the following startling revelations:

1. Sector's staff level salaries were as much as 86 per cent higher in the US compared to India in 2006. However, this gap declined to 82 per cent in 2007 and is expected to decline further to 78 per cent in 2008.

2. In the case of executive level salaries, the gap dropped from 68 per cent in 2006 to 60 per cent in 2007 and could further decline to 52 per cent this year.

3. The steepest decline of 21 per cent is likely to be seen in the middle manager level, where the US salaries used to be 69 per cent higher in 2006, but would be only 48 per cent higher than India in 2008. This difference stood at 57 per cent in 2007.

According to data compiled by Manpower, the average annual executive salaries in the US stood at $205,047 in 2006 and increased to $213,336 in 2007. In comparison, the Indian average annual salary is expected to rise from $65,356 to $103,167 in 2008.

For middle-manager level, the US average annual salary actually dropped from $104,681 in 2006 to $103,379 in 2007, while in India it rose from $32,733 in 2006 to $44,250 in 2007 and would further improve to $53,566 in 2008.

The Indian staff-level salary is expected to rise to $20,337 in 2008, from $13,156 in 2006 and $16,800 in 2007. In the US, the staff-level salary dropped from $92,201 in 2006 to $91,965 in 2007.

So, here we see a definite rise in Indian salary as compared to US salary.

1. Rent: Comparing the rent from a major US city like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or LA to a major Indian city like Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai (except Mumbai), the rent difference will be as much as $700 (Rs. 35,000) where in a major city in an upmarket locality you will have to pay $600 to $1000 (Rs. 30,000-50,000) against a whooping $2000-2500 in a major US city.

2. Children Education: US definitely is much better than India because a public school in US is free, but in India the fee varies anywhere from $20 to $200 per month depending upon the choice of school.

3. Food: Of course, India much cheaper than US the savings in India can be as much as $300 to $500 a month.

4. Healthcare: Well, if you are fully covered in US, then its out of question, but if not, the healthcare in India is at least 25% cheaper than US.

5. Domestic Aide:  Undoubtedly, much cheaper in India, where in US, a single visit domestic maid takes anywhere from $25 to $50, in India for $50 you can get a domestic aide for a month.

Now, if you compare both these data together, I think its much less profitable becoming an NRI and better work in India and still make much better savings than US and enjoy the joy of living in your own country rather than some foreign land. In fact, if the trend continues, we might see a reversal trend and start seeing more of NRAs (non-resident Americans) in India rather than NRIs in US. Wat say guys???

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Who wants to be a millionaire???

Maybe for the first time in PTC industry, ClixSense now offers referral scheme that goes 8 levels deep that means only your 5 referral can earn you as much as $488,285.00 without clicking a single ad. All that comes at a cost of a mere $10 or 480 Rupees (membership fee for 1 year) for premium members and $0 for free members. The payment has to be made through Google Checkout, so its secure, easy, and can be done in any currency across the globe

Here is how it works:  ClixSense has extended its free affiliate program to 8 levels of referrals commissions for Premium members! So, your goal should be referring just 5 of your friends to ClixSense who upgrade their account status to Premium level memberships ($10 or 480 Rupees for a year). If you refer 5 of your friends who each do the same, you can earn up to $488,185.00 or  23,432,880 Rupees in ClixSense commissions!  That means you can become a millionaire or crorepati in 1 month and that too with an investment of $10 or Rupees 480 only.

Over $488,000 in commissions doing what I already do anyway?

Yes! And that’s not all… You still get paid for each ad you click! And remember, if you’re a Premium ClixSense member, then you get paid for each ad clicked by Premium members in your downline!

ClixSense pays 90% of Premium upgrade costs back to its members! The other 10% pays the fees to process the transaction to ClixSense! That’s unheard of in this industry!

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Thursday, February 04, 2010

US versus Indian MT - Part II

Going further from my collectibles of what an US MT thinks about Indian MT, here are a few interesting ones collected from Internet:

First one, of course, targeted at me only:

"This Kooldudz is an Indian MT? - Wow!

A few blogs down, he states it time to celebrate again the 61st Republic Day. He wishes his fellow Indians across the globe a Very Happy Republic Day.


What I am getting out of it is what they have done to the United States MT's and we are venting and anything negative we day, well to put frankly, any TRUE FACTS we say, Kooldudz uses it against us United States MT's. That is what I see is going on."

