Getting Quotes For Auto Insurance Comparisons

When you go out in the world with your new car, you want o make sure that you have two things with you, those things are your license and your auto insurance, if you do not yet have your insurance, you want to make sure that You go around and start looking for auto insurance comparisons.

If you are looking for your insurance you are probably looking for a cheap policy that will give you everything you need. Many people do not believe these exist, but the truth is that they are out there; You just have to know where to look.

The best place to start your search is online. In the old days, you would not have this option, so seeing that it is available to you today, you may as well take advantage of it. In the old days the only way you were going to find something that you are looking for is by you looking in the telephone directory or the yellow pages.

You would then need to go to the places to have a face to face chat with one of the consultants in order to learn everything you need to get started. This you would need to do over and over again, until you have enough information from as many companies as you choose. These days, the process is easier.

The internet has made it all possible, you can now find what you are looking for on the internet and you can order whatever you need without the need to talk to anyone in person. If you are looking for insurance, for instance, all you need to do is a little research into the best insurance companies.

If you are looking for cheap insurance companies, you need to know that you will have to do a little more work. There are not a lot of cheap insurance places, but you will find that most of the companies that work strictly online are much cheaper than theirs offline counterparts.

This is why you will find that most of the people who claim to have cheap insurance are registered with an online company. The other thing that you want to remember is that you have to get a few quotes from a few companies, so that you can do proper auto insurance comparisons, if you are going to find a good company that will work with you.



Source by Felix Fassbinder

Eliminating Cellulite – How to Remove It

Eliminating cellulite will always the most relevant information to look for by women all over the world. It is true that in searching for ways in eliminating cellulite you have to accumulate as much information as possible. The information will be profitable to considering the best most suitable method in getting rid of your cellulite.

What is cellulite?

Then, what is the treatment in eliminating cellulite?

Eliminating Cellulite

In removing cellulite, the most relevant and the most conservative treatment is balancing your diet and doing exercise. Be sure that you are going to practice it well. By doing both of the treatments, be sure that you will not only able to diminish your cellulite but also become healthier and look fresher.

Besides balancing diet and exercise, there are also several ultramodern techniques which will be helpful for removing cellulite. One sort of the ultramodern techniques is liposuction which can drastically decrease layers of cellulite.

Exercise is also incredibly effective for removing cellulite. Weight training is one form of exercising that has proved to be certainly useful for ridding of cellulite. It is able to increase and form the tone of the body and not only eradicate present cellulite but stop it from persistent in the future.

This is a somewhat novel process. The major downfall to this mechanism is that it is highly expensive. And for it is thought to be a cosmetic process it is not covered by insurance. Here is not reachable to the average person.

In short, there are several treatments in removing cellulite. If you are planning to use on of the treatment, be certain that you are choosing the most viable one and the cost will not make you insolvent. Yet, whatever your decision, it is you are the decision maker.

Explore more about eliminating cellulite since there are many things you have not known and will be answered only if you visit the links here! These guidelines will make you smarter about cellulite!



Source by Debby Monroe

Royal Entrepreneurship – The Case of Royal Bank Zimbabwe Ltd Formation

The deregulation of the financial services in the late 1990s resulted in an explosion of entrepreneurial activity leading to the formation of banking institutions. This chapter presents a case study of Royal Bank Zimbabwe, tracing its origins, establishment, and the challenges that the founders faced on the journey. The Bank was established in 2002 but compulsorily amalgamated into another financial institution at the behest of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in January 2005.

Entrepreneurial Origins

Any entrepreneurial venture originates in the mind of the entrepreneur. As Stephen Covey states in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, all things are created twice. Royal Bank was created first in the mind of Jeffrey Mzwimbi, the founder, and was thus shaped by his experiences and philosophy.

Jeff Mzwimbi grew up in the high density suburb of Highfield, Harare. On completion of his Advanced Level he secured a place at the University of Botswana. However he decided against the academic route at that time since his family faced financial challenges in terms of his tuition. He therefore opted to join the work force. In 1977 he was offered a job in Barclays Bank as one of the first blacks to penetrate that industry. At that time the banking industry, which had been the preserve of whites, was opening up to blacks. Barclays had a new General Manager, John Mudd, who had been involved in the Africanisation of Barclays Bank Nigeria. On his secondment to Zimbabwe he embarked on the inclusion of blacks into the bank. Mzwimbi’s first placement with Barclays was in the small farming town of Chegutu.

In 1981, a year after Independence, Jeff moved to Syfrets Merchant Bank. Mzwimbi, together with Simba Durajadi and Rindai Jaravaza, were the first black bankers to break into merchant banking department. He rose through the ranks until he was transferred to the head office of Zimbank – the principal shareholder of Syfrets – where he headed the international division until 1989.

The United Nations co-opted him as an advisor to the Reserve Bank in Burundi and thereafter, having been pleased by his performance, appointed him a consultant in 1990. In this capacity he advised on the launch of the PTA Bank travellers’ cheques. After the consultancy project the bank appointed him to head the implementation of the programme. He once again excelled and rose to become the Director of Trade Finance with a mandate of advising the bank on ways to improve trade among member states. The member states were considering issues of a common currency and common market in line with the European model. Because the IFC and World Bank had unsuccessfully sunk gigantic sums of funds into development in the region, they were advocating a move from development finance to trade finance. Consequently PTA Bank, though predominantly a development bank, created a trade finance department. To craft a strategy for trade finance at a regional level, Mzwimbi and his team visited Panama where the Central Americans had created a trade finance institution. They studied its models and used it as a basis to craft the PTA’s own strategy.

Mzwimbi returned to Zimbabwe at the conclusion of his contract. He weighed his options. He could rejoin Barclays Bank, but recent developments presented another option. At that time Nick Vingirai had just returned home after successfully launching a discount house in Ghana. Vingirai, inspired by his Ghanaian experience, established Intermarket Discount House as the first indigenous financial institution. A few years later NMB was set up with William Nyemba, Francis Zimuto and James Mushore being on the ground while one of the major forces behind the bank, Julias Makoni, was still outside the country. Makoni had just moved from IFC to Bankers’ Trust, to facilitate his ownership of a financial institution. Inspired by fellow bankers, a dream took shape in Mzwimbi’s mind. Why become an employee when he could become a bank owner? After all by this time he had valuable international experience.

The above experience shows how the entrepreneurial dream can originate from viewing the successes of others like you. The valuable experiences acquired by Mzwimbi would be critical on the entrepreneurial journey. An entrepreneurial idea builds on the experiences of the entrepreneur.

First Attempts

In 1990 Jeff Mzwimbi was approached by Nick Vingirai, who was then Chairman of the newly resuscitated CBZ, for the CEO position. Mzwimbi turned down the offer since he still had some contractual obligations. The post was later offered to Gideon Gono, the current RBZ governor.

Around 1994, Julias Makoni (then with IFC), who was a close friend of Roger Boka, encouraged Boka to start a merchant bank. At this time Makoni was working at setting up his own NMB. It is possible that, by encouraging Boka to start, he was trying to test the waters. Then Mzwimbi was seeing out the last of his contract at PTA. Boka approached him at the recommendation of Julias Makoni and asked him to help set up United Merchant Bank (UMB). On careful consideration, the banker in Mzwimbi accepted the offer. He reasoned that it would be an interesting option and at the same time he did not want to turn down another opportunity. He worked on the project with a view to its licensing but quit three months down the line. Some of the methods used by the promoter of UMB were deemed less than ethical for the banking executive, which led to disagreement. He left and accepted an offer from Econet to help restructure its debt portfolio.

While still at Econet, he teamed up with the late minister Dr Swithun Mombeshora and others with the intent of setting up a commercial bank. The only commercial banks in the country at that point were Standard Chartered, Barclays Bank, Zimbank, Stanbic and an ailing CBZ. The project was audited by KPMG and had gained the interest of institutional investors like Zimnat and Mining Industry Pension Fund. However, the Registrar of Banks in the Ministry of Finance, made impossible demands. The timing of their application for a licence was unfortunate because it coincided with a saga at Prime Bank in which some politicians had been involved, leading to accusations of influence peddling. Mombeshora, after unsuccessfully trying to influence the Registrar, asked that they slow down on the project as he felt that he might be construed as putting unnecessary political pressure on her. Mzwimbi argues that the impossible stance of the Registrar was the reason for backing off that project.

