Classifying HR, not actuarial or underwriting, as specialist division 'arbitrary, absurd': GIC

Chennai, Feb 28 (IANS): National re-insurer General Insurance Corporation of India Ltd's (GIC Re) classification of its human resource (HR), legal, and information technology (IT) departments as "specialist" sets a bad precedent for all public sector units, a top official of GIC Officers Association (GICOA) said.

"If at all a re-insurer has to classify its departments as specialist ones, then re-insurance, actuarial, and underwriting departments - the primary and critical operations for the company’s profitability - qualify for that and not support functions like the HR, legal, or IT," GICOA General Secretary Sumit Kumar told IANS.

"Classifying non-core activities of a re-insurer as a specialist function and having a different promotion policy is a sure way to send out talent and ultimately kill the listed GIC Re," he claimed.

According to him, the company had, on February 12, circulated its HR Policy whereby it is trying to establish the "HR Team" as a distinct entity within GIC Re.

"HR (Department) has clandestinely utilised its proximity with the management consultant and carved out a separate promotion policy for themselves. Since they cannot function without IT support, the same policy has been extended to IT as well. This is atrocious,” Kumar said in a letter to GIC Re Chairman and Managing Director, Ramaswamy N.

"When 'Teamwork is dreamwork' and always en vogue, our management is taking us backward to medieval times. The culture of the Corporation has always tried its level best to deglamourise any particular department and always considered GIC Re as one body with different parts which equally contribute towards the profitability of the corporation," he said in his letter.

"Under the name of Project Parivartan, implemented under the consultancy of KPMG, this autocratic directive (HR Policy) will elevate the entire HR team to a pedestal at the cost of other departments. Kindly let us know if any other organisation in the public sector has implemented the said policy indicating the separate streams of promotion for different departments.

"Remarkably, this autocratic policy represents an unprecedented move within any PSU organisations, positioning the HR team akin to a dominating force reminiscent of the 'East India Company' and their motto 'Divide and Rule'," the letter read.

Kumar said, the policy's formulation reveals a clear bias, with the entire HR machinery evidently driven by their personal agendas, as evident throughout the document and not for the benefit of GIC Re and 'GICians'.

Noting that this "clause of the so-called specialist was neither disclosed nor discussed in the KPMG Presentations with employees", his letter went on to question the decision to withhold the information about this policy during the Parivartan launch. "We demand transparency on this matter."

"Provide a comprehensive clarification on the rationale behind designating HR, Legal and IT as specialised departments whereas the corporation is heavily reliant on re-insurance, investment, and business accounts depts. We contend that the corporation business is derived through all the departments of the corporation and not only with the skills of support departments (specialised departments).

"Illuminate whether similar categorisations are evident in our peer PSGICs (public sector general insurance companies)/banking/any DFS (Department of Financial Services) controlled organisations or any other PSUs controlled by GOI (Government of India)."

Demanding a complete transfer of all the HR department officers and drafting of a new HR Policy, Kumar said if this is not done, the GICOA will be left with no other option apart from intensive industrial relations action, escalating the issue to the Board and the DFS, and taking any legal recourse.

“Remember, 'A house divided against itself cannot stand' and if this policy is implemented, it will be a disaster. This is bound to kill the morale of all employees of GIC Re," Kumar cautioned Ramswamy.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at



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Title: Classifying HR, not actuarial or underwriting, as specialist division 'arbitrary, absurd': GIC

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