This one is so interesting to read, maybe very disgusting for the Indians, that clearly tells the mentality of an US MT towards the Indian MT and the high frustration level he has seeing his jobs going to India.

Another one: "Don't hate India, hate the greed in this country."

An interesting one: "I am on a Spheris shared 'global' account, and if it weren't bad enough that we get the harder stuff and they get the easier work types, I am noticing that my manager is manually routing out all the work sometimes, and routing me REALLY hard dictators. Also most of what goes through speech rec is a joke, and it is faster for me to delete what was fabricated by the software and type it myself... but at considerably reduced pay than if it had not gone through speech rec. I think it is getting worse by the day here at Spheris."

A thoughtful one: "Merging of two service areas resulting in more of us scrambling for jobs. I was NJA for a while last night. I have very little PTO left and my paycheck was $200 less again because of more ASR."

And lastly a positive one (finally!!!): " I initially MTed for two sisters from India, whose English spoken and written, was very good, well above average for people raised here, sad to say. They learned it at school in India and learned it properly. (They were also charming, fun, and very nice to work for.)"

Hope every reader reads between the line and able to find out the degree of frustration level brewing in US against India, this might be true for all the work being outsourced, not only medical transcription, I think a volcano is preparing to erupt...

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Spheris India is now CBay Group Company

Well, it's official now. The word has come from the horse's mouth itself.  The BIG combo of  MQ plus CBay has now another big cat under their kitty, the once mighty Spheris but now a bankrupt Spheris. As every one knows that Spheris has already filed for bankruptcy protection under the United States Bankruptcy Code on February 3, 2010.  The Spheris deal is to be governed by a bidding process subject to regulatory and court approval.  If the court approves the deal, the entire deal will be expected to be completed by the first half of 2010 and thus will make $400 million CBay company even bigger than ever.

CBay Holdings, through its subsidiaries MedQuist, Inc. and CBay, signed an agreement with Spheris to purchase select operating assets and liabilities of Spheris in multiple geographies, said in a statement released by CBay promoters.  The entire transactions will be done through a bidding process, subject to regulatory and court approvals. According to the agreement, MQ will acquire the domestic (US) and Canadian business of Spheris, while CBay, Inc. (the majority owner of MQ) will acquire the stocks of Spheris' India subsidiary, Spheris India Privated Ltd., thus bringing the end of tension to thousands of Spheris' workforce in US, Canada, and India.  
Spheris, based in Tennessee, US, with operations in North America and India had a consolidated revenue of $182.8 million and a net loss of $19.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.  So, the deal will make CBay Holding richer by almost $200 million, thus probably making it the biggest medical transcription company in the world.

Best of luck to all Spheris employees for a better tomorrow!!!

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Money saving tips

There is no point in being anything other than completely honest. The US economy is in trouble and things are going to stay this way for some time. That means unemployment will remain a problem and credit will be hard to find. The majority of people have responded to this situation by switching from a high-spending lifestyle to something more modest to keep enough money to service all the debts. Otherwise, the bank may foreclose on the mortgage and credit scores will be lost. This creates dilemmas. What do you need and what can be cut back? Public transport is poor. Most people need a vehicle to get around. Almost all states make it an offense to drive a vehicle on a public highway without a valid insurance policy in place. The temptation is therefore to cut back on coverage but this can be financially dangerous.

The main types of policy are liability, comprehensive and collision. The minimum legal requirement is liability coverage. Auto loan and leasing contracts usually require comprehensive and collision coverage. Thus, if you own an older car outright, you could buy a liability policy for the minimum amount and save several hundred dollars. This is called self-insurance and is generally popular in the form of deductibles where you agree to pay the first slice of any claim out of your own pocket. Let's work through an example to see how it works. Suppose you own a car worth $2,500 and it costs you $1,000 a year for all three policies. You decide to cancel the collision coverage and this saves you $300. Sadly, two months later, you are involved in an accident that totals your vehicle. You may have saved $300 but can you afford to replace your car? Worse, you kept you car because it was well-maintained and reliable. There is no guarantee that a secondhand replacement will be as good.