However other sources indicate that when the project was about to be licensed, the late minister

demanded that his shareholding be increased to a point where he would be the majority shareholder. It is alleged that he contended this was due to his ability to leverage his political muscle for the issuance of the licence.

Entrepreneurs do not give up at the first sign of resistance but they view obstacles in starting up as learning experiences. Entrepreneurs develop a “don’t quit” mind-set. These experiences increase their self -efficacy. Perseverance is critical, as failure can occur at any time.

Econet Wireless

The aspiring banker was approached, in 1994 by a budding telecommunication entrepreneur, Strive Masiyiwa of Econet Wireless, to advise on financial matters and help restructure the company’s debt. At that time Mzwimbi thought that he would be with Econet probably for only four months and then return to his banking passion. While at Econet it became apparent that, once licensed, the major drawback for the telecommunication company’s growth would be the cost of cell phone handsets. This presented an opportunity for the banker, as he saw a strategic option of setting up a leasing finance division within Econet that would lease out handsets to subscribers. The anticipated four months to licensing of Econet dragged into four years, which encompassed a bruising legal struggle that finally enabled the licensing against the State’s will. Mzwimbi’s experience with merchant banking proved useful for his role in Econet’s formation. With the explosive growth of Econet after an IPO, Mzwimbi assisted in the launch of the Botswana operations in 1999. After that, Econet pursued the Morocco licence. At this stage, the dream of owning a bank proved stronger than the appeal of telecoms. The banker faced some tough decisions, as financially he was well covered in Econet with an assured executive position that would expand with the expansion of the network. However the dream prevailed and he resigned from Econet and headed back home from RSA, where he was then domiciled.

His Econet days bestowed on him a substantial shareholding in the company, expanded his worldview and taught him vital lessons in creating an entrepreneurial venture. The persistence of Masiyiwa against severe government resistance taught Mzwimbi critical lessons in pursuing his dream in spite of obstacles. No doubt he learnt a lot from the enterprising founder of Econet.

Debut Royal Bank

On his return in March 2000, Mzwimbi regrouped with some of his friends, Chakanyuka Karase and Simba Durajadi, with whom he had worked on the last attempt at launching a bank. In 1998 the Banking Act was updated and a new statutory instrument called the Banking Regulations had been enacted in the light of the UMB and Prime Bank failures.

These required that one should have the shareholders, the premises and equipment all in place before licensing. Previously one needed only to set up an office and hire a secretary to acquire a banking license. The licence would be the basis for approaching potential investors. In other words it was now required that one should incur the risk of setting up and purchasing the IT infrastructure, hire personnel and lease premises without any assurance that one would acquire the licence. Consequently it was virtually impossible to invite outside investors into the project at this stage.

Without recourse to outside shareholders injecting funds, and with minimal financial capacity on the part of his partners, Mzwimbi fortuitously benefited from his substantial Econet shares. He used them as collateral to access funds from Intermarket Discount House to finance the start up – acquired equipment like ATMs, hired staff, and leased premises. Mzwimbi recalls pleading with the Central Bank and the Registrar of Banks about the oddity of having to apply for a licence only when he had spent significant amounts on capital expenditure – but the Registrar was adamant.

Finally, Royal Bank was licensed in March 2002 and, after the prerequisite pre-opening inspections by the Central Bank, opened its doors to the public four months later.

Entrepreneurial Challenges

The challenges of financing the new venture and the earlier disappointments did not deter Mzwimbi. The risk of using his own resources, whereas in other places one would fund a significant venture using institutional shareholders’ capital, has already been discussed. This section discusses other challenges that the entrepreneurial banker had to overcome.

Regulatory Challenges and Capital Structure

The new banking regulations placed shareholding restrictions on banks as follows:

*Individuals could hold a maximum of 25% of a financial institution’s equity

*Non-financial institutions could hold a maximum of 10% only

*A financial institution however could hold up to a maximum of 100%.

This posed a problem for the Royal Bank sponsors because they had envisaged Royal Financial Holdings (a non-financial corporate) as the major shareholder for the bank. Under the new regulations this could hold only 10% maximum. The sponsors argued with the Registrar of Banks about these regulations to no avail. If they needed to hold the shares as corporate bodies it meant that they needed at least ten companies, each holding 10% each. The argument for having financial institutions holding up to 100% was shocking as it meant that an asset manager with a required capitalisation of $1 million would be allowed by the new law to hold 100% shareholding in a bank which had a $100 million capitalisation yet a non-banking institution, which may have had a higher capitalisation, could not control more than 10%. Mzwimbi and team were advised by the Registrar of Banks to invest in their personal capacities. At this point the Reserve Bank (RBZ) was simply involved in the registration process on an advisory basis with the main responsibility resting with the Registrar of Banks. Although the RBZ agreed with Mzwimbi’s team on the need to have corporations as major shareholders due to the long term existence of a corporation as compared to individuals, the Registrar insisted on her terms. Finally, Royal Bank promoters chose the path of satisficing- and hence opted to invest as individuals, resulting in the following shareholding structure:

*Jeff Mzwimbi – 25%

*Victor Chando – 25%

*Simba Durajadi- 20%

*Hardwork Pemhiwa- 20%

*Intermarket Unit Trust – 2% (the only institutional investor)

*Other individuals – less than 2% each.

The challenge to acquire institutional investors was due to the restrictions cited above and the requirement to pump money into the project before the licence was issued. They negotiated with TA Holdings, which was prepared to take equity holding in Royal Bank.

So tentatively the sponsors had allocated 25% equity for Zimnat, a subsidiary to TA Holdings. Close to the registration date, the Zimnat negotiators were changed. The incoming negotiators changed the terms and conditions for their investment as follows:

*They wanted at least a 35% stake

*The Board chairmanship and chairmanship of key committees – in perpetuity.

The promoters read this to mean their project was being usurped and so turned TA Holdings down. However, in retrospect Mzwimbi feels that the decision to release the TA investment was emotional and believes that they should have compromised and found a way to accommodate them as institutional investors. This could have strengthened the capital base of Royal Bank.

Credibility Challenges

The main sponsors and senior managers of the bank were well known players in the industry. This reduced the credibility gap. However some corporate customers were concerned about the shareholding of the bank being entirely in the hands of individuals. They preferred the bank risk to be reduced by having institutional investors. The new licensing process adversely affected access to institutional investors. Consequently the bank had institutional shareholders in mind for the long term. They claim that even the then head of supervision and licensing at RBZ, agreed with the promoters’ concern about the need for institutional investors but the Registrar of Banks overruled her.

Challenges of Explosive Growth

The strategic plan of Royal Bank was to open ten branch offices within five years. They planned to open three branches in Harare in the first year, followed by branches in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and Gweru within the next year. This would have been followed by an increase in the number of Harare branches.

From their analysis they believed that there was room for at least four more commercial banks in Zimbabwe. A competitor analysis of the industry indicated that the government controlled Zimbank was the major competitor, CBZ was struggling and Stanbic was not likely to grow rapidly. The bigger banks, Barclays and Standard Chartered, were likely to scale down operations. The promoters of the bank project had observed in their extensive international experie nce that whenever the economy was indigenised in Africa, these multinational banks would dispose of their rural branches. They were therefore positioning themselves to exploit this scenario once it presented itself.

The anticipated opportunity presented itself earlier than expected. On an international flight with the Standard Chartered Bank CEO, Mzwimbi, confirmed his interest in a stake of the bank’s disinvestments which was making rounds on the rumour mill. Although surprised, the multinational banker agreed to give the two month old entrepreneurial bank the right of first refusal on the fifteen branches that were being disposed of.

