Tuesday, March 29, 2011

aia - insurance payout accepted and received

here is aia's response to mr lim teck seng's letter of march 24, 2011:

Mar 30, 2011
Insurance payout accepted and received

WE OFFER our sincere condolences again to Mr Lim Teck Seng whose mother died last year ("Insurance payout fell short of expectations"; last Thursday).

We have been communicating with Mr Lim since July last year and had conducted further investigations into his concerns. Mr Lim has since accepted and received the payout from the policy.

Our financial services consultants go through a comprehensive training programme to provide customers recommendations on the most appropriate plans based on information available at the time of purchase.

At the point of sale, customers are provided with a benefit illustration and product summary. Upon receipt of the policy contract, they also have a 14-day free-look period to review their policy and decide whether it is suitable to meet their needs.

We encourage customers to periodically review their policies to ensure that they remain adequately covered as their financial needs and circumstances change.

We thank Mr Lim for his feedback.

Malcolm Koh
Head of Customer Service

and this is mr lim teck seng's letter:

ST Forum
24 Mar 2011

Insurance payout fell short of expectations

WHEN I started working 16 years ago, I sought advice from an AIA insurance agent to propose a plan for my 50-year-old mother. My aim was simple and conveyed to her plainly: I wanted a payout of $20,000 in the event of my mother's death. She returned with a plan that I serviced diligently until my mother died in July last year.

When I submitted a claim, I was shocked to find out that the payout was only $6,500, and with bonuses, totalled $9,000. I found out that of the $20,000 coverage, $13,500 was a term rider that expired on the 10th year of the policy while the $6,500 that I received was the endowment plan which attracted bonuses.

Together with some yearly payouts, I got a total of $12,000, which I felt was unfair as I had paid about $11,000 in premiums over the past 16 years.

AIA addressed my queries with a caveat emptor (buyer beware) reply and also stated that there was a 14-day free look-in period if I had wanted to make changes or withdraw from the policy.

The fact remains that AIA's agent did not design the plan according to my needs. Rather than offering standard replies, AIA should have taken more effort to address a problem that was not of my making.

Lim Teck Seng

tokio marine life insurance singapore

here is an important statement from mr david beynon, the ceo of tokio marine life insurance singapore which we have just received:

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami
CEO Message

Singapore, 22nd March 2011 – As you are, of course, aware, on March 11, Japan
suffered its worst ever 9-point earthquake which then triggered the devastating
Tsunami. I feel sure that we all share the deepest sympathy and concern for the
unfortunate people affected.
Staff and Agents of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. (TMLS), along with
all other companies in the Tokio Marine group worldwide, have begun to donate
funds to try to help as much as we can. The Singapore Red Cross Society has also
appealed to the public.
It has come to our attention, though, that some questions have been raised with
regard to the implications on our Singapore business and we need to clarify the
situation to put any concerns to rest.
Firstly, then, to explain the situation in Japan. The Tokio Marine Group is one of the
largest non-life insurer in Japan and, as such, is operating on a “business as usual”
basis. They will expedite claims as quickly and efficiently as possible. This will, of
course, include residential property damage but as, unfortunately, earthquakes are,
of course, very frequent there, the Japanese government retains part of the risk
themselves within their Government pooling scheme. Individual insurers are
therefore, less affected. There will, of course be commercial property claims,
although Earthquake Insurance is not part of standard coverage. Earthquake risk
exposure only represents a tiny 3.2% of the Tokio Marine portfolio. We are confident
that our parent company’s financial soundness, backed by ample reserves and
capital will enable all claims to be met without affecting the solidarity of the company.

As to Singapore, as stated in the CEO’s message on our website
http://www.tokiomarine-life.sg/news, “I need to reassure you that this will have no
effect whatsoever on TMLS. The Tokio Marine Group are the majority shareholder of
our company but we are totally independent of them, financially. We are in exactly
the same very strong financial shape as we were before the tragic events of that
terrible Friday”.

We are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, who, at all times, ensure
that all local insurers (of whom Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore is one) are
fully reserved and financially able to support policy obligations here. The Insurance
Act (Chapter 142 – Section 16, 17 and 18) ensures that all insurers maintain
statutory insurance funds which are segregated from its head office and other
shareholders' fund. Within these funds, insurers must maintain sufficient assets to
meet all its liabilities to policyholders. As such, these funds remain separate and
protected and can only be used if attributable to our life insurance business. Tokio
Marine Life Insurance’s Risk Based Capital rating (an MAS measure of financial
strength) is amongst the highest in Singapore. None of our policyholders’ funds are
invested directly or indirectly in Japan.

my comments:

the tragic event in japan of march 11, 2011 has not altered my belief in the sound financial standing of tokio marine life insurance singapore and i'll continue to recommend tokio marine life insurance singapore's products, based on what i firmly believe in their value-add propositiona to my clientele.

