1 Insurance industry covers $21bn losses for natural disasters this year (Sean Farrell in The Guardian) The global insurance industry covered $21bn of losses from disasters in the first half of 2014 as fewer natural catastrophes kept claims below their long-term average.
The total economic cost of disasters in the first six months was $44bn of which natural events made up $41bn, figures from Swiss Re, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, showed. More than 4,700 people were killed by natural disasters during the period. The figure for overall economic costs was down from $59bn a year ago and was less than half the first-half average of $94bn in the last decade.
The $21bn total bill for insurance companies fell from $25bn in the first half of last year and a 10-year average of $27bn. Natural disasters made up $19bn of costs in the first six months of 2014 with manmade events accounting for another $2bn. Insurance losses hit a record of $116bn in 2011 with most of the losses in the first half when the Japanese earthquake cost the industry $35bn.
2 Religion, power and the Arab revolution (Mustafa Al Zarooni in Khaleej Times) Radical thought and extremist actions have plunged some nations and people into the abyss and are an impediment to their progress. The trend doesn’t confine itself to religion. This ‘thoughtful backwardness’ is repugnant and makes society stuck where it is. It rejects the views of others, something that the West too has suffered and has tried to eliminate so it can live in peace.
History takes us back to the authoritarian control of the Church on all aspects of life in Europe: waging wars and killing the innocent in the name of religion. This caused European nations to grope in the darkness of backwardness. Eventually, the suppressed people revolted against the domination of the Church and shunned it.
Hitler’ racist ideas also sparked worldwide revulsion; alliances were forged to unseat him and eradicate his Nazi regime during the Second World War, after which the new world map as it appears now was drawn. The current Muslim World is in the same boat of that of the Europe of yore. It also suffers in its efforts to convey tolerance that enshrines Islam, which is now being viewed as a religion that glorifies war, killing and extremism.
Muslims, who constitute 23 per cent of the world population, are perceived in negative light, their backwardness showcased and their achievements not getting pride of place in societies. Extremist groups have lured and dragged many youth into their cobweb of narrow thinking. Taboos and bigotry are the norm. Their science and knowledge is only what they write and preach.
Despite their despicable actions, religion and doctrine should remain solid-rock in our hearts. We should live by the complete code of life and shun repression and violence, which they use in their train of thought. Power can be usurped from the naïveté of a few using religion as a garb. Faith in religion is infinite; it preaches and calls for tolerance, love and ethics.
The new Arab revolution of hearts and minds will be against all forms of extremism preached and practised by the likes of ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood. Peace will get its chance; it will prevail.
3 Five skills for a great boss (Belo Cipriani in San Francisco Chronicle) While some people are natural leaders, without self-reflection and practicing good supervision techniques, their innate abilities may never blossom into great managerial traits. Here are five tips to being an effective, amazing boss.
Get to know your team. Don’t pry into your staff’s personal lives. Do let them voice their opinions on projects or process. Whether they share their creative ideas or vent about a client, giving them the space to be open will help you identify strengths and weaknesses.
Give feedback. While it’s not always possible to give someone feedback on every project they complete, the more you do it, the more consistent the employee will become. Even if it’s tips for improvement, employees would rather know if something was done poorly right away than to wait months to hear about it during a review.
Reward great work. People love to be praised and the more we get it, the more we want it. So if someone on your team does a stellar job, try buying their next cup of coffee or treating them to lunch. The more you reward great work, the more you will get it.
Build trust. It’s important for employees to feel like they can trust their boss. So, aside from having an open door policy and reminding your team they can speak with you about anything at any time, try giving your team company updates as they become available. By being completely transparent with them, you will gain their trust.
Create synergy within your team. It may not be possible for everyone on your team to be buddies, but it is important to create positive experiences among them to help build synergy. A happy team is a productive one. Addressing misunderstandings or tension immediately will help you earn your team’s respect.