The deal was negotiated on a lock, stock and barrel basis. When the announcement of the deal was made internally, some employees resisted and politicised the issue. The Standard Chartered CEO then offered to proceed on a phased basis with the first seven banks going through, followed by the others later. Due to Mzwimbi’s savvy negotiating skills and the determination by Standard Chartered to dispose of the branches, the deal was successfully concluded, resulting in Royal Bank growing from one branch to seven outlets within the first year of operation. It had exceeded their projected growth plan.

Due to what Mzwimbi calls divine favour, the deal included the real estate belonging to the bank. Interestingly, Standard Chartered had failed to get bank buildings on lease and so in all small towns they had built their own buildings. These were thus transferred within the deal to Royal Bank. Inherent in the deal was an inbuilt equity from the properties since the purchase price of $400 million was heavily discounted.

Shortly after that, Alex Jongwe, the CEO of Barclays Bank, approached Royal Bank to offer a similar deal to the Standard Chartered acquisition of rural branches. Barclays offered eight branches, of which Royal initially accepted six. Chegutu and Chipinge were excluded, since Royal already had a presence there.

However after failing to dispose of those two branches, Barclays came back and asked Royal “to take them for a song”. Mzwimbi accepted these for two strategic reasons, namely the acquisitions gave him physical assets (the buildings) that he could lease out to anyone who decided to expand into those areas and secondly, that created a monopoly in those towns. With time, the fortuitous inclusion of real estate into the deal increased the wealth of Royal Bank as the prices of properties skyrocketed with hyperinflation.

One of the major key drivers of the Zimbabwean economy is agriculture. After the failed Land Donors Conference in 1998 and the subsequent land reform programme, it was evident to the established banks that commercial farming would be significantly affected.

They sought to quit the small towns since their major clients were commercial farmers. Strategically to acquire these branches when the major source of their revenue was under threat would have required that Royal Bank should have put in place an alternative source of revenue from farming. It is not clear whether this had been considered during these acquisitions.

The acquisition increased Royal’s branch network to 20 and the staff complement by 50. Incidentally, the growth created problems of managing the system as well as cultural issues. The highly unionised Standard Chartered employees were antagonistic to management as compared to the trusting Royal culture. This acquisition resulted in potential culture challenges. Management controlled this by introducing Norton and Kaplan’s Balanced Scorecard system in an effort to manage the cultural clashes of the three systems.

The Challenge of Financing Acquisition

A major challenge in acquisitions is the financing structure. During licensing the Registrar of Banks refused to accept the nearly $200 million that had been spent by the promoters of Royal Bank as capital. She insisted that this be recognised as pre-operating expenses and therefore wanted to see fresh capital amounting to $100 million. The change of rules posed a challenge for Mzwimbi’s team. However, being an astute deal maker he strategically conceptualised an arrangement whereby the $170 million worth of equipment purchased be accounted for as belonging to Royal Financial Holdings and made available to Royal Bank on a lease basis. This would then be sold to the bank as it grew. The RBZ was appraised of this decision and accepted it, and even noted in the inspection report the amount of expenditure spent pre-operatively by the promoters. The remainder of the pre-operative expenses were converted into nonvoting non-convertible preference shares of Royal Bank.

In January 2003 commercial bank capitalisation was increased to $500 million by the regulator and hence there was a need for recapitalisation. This coincided with the branch acquisition deals. At this stage the Royal Bank team decided to partially fund the acquisition through a conversion of the preference shares into ordinary shares and partially from fresh capital injected by the shareholders. Since the bank was now performing well, it purchased the capital equipment, owned by Royal Financial Holdings, which it had been leasing. This deal included the redistribution and balancing of shareholdings in Royal Bank to conform to the statutory requirements. Retrospectively it may be viewed as a strategic blunder to have moved the equipment into the bank ownership. Considering the “sale” of Royal Bank assets to ZABG, if these and the real estate had been warehoused into RFH the take-over may have been difficult. This highlights the failure sometimes by entrepreneurs to appreciate the importance of asset protection mechanisms while still small.

However the RBZ accused the shareholders of using depositors’ funds for the recapitalisation of the bank. Partly this is due to a misunderstanding that RFH is the holding company of Royal Bank and so sometimes accounts flowing from Royal Financial Holdings were accounted by RBZ investigators as Royal Bank funds. These allegations formed part of the allegations of fraud against Mzwimbi and Durajadi when they were arrested in September 2004. Subsequently the courts cleared them of any fraudulent activities in January 2007.

Managerial Challenges

Retrospectively, Mzwimbi views his managerial team as being excellent apart from some “weaknesses in the finance department”. He assembled a solid team from various banking backgrounds. The most significant ones became founding shareholders like Durajadi Simba at treasury, the late Sibanda in charge of the lending department. Faith Ngwabi-Bhebhe, then with Kingdom, helped lay a solid foundation of human resource systems for the bank.

However, they had a challenge finding a financial director. The new statutory instrument required that CVs of all corporate officers be made available for vetting when the licence was applied for. Without a licence one could not promise someone in current employment a job and submit his CV as this would reflect badly on the promoters. Eventually they hired a chartered accountant without banking experience. Initially they thought this was a stop-gap measure.

With the unanticipated growth, they forgot to revisit this department to strengthen it. Because of these weaknesses the bank continued to face challenges in the treasury department, despite the gallant efforts of the financial director. Strangely, when other executive directors were arrested the FD was left untouched and yet all the issues at stake arose from treasury activities. It would appear in retrospect that the FD was intimidated into providing incriminating evidence for the others. She too was threatened with arrest.

Successful entrepreneurial ventures in a growth phase need both strong leaders and strong managers. It’s not enough to have strong leadership skills. As Ed Cole said, “It’s easier to obtain than to maintain.” The role of strong managers is to create the capacity to maintain what strong entrepreneurial leaders acquire. Interestingly a new field of research, Strategic Entrepreneurship now recognises the need for both entrepreneurial and strategic management competences for successful ventures.

Strategic Growth Plans

Royal Bank’s strategic intent was to create a full house of financial services. The plan included a commercial bank, a discount house, an insurance company, a building society and an asset management service. However the vision was later refined and the plans for a discount house were dropped, since a strong commercial bank with a powerful dealing room would serve the same purpose. A strong asset manager would also relieve the need for a discount house.

With the significant branch network, the commercial bank was solid but needed a presence in a few major centres e.g. Masvingo and Gweru. In Gweru they could not locate suitable premises.

In Masvingo, after a struggle they were offered premises which had previously been earmarked for Trust Bank. With Trust Bank facing challenges, it abandoned Masvingo. However, Royal was placed under a curator when it was about to move in.

Royal Bank courted Finsreal Asset Managers for a potential acquisition since there were synergies and shared beliefs. It had a solid corporate customer base and very good growth prospects since an astute entrepreneur led it. Unfortunately the deal was aborted at the last minute when the owner opted out. After the Finsreal flop, Mzwimbi and his team pursued the asset manager through organic growth. They developed their own company -Regal Asset Managers – during the last quarter of 2003. At this stage the capital requirements and licensing process of asset managers was fairly easy. Asset managers were quite profitable, with minimal regulatory controls. Regal Asset Managers completed two good deals, namely: a management buyout of Screen Litho, a printing concern, and a big deal for First Mutual at its demutualisation.

The Screen Litho deal had been offered to venture capitalists but their demands were excessive. That is when Regal Asset Managers was set up and concluded a funding deal through Royal Financial Holdings (RFH), resulting in RFH holding 99% of Screen Litho which was to be off- loaded once management was in a solid financial position. Screen Litho is performing very well and hence this investment has proven successful. The entrepreneurial Mzwimbi thus diversified his financial portfolio through this deal.

For the building society, Royal eyed First National Building Society (FNBS) and almost signed a memorandum of agreement. Royal Bank was almost ready to transfer its staff mortgage facility to FNBS, when a close friend with a powerful position in the Society discouraged it from committing to the deal without divulging the reasons. A short while later FNBS was placed under a curator, with the RBZ citing cases of fraud by the top executives. The increasingly acquisitive Royal Bank entrepreneurs shifted and trained their guns at Beverly Building Society. Intermarket had already failed to consummate a deal with Beverley. Royal Bank was now competing with African Banking Corporation (ABC), which beat it to an agreement but was denied shareholder authority to complete the deal. Royal Bank then went back to wooing Shingai Mutasa of TA Holdings in an effort to increase its institutional shareholder base. He was keen on the deal.

