Health insurance cover to reward domestic staff

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Around five years ago, entrepreneur Shalu Richard hired Ramdas Lokare to look after her father who was unable to walk or do his daily chores without assistance. The male caretaker's dedication won over the Richard family, much like their driver Rashid Chand Sheikh's work had.

Richard wanted to reward both of them hired around the same time. What came to her mind was an insurance policy to cushion them from treatment costs in case of a health exigency. So, three years ago, she bought health-cum-accident insurance policies for Ramdas and Rashid. The policies offered a health cover of Rs 2 lakh to each.

"The idea was to provide them with some financial security in case they fell sick and needed hospitalisation," said Richard, who is co-head at Corporate Culture, a corporate conferencing firm.

She wants to buy similar policies for two of her maidservants but the insurance work is yet to progress as they do not have the necessary documents. Altogether, she pays around Rs 16,000 annual premium for Ramdas and Rashid.

Around the same time Richard bought the insurance policies for them, lawyer Sujjain Talwar bought health insurance policies for all the five domestic staff who had been working for the Talwar family for over seven years.

Altogether, he pays Rs 20,000 annual premium that gives each of his domestic staff Rs 1-lakh cover.

"In India, domestic helps depend entirely on their employers. We decided to buy the policy on moral grounds," said Talwar.

Richard and Talwar are among the increasing number of people getting insurance cover for domestic staff. The past two to three years have seen a perceptible increase in people buying insurance policies for their domestic staff, said Deepdatta Rakshit, manager with a private insurance company.

Shlok and Neeru Tripathi are among such employers. Manna Sheikh working at the Tripathi household for more than a decade now was hired for part-time work but after the couple had their child three years back, Sheikh started working full time. Two years back, the Tripathis bought an insurance policy for her.

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