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Thursday, Apr 04, 2002

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Of elephants, rabbits and GIC Fortune

Nilanjan Dey

KOLKATA, April 3

WONDER what rabbits, elephants and other animals have got to do with GIC's Fortune '94 schemes? They figure on the scheme's list of discounts for unit holders on premia for general insurance

The MF, whose registrar — Karvy Consultants -- has already started forwarding insurance discount coupons to investors for the new fiscal, has a repertoire of 30 policies that are eligible for a special rebate of 25 per cent.

These include policies that may be taken from New India Assurance on a variety of animals; pigs and dogs included. Also included are `zoo and circus animals', a category that is not clearly defined in the discount coupons.

So, animals apart, what sort of policies are eligible for the 25 per cent discount? A quick read of the list sent out by Karvy reveals quite a range — from banker's indemnity insurance to fidelity guarantee insurance to neon sign insurance.

Also included is householders' insurance, a package cover for which the MF has a specific pre-condition. In respect of such covers, the discount will be available only on non-tariff and non-market agreement sections, and not on the policy as a whole.

GIC Fortune's unitholders have to follow certain other terms and conditions as well. If, for instance, any inherent discount is available under any of the 30 policies, the discount available will be the interest discount or the 25 per cent special discount, whichever is higher. Such an excess amount will not be held in balance in the account of the unitholder concerned.

With regard to long-term policies, the discount will be available only on the pro-rata premium corresponding to one year. Interestingly, the MF has sought to point out that if the value of the coupon is higher than the policy premium, it will be "deemed as fully utilised''; no refund of the excess amount will be allowed by way of cash or cheque. The discount coupon facility, according to sources familiar with the scheme, follows a provision explicitly provided for in the original offer document.

This time, it is signed by Mr Thomas Panamthanath, Senior Vice-President of GIC Asset Management Co.

GIC Fortune '94, it may be mentioned here, was launched as an open-ended growth scheme for long-term capital appreciation. The MF had earlier launched eight close-ended schemes and one offshore fund. The former included GIC Big Value (May 1992), GIC Balanced, GIC Growth Plus (I & II) and GIC Tax Savers Growth Plan. 1995-96 was its first full year of operation. Eight years after its launch, the scheme's net asset value is well below its par value of Rs 10 per unit.

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