Mutasa was acquainted with the two British owners of Beverley and one of his board members sat on the Beverley Building Society board. His support would have been crucial in the deal. However this process was overtaken by events, as the incoming RBZ governor superintended a monetary policy which led the financial sector into a tailspin.

Some young entrepreneurs approached Royal Bank seeking for support to establish an insurance company. Since this was in line with Royal’s strategic plan it consented and helped start Regal Insurance Company. Royal Bank originated the name Regal Insurance.

Once the licence was acquired there were some shareholder disputes and Royal Bank distanced itself from the deal. The young entrepreneurs who had been supported by Royal Bank lost the company to the other shareholders.

The final thrust in the strategic plan was establishing a stock broking firm. An idiosyncrasy with stock broking licences is that they are not issued to an institution but to a person. Intermarket had the highest number of stock broking licences. Mzwimbi approached the Intermarket stock broking CEO, who was a friend, about the prospects of acquiring one of the stockbrokers and he did not seem to have a problem with that. At the same time Victor Chando, a major shareholder in Royal Bank, brought to the table his interest in acquiring Barnfords Securities. He was encouraged to pursue the deal with the help of Royal Bank with the plan of bringing it in-house as soon as possible. All Royal Bank deals would now be channelled through Barnfords.

It appears that Royal bank developed a strong appetite for deals. One wonders what it would have been like if it had taken time to develop strong systems and capacity before attempting so many deals. What could have been avoided if the appetite for deals had been controlled? Entrepreneurs may need to exercise restrain in their expansion in order to create capacities to absorb and consolidate the growth.



Source by Dr Tawafadza A. Makoni

Alternative Medicine and Self Improvement With Technical Resources

Alternative medicine is essentially under the auspices of World Health Organization, and is a preferred treatment modality that supports the healthcare needs of 65% of the world. It is also known as CAM, or Complementary and Alternative medicine. It is based on clinical process similar to mainstream medicine that uses drugs and surgery.

World Health Organization is arranged to several departments concerning preventive medicine, public health, vaccinations to eradicate serious epidemics, and drugless therapies based on ancient traditions, as with acupuncture, tuina, shiatsu, herbalism, massage, aromatherapy, laser therapy, sports massage, neuromuscular massage and related.

The scientific nature, origin and background of each drugless therapy may be differentiated by its boards, regulators, clinical researchers, competency requirements, SOAP and plan of care. Low level laser is used and managed by mainstream practitioners, dermatologists, lymphologists, physical therapists, dentists and related.

Shiatsu, tuina, acupuncture and zen range in industry value from different levels, spas, clinics, yoga centers, hospitals or traditional practitioners. They are all based on sacred scriptures that have been monitored by WHO into practical technical documentation.

The spa industry is relatively recent, but applications based on massage may used the most in aesthetic environments, landscapes and luxurious rituals. These are very inviting but may cost a fortune. In healthcare centers, costs are high and insurance is not available.

The need arises for technical training or self improvement through courses and books. These courses and certificates must be affordable, well recognized in their brand and regulated. They must conform to international guidelines of understanding, of safety, of description, of competency listings, of consultation or checklisting, of monitoring progress, and of comfortable, convenient usage.

Such books for the layman have been relatively simple so far. The Standards boards cost high sums to exhibit their core work and process, at ministry level.

They are compatible with legal systems, technical systems, competency systems, audit systems, learner support systems and so on. The qualifications are understood globally and practitioners worldwide speak with the same understanding.

These processes have been somewhat converted for individuals to update their skills and knowledge quotient. Awareness is always useful. A reader with a severe back pain may prefer to buy his own laser and threat himself, rather than spend a fortune on a single session or a series of them. The reader must know the most suitable laser and technical process for his injury. In case he is not able to find adequate support in a book, he can enroll for a certified course.

With so much handy reading available, readers can change their lives, health and self improvement with compliance to technical process and quality training that is available. Now this brings in Zen for self discovery and internal balance, acupuncture or shiatsu for energy and equilibrium in core health, yoga for physical and spiritual exercise, sports massage and professional quality stretches for muscle balancing or lengthening, and fast recovery in the sports arena. Laser brings in scope for pain management, lymphatic drainage, acupuncture and more.

The Alternative medicine books are presentable with technical support to manage compliance based form filling, check points, after treatment evaluations, and recommendations for progress.



Source by Malini Chaudhri

Human Resource Information System – HRIS

Human Resource Information Systems

The purpose of this paper is to identify other companies who have faced similar human resources issues in regards to information technology. Through benchmarking different companies we can learn how other companies have handled certain human resources issues related to information technology, information systems, new technology, and data security. An overall analysis has been completed using research on IBM Europe, Ameriprise Financial, Terasen Pipelines, Shaw’s Supermarkets, CS Stars LLC, IBM, WORKSource Inc., and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. This paper also includes eight synopses of companies facing similar issue to those in the reading.

New Technology

With the changing world and constant new technology that is available, managers need to be aware of the technology that will increase effectiveness in their company. Human resource information systems (HRIS) have increasingly transformed since it was first introduced at General Electric in the 1950s. HRIS has gone from a basic process to convert manual information keeping systems into computerized systems, to the HRIS systems that are used today. Human resource professionals began to see the possibility of new applications for the computer. The idea was to integrate many of the different human resource functions. The result was the third generation of the computerized HRIS, a feature-rich, broad-based, self-contained HRIS. The third generation took systems far beyond being mere data repositories and created tools with which human resource professionals could do much more (Byars, 2004).

Many companies have seen a need to transform the way Human Resource operations are performed in order to keep up with new technology and increasing numbers of employees. Terasen Pipelines moved its headquarters from Vancouver to Calgary to be closer to the oil and realized a major growth in employees. In the past recording keeping was done on paper and with spreadsheets. Mangers at Terasen realized that there was a need to change to a more computerized system and looked into different HRIS vendors. By making the move to a HRIS system, Terasen is able to keep more accurate records as well as better prepare for future growth. Another company that saw the benefits of keeping up with new technology is WORKSource Inc. To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic pay stub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). By adapting these new programs, WORKSource was able to reduce waste and cost.

The Internet is an increasingly popular way to recruit applicants, research technologies and perform other essential functions in business. Delivering human resource services online (eHR) supports more efficient collection, storage, distribution, and exchange of data (Friesen, 2003). An intranet is a type of network used by companies to share information to people within the organization. An intranet connects people to people and people to information and knowledge within the organization; it serves as an “information hub” for the entire organization. Most organizations set up intranets primarily for employees, but they can extend to business partners and even customers with appropriate security clearance (Byars & Rue, 2004).

Applications of HRIS

The efficiency of HRIS, the systems are able to produce more effective and faster outcomes than can be done on paper. Some of the many applications of HRIS are: Clerical applications, applicant search expenditures, risk management, training management, training experiences, financial planning, turnover analysis, succession planning, flexible-benefits administration, compliance with government regulations, attendance reporting and analysis, human resource planning, accident reporting and prevention and strategic planning. With the many different applications of HRIS, it is difficult to understand how the programs benefit companies without looking at companies that have already benefited from such programs.

One such company is IBM. IBM has a paperless online enrollment plan for all of its employees. Not only has the online enrollment saved the company 1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs, the employees enjoy working with the online plan. “Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly [Senior Communications Specialist] says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere (Huering, 2003). By utilizing the flexible-benefits application HRIS has to offer, IBM was able to cut costs and give employees the freedom to discover their benefits on their own time and pace.

Another company that has taken advantage of HRIS applications is Shaw’s Supermarkets. In order for Shaw’s to better manage its workforce, the company decided it was time to centralize the HR operations. After looking at different options, Shaw’s decided to implement an Employee Self Service (ESS) system. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information (Koven, 2002). By giving employees access to their personal information and the ability to update or change their information as needed, HR was given more time to focus on other issues. Understanding the different applications HRIS has to offer will give companies the chance to increase employee efficiency and reduce costs.