Similarly, you could reduce your liability coverage to the statutory minimum amount. But, if you cause an accident and the victim's claim for injury and property damage exceeds the minimums, can you afford to pay the balance? If you have assets or savings, these could all be lost if there's a judgment against you. The more you self-insure, the greater the risk to your financial safety. Of course, if you have no assets, it is unlikely anyone will chase you for payment. But if you own property or have a portfolio of investments for retirement, these are at risk. So you need to take a hard look at your situation and, more importantly, shop around. This site gives you the chance to get car insurance quotes from all the top insurers. You can run the search as many times as you need to get comparative quotes for different levels of cover. Never assume you can cut coverage safely. Never assume you cannot find affordable coverage when you get a good range of car insurance quotes.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Life insurance coverage and monitoring

One of the things we value is certainty and predictability. It would be good if everything stayed the same so that, once we have put everything in place, we could just lie back and let life pass us by. Unfortunately, life has a nasty habit of waking us up. If we are lucky, the plans we laid cover the emergency. If not, it's a case of picking up the pieces, working through the problems and putting new plans in place for the next time. But then there are the problems that creep up on us without any fanfares to announce their arrival. One morning we wake up and, when we look around, we find things are not the same. Welcome to the phenomenon of inflation. This is where the prices of goods and services slowly rise over time. The purchasing power of our weekly or monthly paycheck drops. With some persuasion, our employers reluctantly increase the pay and make up the difference. The result is a steady erosion in the value of the dollar. What was a good sum twenty years ago becomes a pittance today. This represents a subtle threat. Unless you actually think about the adequacy of your insurance coverage, you just drift on paying the instalments. If the worst happens, your dependents then find out there is enough to cover the cost of the funeral and pay the family outgoings only for a month or so.

In a recent survey of financial preparedness, the answers show that about 60% of all adult Americans have coverage representing less than three times their net annual income. In many cases, this amount would not be enough to clear off the outstanding mortgage on the family home let alone provide a lump sum to tide people over until the loss of income can be recovered. But the detail of financial planning is about more than a simple formula. Some industry professionals recommend coverage representing not less than six or seven times the net annual income. But it's always better to start with the estimated level of debts. We start with the mortgage and any other loans secured on the family home. Although these amounts should slowly fall during your lifetime, many people actually maintain or increase the amount borrowed. This may be to trade up in the quality of the home or to release some of the housing equity as cash. The first priority should be to ensure that the family's occupation of the home will not be threatened. Now add in the unsecured debts in overdrafts and on credit and store cards. Then what are the longer term plans to pay for your children's college education? The number of dependents and their needs change during your life so keeping the amount of coverage the same is always an option. But, in most cases, inflation-proofing is the better choice, particularly if the policy has a cash value. This gives you more personal security later in life.

Life insurance planning is all about monitoring the needs of your dependents and assessing how much will be required to replace your earning power. When you are starting off, always get the maximum number of life insurance quotes. It's also a good idea to take independent professional advice on the strategies to apply over your lifetime to get the most value out of the policy you buy.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar

Monday, February 01, 2010

US versus Indian MT

Well, the battle line is drawn and going by the amount of dissatisfaction with most of the MQ and Spheris jobs being outsourced to India, one must start thinking that there is something seriously wrong on this front. I just looked into a few MT forums and what I read there is really outrageous.

"I was laid off from Cbay & later MQ as well because they were sending so much to India. These greedy corporations have ruined what used to be a good industry, while endangering patients' health and privacy by sending the work overseas. They can't go bankrupt fast enough for me, and with the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bonuses for the head chiefs, I doubt it will take long. It seems to be the new way of corporations these days anyway -- get in, run the little guys out of business, move numbers around, take huge bonuses & get your money off the top, then let it sink...."

"we are now called "medical language specialists". What a joke. We should be called "translators" because most of our time is spent trying to figure out what the foreign doctors are saying in broken, horrible English. We can't make a decent paycheck because our line counts are so low. I make about $100 per week now, when I used to make $600-$750 per week. I am a very fast and accurate typist (120 wpm) and have been doing this type of work for 30 years. Do not waste your time working for these slave-drivers. They want Indian workers? Let them have them."

"If you make a little mistake, you are threatened with termination. TERMINATION is the constant threat. The morale in this companyis terrible. If you request anything, you are threatened with Termination. Don't work for these people. They treat their workers like SHIT. One day, when they are stuck with all Indian workers who can't spell or speak English, and their clients ditch them, they will be sorry."

These are just the tip of an iceberg, maybe in the near future, we might see even more aggressive remarks.

© 2010 Ranjan Kumar