Measuring the Effectiveness of HRIS

The evaluation should determine whether or not the HRIS has performed up to its expectations and if the HRIS is being used to its full advantage (Byars & Rue, 2004). One of the most significant challenges faced by public personnel executives today is measuring the performance of their human resources information system (HRIS) In order to justify the value-added contribution of the HRIS to accomplishing the organization’s mission (Hagood & Friedman, 2002). Implementing an HRIS program may seem a necessary stem for a company, but unless it will be an effective tool for HR operations, it will not help increase efficiency and may hinder it instead.

One company that implemented a HRIS system is Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (TAMS). TAMS put all employee benefits information online and created an open enrollment option when TAMS changed healthcare providers. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal [new HRIS technology] to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004). By determining the efficiency of the new program, TAMS was able to realize the benefits of the new HRIS system.

Security of HRIS

The privacy of employee information has become a major issue in recent years. With identity theft becoming a common problem, employees are becoming more sensitive about who sees their personal information, and the security it is kept in. By making sure employee information that is kept in the HRIS is relevant to the company and making sure there is limited access (password protection) to such information, companies can make its employees more secure with the safety of their information. Whether electronic or paper, employee files deserve to be treated with great care. Establishing security and end-user privileges calls for a balance of incorporating, HR policy, system knowledge and day-to-day operations (O’Connell, 1994).

One company that faced a major security issue was CS Stars, LLC. CS Stars lost track of one of its computers that contained personal information that included names, addresses and social security numbers of workers compensation benefits. The bigger problem was that CS Stars failed to notify the affected consumers and employees about the missing computer. Though the computer was retrieved and no information seemed to have been harmed, many employees lost their sense of security with the company. New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization (Cadrain, 2007).

Another company that experienced a breach in security is Ameriprise Financial. In late 2005, a computer that contained personal information on clients and employees was stolen. Because many of the employees at Ameriprise take their computers between work and home, the company determined there was a need to put more security into those computers. Ameriprise made sure all employees had the new security suite installed on their computers. By responding quickly to the need for more security, Ameriprise made sure all information is being kept secure. Making sure employees information is kept as secure as possible there will be more trust in the company and the HR employees working with that information.

Conclusion

IBM, Terasen Pipeline, CS Stars LCC, and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. are good examples of companies facing issues similar to human resources information technology and human resources information systems. All of these companies know the importance of new technology, human resources information systems, and data security. The remainder of this paper provides synopses of more companies facing human resources issues, how the company responded to the issues, and the outcomes of the company’s responses.

Companies Benchmarked

IBM Europe

The Situation:

IBM is a global organization offering research, software, hardware, IT consulting, business and management consulting, ring and financing. It employs around 340,000 people, speaking 165 languages across 75 countries, and serving clients in 174 countries. In January 2007, IBM established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. IBM main goal is to educate, support, and promote programs that utilize social media. IBM Europe decided to expand internal communication by blogging guidelines. The recognition was that blogging was already happening among IBMers, just in an unregulated way. In a similar way, institutionalizing a function to deal specifically with new media is not a corporate move, or establishing from scratch. It’s a response to the issues already emerging in the company. Now that those technologies are here, people are using them, they’re growing and there here to stay-we’re just going to put some structure around them so that we can try to optimize their use.” The users decide what technologies they want to use and how they want to use them. That main idea is that IBM understands that they must remember to respect the fact that social media are social. IBM had the need to connect its 340,000 global employees more effectively.

The Response:

IBM’s intent around social media has now been officially formalized. From January 22 2007, the company established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. “Its remit: To act as expert consultants inside and outside IBM on issues relating to blogs, wikis, RSS and other social media applications. The main idea is to educate, support and promote programs that utilize these tools. IBM has a history of being a t the forefront of technology based corporate communication. From the multimedia brainstorming “WorldJam” that made news headlines back in 2001 in which 50,000 employees worldwide joined a real time, online idea-sharing session about the company’s direction. IMB has always prepared itself to use breakthrough technologies to establish a two-way dialogue with its employees. The need for social media was necessary and could no longer wait.

The Outcome:

In the last few years IBM has been recognized as being the vanguard of social-media use: IBM was on of the first Fortune 500 companies to get behind collaborative wikis, published internal blogging guidelines as far back as 2003, and is now moving fast beyond RSS and podcasts into videocasting and “virtual world” technologies like Second Life. The intranet search facility extends to all areas of the site, including new media aspects. When an employee logs onto their portal an executes a key word search, the results they get back not only come from the main intranet pages, but include results from IBM forums, wikis, blogs and podcast/videocasts tags. IMB has an understanding that employees are no longer staying in a company their entire lives. It’s just not like that any more. In Belgium for example over 50 percent of 2,300 employees have been there fewer than five years. The company has come to the conclusion that with an increasingly young and mobile workforce, the likelihood is that an employee population full of a younger generation, for whom these tools are part and parcel of life, is not that far away. In years to come IBM will have to deal with employee base for which blogging is just the natural way to interact over a web platform. IBM has created centralized platforms for most tools that fall under its remit, which includes wikis. For Philippe Borremans, new media lead Europe for IBM, has the potential business applications of a wiki cover two broad benefits: Collaborating and knowledge sharing. IBM has scored some notable successes on both fronts in the near 5000 wiki pages now up and running in the organization. The company has been a huge pick-up in interest in podcasting over the last 18 months writing can seem such a technical skill, whereas people feel they can talk more freely than they can write. One of the most consistently popular IBM podcasts, with over 20,000 downloads a week.

Ameriprise Financial

The Situation:

The Department of Justice survey estimates that 3.6 million U.S. households were victims of identity theft in 2004. Trafficking in personal date goes beyond U.S. borders: the New York Times reports that stolen financial information is often distributed among participants of online trading boards, and the buyers are frequently located in Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. One reason clients are concerned about data security is the widespread publicity generated by breaches at financial services firm. In late December 2205, an Ameriprise Financial employee’s laptop that contained unencrypted data on approximately 230,000 customers and advisors was stolen from a car. Other financial services firm, including Citigroup and Bank of America, also acknowledge large-scale customer data losses in 2005. President of NCS, Rita Dew, a compliance consulting firm in Delray Beach, Florida, says that the Securities and Exchange Commission requires investment advisors to have policies and procedures that address the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards related to client records and information.

The Response:

Ameriprise Financial had to fight back and had to implement “layers of protection.” It is important for employees who their primary business computer, and employees regularly transport the computer between home, office, and meeting sites. The vulnerability of this arrangement and the need for a safety software program is much needed.

The Outcome:

Employees who are transporting lab tops should install the Steganos Security Suite on their computer. This software allows employees to create an encrypted virtual drive on the laptop that serves as data storage safe. Employees stores all client related data and tax preparation software database on the encrypted drive, which employees has set up with one gigabyte of storage space. The best thing is that when an employee turns off the computer the information is stored “safe”, the software automatically encrypts the virtual drive’s data. The software also generates encrypted backup files, which employees store on CDs in a fireproof safe. This should keep the data secure if any employee’s laptop is stolen or if the drive is removed from the laptop. Other financial advisors are relying on encryption both in and out of the office. Other programs that are being used to protect client’s information are RAID Level 1 system to store data on the drives that are encrypted with WinMagic’s SecureDocs software. Encryption ensures that anyone who steals the computer will be absolutely unable to read the data, even by connecting it to another computer as a “slave drive. This has given many financial advisors the greatest peace of mind.

Terasen Pipelines

The Situation:

Terasen Pipelines is a subsidiary of Terasen Inc. located in Vancouver, Canada and is located in several provinces and U.S. states. In 2001 the company changed its headquarters to Calgary to be closer to the oil. With the big move, the company went through a growth spurt. With the company in many different locations and the growing numbers of employees, the HR department saw a need to find a new system to keep more accurate records.

The Response:

In the past Terasen had kept records on paper and with spreadsheets and with the growth of the company, this system does not work as well as in the past. In order to compensate for future growth, Terasen began to look into HRIS companies to help with the HR operations. After researching different companies, Hewitt’s application service provider model with eCyborg was found to be the right fit.

The Outcome:

Although there was difficulty adapting to a new way of recordkeeping, Terasen was able to find a system that will help support the current and future growth of the company. Fortunately, some of the HR staff had experience working with an HRIS and were able to help their colleagues imagine new processes, as aided by a system. One theme often voiced throughout this process was: “You guys don’t know how hard we’re working when we can make it so much easier with a system that could do a lot of this for us. You don’t always have to run to the cabinet for the employee file just to get basic information. It can all be at your fingertips.” (Vu, 2005). In order to help Terasen ease the HR burden of implementing a new HR system, the management of Terasen was convinced to look for a vendor to help implement and maintain a HRIS system. This system has helped Terasen better prepare for current and future growth.

Shaw’s Supermarkets

The Situation:

Shaw’s Supermarkets is the second largest supermarket chain in New England. With a workforce of 30,000 located at 180 stores throughout six states, Shaw’s HR staff is responsible for managing employees’ personal data. Their employee mix includes approximately 70 percent part-time employees, consisting of students, senior citizens, second-job part-timers, and career part-timers. One third of the workforce is made up of union associates, and Shaw’s staff oversees the company’s involvement with three unions and six separate contracts (Koven, 2002). In order to help manage the workforce, the HR staff became interested in centralizing its HR operations.

The Response:

In order to centralize HR operations Shaw’s decided to implement an ESS (employee self-service) solution. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information.

The Outcome:

Shaw’s has had positive feedback since implementing the ESS solution. “The reaction from our employees has been extremely positive,” Penney, VP of Compensation and Benefits, says. “We even had a significant increase in our medical coverage costs, and it was almost a non-issue because the online enrollment featured the plan choices, the employee cost, and the company subsidy. An employee self-service application makes it very easy for them to understand their contributions and coverage options. I received several e-mails from employees saying this was a great change and how easy ESS was, which the case is not often when employees are selecting their benefit options.” (Koven, 2002). By giving the employees more access to their information they are able to see the benefit choices available to them. Employees are also able to update their information online, which helps reduce the paperwork of the past. Shaw’s has also seen improvement in productivity because employees are updating information at home, not during work hours.

CS Stars, LLC

The Situation:

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State has reached its first settlement with a company charged with failing to notify consumers and others that their personal data had gone missing. Cuomo’s office, which enforces the state’s 2005 Information Security Breach and Notification Law, charged CS STARS LLC, a Chicago-based claims management company, with failing to give notice that it had lost track of a computer containing data on 540,000 New Yorkers’ workers’ comp claims.

The Response:

The owner of the lost data, which had been in the custody of CS STARS, was the New York Special Funds Conservation Committee, an organization that assists in providing workers’ comp benefits under the state’s workers’ comp law. On May 9, 2006, a CS STARS employee noticed that a computer was missing that held personal information, including the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of recipients of workers’ compensation benefits. But CS Stars waited until June 29, 2006, to notify Special Funds and the FBI of the security breach. Because the FBI declared that notice to consumers might impede its investigation, CS STARS waited until July 8, 2006, to send notices to the 540,000 New Yorkers affected by the breach. On July 25, 2006, the FBI determined an employee, of a cleaning contractor, had stolen the computer, and the missing computer was located and recovered. In addition, the FBI found that the data on the missing computer had not been improperly accessed.

The Outcome:

New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization. The law affects not only businesses in their dealings with their customers, but employers in their role as custodians of employees’ personal data. (Cadrain)

Without admitting to any violation of law, CS STARS agreed to comply with the law and ensure that proper notifications will be made in the event of any future breach. The company also agreed to implement more extensive practices relating to the security of private information. CS STARS will pay the Attorney General’s office $60,000 for costs related to this investigation. (Cadrain)

IBM

The Situation:

IBM’s paperless online enrollment system, introduced in 1999, has proved to be a winner for both the company’s 135,000 active U.S. employees and the company, according to Cathleen Donnelly, senior communications specialist at company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. The company saves $1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs alone, Donnelly says, and the employees’ can take advantage of a variety of technologies to learn about issues, research program information and access decision support tools from their desktop computers. (Heuring, 2002)

The Response:

One of those tools, a personal medical cost estimator, enables employees to calculate potential out-of-pocket health care expenses under each of the plan options available to them, Donnelly says. Employees log in personally and are greeted by name and with important information regarding their benefits enrollment, such as the deadlines and when changes take effect. They automatically get access to health plans that are available to them, and the calculator lets them compare estimated benefit amounts for each plan.

“Employees can select the health care services they expect to use in a particular year, estimate expected frequency of use, and calculate potential costs under each plan option,” Donnelly says. “The feedback that we’ve received from employees tells us that this tool has really helped them to make a comparison between plans based on how they consume medical services.” The calculator shows both IBM’s costs and the employee’s. (Heuring, 2002)

The Outcome:

“Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere.

Employees can get summary information on the plans, drill down into very specific details and follow links to the health care providers for research. Donnelly says the system has received high marks for convenience because employees can “get in and out quickly.”

WORKSource Inc.

The Situation:

To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic paystub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). These tools enabled CEO Judith Hahn to handling payroll procedures efficiently and effectively.

The Response:

WORKSource has eight workforce centers, with approximately 108 employees, located throughout a six-county region. Previously, payroll, benefits, and human resources for those employees were processed and managed by a Professional Employer Organization. The company also has 52 administrative staff in its headquarters office. When the contract with the PEO terminated on June 30, 2006, those 108 employees were immediately moved to the payroll of WORKSource, which meant Hahn’s workload more than doubled effective July 2006 (“Tips,” 2006).

Hahn, in an interview with PMR, said she relied on LEAN to help get a handle on what needed to change for her to manage the increased workload. Two years earlier, Hahn’s CEO had introduced her to LEAN, a Japanese management concept of eliminating wasteful steps and motion when completing processes. “I began to read as much as possible about LEAN and joined an HR LEAN focus group” (“Tips,” 2006).

The Outcome:

Mastering the concepts of LEAN led Hahn to develop and apply her own acronym of “REASON” to her department’s payroll and HR processes. Review the process: map payroll tasks from start to finish. Eliminate waste: determine how to complete a payroll task most efficiently without unnecessary steps. Analyze alternatives: research and evaluate the applicability of new technology. Sell innovations to management: document the return on investment of each innovation. Open the lines of communication: communicate openly—and often—with all stakeholders, including employees and top management. Never allow negativity: make change simple and fun. Give employees plenty of encouragement and time to learn (“Tips,” 2006). Judith Hahn was able to implement the right human resource functions using information systems.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc.

The Situation:

Lynda Morvik, director of benefits and human resources information systems at Tustin, California-based Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (TAMS), thought it would make sense to add a benefits communication component to it. By having all the benefit information online, the TAMS employee handbook would also be a living document, enabling Morvik to make changes when necessary. Such was the case halfway through the project, when TAMS changed health care plans from Aetna Inc. to United Health Group Inc (Wojcik, 2004).

The Response:

TAMS, an independent group company of Toshiba Corporation and a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRI, and information systems, had been using a payroll service bureau and an in-house solution for HR that didn’t include easy-to-use consolidated reporting or an employee portal. After evaluating UltiPro alongside several enterprise resource vendors, TAMS selected Ultimate Software’s offering and went live in September 2002 after an on-time and on-budget implementation. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004).

The Outcome:

In an effort to expand the usage of the Web beyond the benefits enrollment process, TAMS has posted a library of documents and forms on its HR portal, including the benefits handbook, which garnered a 2004 Apex Award for publication excellence. That same year, Business Insurance magazine also gave TAMS the Electronic Benefit Communication (EBC) award for outstanding achievement in communicating employee benefits programs over the Web. To continue elevating its use of Ultimate Software’s HRMS/payroll solution, TAMS modified the UltiPro portal to meet the imaging company’s unique needs (Wojcik, 2004). It was completely integrated with several proprietary applications created to address compensation and performance management issues so that TAMS employees have a central location for comprehensive workforce and payroll information from a Web browser that they can access with a single sign-on (Wojcik, 2004).

References

Byars, Lloyd L. & Rue, Leslie W. (2004). Human Resource Management, 7e. The McGraw-Hill Companies.

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Hagood, Wesley O. & Friedman, Lee ( 2002). Using the balanced scorecard to measure the performance of your HR information system. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 543-58. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

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Retrieved June 2, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.



Source by Steven Phillip Brown

How to Remove Skin Tags – It is Not Difficult

For many people skin tags appear on a regular basis on their body, and as people age, they may suddenly start developing them, and according to where they are located, they can be removed are left alone. How to remove skin tags is not difficult, especially if you can catch them when they’re very tiny.

There are several different methods you can use in order to remove skin tags that are very tiny. There are plenty of herbal concoctions on the market today similar to those that are used for warts. Just be careful, according to where the skin tag is, these herbal treatments can irritate the surrounding skin.

Also, if you can catch them when they’re very tiny less than a centimeter or a millimeter, you can use a pair toenail clippers or fingernail clippers. But make sure that you get the very base of the skin tag, otherwise, it may grow back. This is an easy way to do it, it will hurt but not much more than it does to pluck your eyebrows. Also, if you suspect that it’s going to be bleeding, you should discuss with your physician before you use this skin tag self removal method.

For those skin tags that are a bit larger, and some of them can become golf ball sized, you’re going to need your physician. There are several different methods your physician may use, and most skin tags are considered benign and noncancerous your health insurance may consider this an elective surgery, or it may be covered.

According to your physician they may use cauterization, cryosurgery, ligation, or excision. Whether they cauterize it with an electrolysis method, freeze it, cut off the blood supply, or actually remove it with a surgical instrument, you may or may not want anesthetic. It’s according to how bad the skin tag may bleed as well as the size. They do have nerves, especially at the base where they connect to your skin. If you’re concerned that all, make an appointment with your physician and discuss skin tag removal techniques so that you can use the one that’s going cause the least amount of pain, and also the smallest chance of infection.



Source by Alicia McWilliams

One More Article About Auto Insurance

What Is Auto Insurance?

Auto insurance is a product that is purchased and also that can pay for damages to your vehicle or others' vehicles in the event of a car accident or non-accident related harm. Each state has its laws regarding the amount of car insurance that each person should have to be able to drive legally. Many different factors influence auto insurance rates, as well. It does not even base on various companies; It is up to the insurance industry to determine what car insurance is and how much each person will pay for auto coverage.

What is car insurance? It seems like a very fundamental question. However, there are many different facets and elements to consider about car insurance that it can get complicated very fast if you're not prepared for what you're getting in. You need to know how rates are more calculated what types of coverage are available, how much coverage you need or can get, and which companies offer the best auto insurance for your needs.

What Does Auto Insurance Cover?

Auto insurance is used to protect you the individual or a business or organization from financial loss in regards to a motor vehicle. Financial loss can happen due to many reasons, and having auto insurance can cover your losses in a variety of ways.

Liability for Property Damages

Responsibility for property damages is coverage against damage you or a person driving your vehicle with your permission does to someone else's property. Costs can include the other vehicle, utility poles, fines, buildings, homes, businesses, or almost any type of structure your car comes into touching.

Collision

Collision coverage usually protects your vehicle from damages resulting from an accident with another vehicle, pothole, car flipping over, etc. Collision coverage will pay for repairing your vehicle, or if your vehicle has damaged the accident, it will refund you for the value of the car subtracting deductible and in many cases other costs.

AUTO INSURANCE IN THE USA

Auto insurance is a necessity, and this is amply evident from the fact that all states of the USA have made it mandatory to have car insurance on all vehicles. Most of the time, this appears to be aothersome exercise, but why to wait until you get involved in an accident to find out how taking an auto cover takes care of your assets and you. High medical expenses and lawsuits judgments on the rise make it worthwhile to protect yourself and your precious vehicle with car insurance.

Furthermore, all jurisdictions have made it compulsory to have two auto insurance systems – the no-fault system, and the Tort system. The former type of insurance favor in most states dictates that your insurance carrier will pay the damages claims no matter who caused the accident in reality. The amount payable is up to a specified limit, and if you are involved in an accident, your carrier is liable to pay for the injury. As against this, the Tort system the injured party will have to take care of the medical expenses from their packet and then claim it from the guilty driver's insurance carrier as recompense.

With the number of accidents and theft occurring broadly in the USA, it is essential for every auto owner to buy such an insurance coverage to secure both the vehicle as well as its owner in times of need.

In the USA if you want to have a car on the road you have to have auto insurance. Some states even have coverage minimums where you have to have a certain dollar amount of coverage; Usually, this is called primary coverage.

How To Get Better Auto Insurance In The USA

Auto insurance covers accident to a car. The insurance company pays for the financial loss to the owner in return for a small amount of money paid periodically. The amount paid annually is called premium, and the contract you draw up with the insurance company is known as the insurance policy. The insurance company allows you to hold the contract, and you become the policyholder.

Car insurance may not come cheap. However, under unforeseen circumstances of loss or damage to your vehicle, compensation will seem like a godsend. Periodically shelling out lumps of money for protecting your car or cars owned by your business, may look expensive. There could be a tendency to try and cut corners by availing the minimum motor insurance packages. However, even minor car damage is overly expensive; Therefore, a minimum package may not give you the intensive coverage at a time when you need it most.

Types Of Auto Insurance In the USA

The most common types of auto insurance available in the US are the Liability Insurance, Auto Collision and Comprehensive Insurance, Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection, and the Uninsured Motorists and Underinsured Motorists coverage. Most modern companies offer these.

Liability insurance cover pays for the damage you cause to others and their property. It pays for the legal expenses involved and for the expenditure for the victim going to the court claiming damages, within your liability limits. In a case of an accident, the costs of repairing your car are covered by the collision insurance. The comprehensive insurance covers damages caused by accidents other than car accidents, such as natural calamities, theft, fire, vandalism, and hitting an animal.

In a case of the insured person and the co-passenger needing medical treatment for bodily injury due to an accident, this is covered by the Medical Payments coverage. Personal Injury Protection will cover the medical expenses and the losses lost by you and the co-passenger if injured in the accident.

Why You Need Auto Insurance

The primary objective of any insurance is to protect the policyholder and his family against the consequences resulting from an unexpected injuries or death and financial burdens in the event of these shortcomings. It is a contract between the related insurance company and you, where you agree to pay the premium for the losses that the insurance company will need to cover in the event of accidents.

The auto insurance covers these three main areas:

Property coverage – refer to the damage or the theft of your car

Liability coverage – related to your legal responsibilities to others whom might in the cause of the property damage loss be incapacitated

Medical coverage – refers to the medical treatments, therapy charges, rehabilitation, lost in the ability to work, or even funeral expenses where there are faculties.

The Work Of Auto Insurance

The auto insurance also protects you from uninsured drivers or motorists. In this case, the uninsured motorists or drivers have no insurance company to pay you for the damage that had happened, but luckily you still have your insurance company to bear the losses.

Protect the bank which had provided the car loan to finance your vehicle. Because if there are any disaster happening to your vehicle, no one will be able to lend or provide any additional money to you to fix the car other than the auto insurance company. Otherwise, you will need to repair the damage made to the car by your own, and this would prevent you from paying for the periodic monthly loan on time. The consequences are that the bank will not lend you any more money in the future, with the bad credit standing which you are in at least for some considerable amount of time.



Source by Mike Heuer

How to Save Money and Get Discount Automobile Insurance in Alabama

You do not want to drive an automobile on any public roadway in Alabama without first purchasing auto insurance. If you get heard driving without insurance in Alabama the penalties are severe and the fines can reach into the hundreds of dollars before you're back on the road.

Rather than risk being sentenced without auto insurance why not look for ways to reduce how much do you have to spend to insure the vehicle you have?

If you're thinking about getting a new vehicle, check with your agent first. Not all new vehicles are created equal in the eyes of an insurance company. Get a list of the lest-costly-to-insure vehicles before you make your next purchase.

If you can keep your car in a garage at night let your agent know as this will affect how much you pay for your insurance.

Drive legally at all times. If you get even one speeding ticket or other moving violation you can not get about the best price on discount insurance for at least 3 years. If you are persuaded of a DWI or a DUI then forget about finding even a reasonable price for your insurance for several years.

If you retire and are no longer driving your car to work every day let your agent know. You'll get a good discount.

If you can use public transportation for the bulk of your "driving" needs and you can keep your actual mileage down to around 500 or fewer miles per month then you will be in for a rather hefty Low-Mileage savings on your auto insurance.

If you're under 25 you're automatically placed in a high-risk insurance category and you pay more for your car insurance. You can cut your rates somewhat if you are able to remain on your parents' policy and you can save even more on top of that if you stay in school and can keep up at least a "B" grade average so you qualify for a Good Student Discount.

Older drivers may qualify to take a special driver's refresher course. If your company offers such a discount and you pass the course you can save 10% a month on your insurance.

If you drive an older car that is not worth much you could save quite a bit of money each month if you dropped your comprehensive and collision coverage and used the savings to buy a new car.

Do not make small claims. Only use your insurance for a major accident and pay the small stuff from your own pocket. The longer you go without making a claim the less your insurance is going to cost you.

Increase your deductible if you can afford it. You need to be careful doing this because the amount you choose for your deductible is the amount you will have to come up with out of your own pocket any time you file a claim, but the larger you can make your deductible the less you will pay For your auto insurance.

Now go online and find at least 3 websites that let you compare the price of an automobile insurance policy between several different insurance companies. Using what you have learned from this article enter the same information into the form at at least 3 different comparison websites.

This way your comparisons will give you results that you can use, and all you need to do is to choose the company with the lowest price and you've done it! You've saved money and gotten discount auto insurance in Alabama and you'll be saving money month after month for a long time to come.



Source by Alexis Jensen

How To Fight The Rising Prices Showcased In Insurance News Year After Year

Car insurance news consistently reverts to the same old story, insurance policies are becoming more expensive year after year. As the cost of medical services continue to rise, so do insurance costs. Even the costs of vehicles continue to rise too. For this reason, it is likely that the cost of insurance will continue to rise for many years into the future. If you want to make your policy more affordable, you should take these steps to reduce the monthly premiums you are paying to maintain your policy.

Step 1 – Start shopping around. As soon as you start shopping around, you will see the great deals that are available in the marketplace today. Most companies sell very expensive policies, but some companies specialize in getting their customers unique discounts and low cost coverage.

Step 2 – Use websites that compare policies for you. These websites can be very useful, because they can compare hundreds of policies very quickly. By entering a small amount of information about yourself into these websites, you can acquire all of the quotes you need to find a great deal.

Step 3 – To decrease the cost of your coverage even further, you can use resources like insurance agents and insurance brokers. Agents and brokers can scan through their product inventories to help you find the best deals. After you have acquainted the best deals brokers and agents can offer, you will have a general sense of where the bottom of the market lies.

Step 4 – Search for special discounts. You may only be able to decrease the cost of your policy so much by staying within the standard limits of adjusting a policy, but by purchasing a policy offered by a company that provides special discounts, you can decrease the cost of your policy even further. You can maximize the value of the discounts providers offer by doing what you need to do to qualify for all of their discounts too.

Step 5 – Buy a new car. Some new cars can be insured for very low rates. If your new car also qualifies for many of the special discounts insurers give to customers who own safe cars, you will be able to save even more.

Step 6 – Move. If you can no longer afford the insurance coverage in your area, you may want to think about moving. If your insurance expenses are too much, your other expenses are probably too much as well. By moving, you can decrease the cost of your insurance expenses. If you move to the right state, you can decrease the cost of your insurance coverage by as much as 75%. Moving to get away from insurance expenses may seem like an over reaction, but as insurance news continues to report, the prices of policies are going to continue to rise.



Source by Ted Kripps

Reconstruction Costs

Have you done a major renovation to your home lately? If you have, it will likely affect the reconstruction costs associated with rebuilding your home and it is a recommended time for a conversation with your insurance professional. Remembering to regularly review your home coverage with an insurance professional is a good step towards maintaining a level of insurance adequate to rebuild your home, in case of disaster.

So why else do reconstruction costs differ from a home’s market value or even the cost of new construction? Reconstruction costs can be affected by a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Economies of Scale – When houses are originally built, it is usually a case of many homes being constructed at the same time. This means that materials and fixtures required for the builds can be purchased by the contractor in one transaction, and often at a bulk rate. Just as buying 50 or 100 bathtubs at the same time will cost less per unit than buying just one, you can apply the same economic benefit to buying almost anything else required for home construction in quantity as well. This can add up to thousands of dollars in savings when compared to single home builds.
  • Reverse Reconstruction – New construction almost always follows the pattern of establishing a foundation and building up from there. When reconstruction is required, and you need to rebuild a home that isn’t a total loss, you need to start by pulling off the roof and working from the top down. As this process is labour-intensive, and takes more time to accomplish, it is generally more expensive as well.
  • Site Preparation – When a home needs to be reconstructed, the site it sits on needs to prepared before any new construction can proceed. This usually means additional costs for demolition of any remaining (unusable) structure and removal of the resulting debris. In cases of intense fire, soil remediation may be required as well. In new construction projects, site preparation is usually limited to costs for brush removal and grading.
  • Labour Costs – Having tradespeople such as carpenters, brick layers, drywallers, electricians, plumbers, roofers, and painters all onsite for an extended period of time can aid in scheduling and efficient usage. If a particular home isn’t ready for work requiring their specific expertise, they can probably be moved to work on a home that is. This flexibility in scheduling is not usually possible when working on a single home, and has a huge impact on overall costs when you consider that labour is one of the largest components of reconstruction costs.
  • Accessibility – Reconstruction of a destroyed home is often required in established neighbourhoods with mature trees, lawns, landscaping, and fences. These and other obstructions may limit access to the worksite and thereby increase costs in getting needed reconstruction materials to the worksite.
  • Older and Custom Homes – Reconstruction of older or custom homes generally must include the replacement of features and finishes which are considered unusual when compared to more conventional homes. Whether the reconstruction materials are scarce due to age or classified as “high-end,” the expectation is that they will be more expensive to replace. Some examples of expensive to replace home elements can include tile or slate roofs or floors; lath and plaster walls; wainscoting; ceilings covered in tin, with exposed beams, or custom-shaped; solid wood doors; ornamental fireplaces; leaded or stained glass windows; shaped staircases; and custom ironwork.
  • Updated Building Codes – In cases when houses are more than a few years old, it should be the normal expectation that building codes will have changed since the home was originally built. Adhering to newer codes may require rewiring, replumbing, use of safety glass, or working with fire-retardant roofing materials.
  • Natural Disasters – If your home was damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster, it is likely that other homes in your area similarly have to be repaired or rebuilt. In this case, it is not uncommon for material and labour costs to be higher due to shortages and increased demand for both.
  • Partial Damage – If your home was only damaged and not destroyed, the remaining structure must be protected from looting and the prospect of further damage. In usual cases, personal property must be placed in storage offsite until the home can be repaired. To prevent further damage, plastic sheeting material is usually used to temporarily cover parts of the remaining structure exposed to the elements.
  • Permits and Fees – Reconstruction may require permits, home inspection fees, and architecture/engineering fees.
  • Inflation – It’s no secret that costs for both materials and labour continue to rise due to inflation. Depending on when the reconstruction cost of your home was originally estimated, it may cost more to complete the project today.

For the reasons outlined above, reconstruction costs can differ significantly from market value and the cost of new construction. Be properly prepared for a disaster by regularly reviewing your coverage with an insurance professional. Remember, the adequacy of your home insurance coverage depends upon accurate information about your home’s size, location, age, unusual features, and finishes as well as specifics regarding any renovations or additions. The more fully you disclose the relevant information about your home, the more fully your coverage can protect you in case of a disaster.



Source by Tom Lum