Monday, March 28, 2011

home, sweet home!

it's good to be back in singapore after having spent the last week and a half overseas. and boy, the emails have been piling up, totalling some 900 plus or an average of 100 plus a day just from my yahoo mailbox alone. i will have lots to catch up and get up to speed. but it's definitely good to be back home again.

please allow me to tender my sincere apologies to everyone who has been trying to reach me by emails, snailmails, smses and phone calls during my absence from our tiny red dot nation.

but i'm not back in circulation, fresh and all charged-up.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

ban ineffective screening tests

the following is a letter in the online st forum:

Mar 19, 2011
Ban ineffective screening tests
I REFER to the reply from the Ministry of Health ("Why Medisave can't be used for all screening tests"; Thursday) to Mr Arthur Lim's letter ("Allow use of Medisave for more screening tests"; Monday).

In the name of medical ethics, the Ministry of Health should perhaps consider a ban on tests that are of questionable effectiveness when used as screening tools.

Going by the phenomenal growth of some medical centres, and the increasing complexity of some packages they offer, medical providers must be doing a roaring business.

With some packages costing as much as $9,000, could it be that a large proportion of tests in the packages are probably not recommended as screening tools? And if they are, why are they even allowed to be there? Shouldn't the public be protected from such practices?

Stephen Tan

Thursday, March 17, 2011

why medisave can't be used for all screening tests

a response to mr arthur lim's letter from the ministry of health in today's st forum:

Mar 17, 2011
Why Medisave can't be used for all screening tests

MR ARTHUR Lim suggested that we allow use of Medisave to cover all cancer screening and tests to detect heart disease ('Allow use of Medisave for more screening tests'; Monday).

There are many such tests, and their effectiveness is not uniform. The Academy of Medicine Singapore recently made a thorough study and recommended the relevant tests for most people. Readers should refer to its report.

Not all cancer screening tests and tests for heart disease are recommended.

Our Medisave policy is based on its recommendations.

Julie Sim (Ms)
Deputy Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health

my comments:

with reference to mr arthur lim's call to cover all cancer screening and tests to detect heart disease, please allow me to cite our health minister, mr khaw boon wan:

"The question is what kind of health screening? There is a wide range of health screening tests, not all are fully justified or necessary. More screening is not necessarily better. :Some accrue benefits more to the provider than the consumer. A mindless liberalization of Medisave for health screening may not improve health outcomes, but instead prematurely deplete Medisave balances."

higher premium option won't work

the following letter is published in today's forum page of the straits times:

Mar 17, 2011
Higher premium option won't work

THERE are practical difficulties to Mr Tan Kin Lian's suggestion ('Remove uncertain component of means testing in MediShield use'; March 8) which advocates getting policyholders to 'pay a slightly higher premium to be excluded from (being subjected to) this pro-ration formula'.

First, policyholders may not agree to the higher premium. Second, whether the premium will really be only 'slightly higher' will depend on the take-up rate of this proposed variation in MediShield policy.

In fact, as pointed out by Mr Tan, the current system is already designed to provide this variation through private integrated Shield plans. Those who are well-off and will face means testing can purchase these plans to protect against this uncertainty.

Under our current approach, all policyholders of the same age band and gender pay the same premiums and receive the same MediShield payouts for identical hospitalisation treatment. This is achieved through pro-rating. It is the fairest approach.

If there is no pro-rating, the few patients who receive lower subsidies due to their higher income would end up getting higher MediShield payouts. The extra payouts would then be funded by the majority of the subsidised patients who are less well-off.

Julie Sim (Ms)
Deputy Director
Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health

my comments:

the premiums for the basic medishield plan has never been raised for many years since it's inception in July 1990.

but this record has been broken with the price increase effected on december 01, 2008 after enhancements to the medishield plan, primarily increasing the payouts of up to 80% of large Class B2 and Class C bills, up from 60% previously.

the new premiums are most particularly 'felt' for those who are in the older age bands, for example, for ages 84 to 85, the new premium payable is now $1,123.00 from just $705.00 previously.

because of this, Integrated Shield Plan policyholders who are below 81 years old (age next birthday) can continue to use Medisave to pay premiums, up to the withdrawal limit of $800 per insured person, per policy year. but for those 81 years old (age next birthday) and above, the withdrawal limit for premiums will be increased to $1,150 per insured person, per policy year from 1 December 2008.

therefore, i am in agreement with the ministry of health not to go for the option of higher premium.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

insurers: nuclear risks not covered

today, there is a statement issued by the general insurance association of singapore:


Singapore, March 15, 2011
Release: Immediate

The General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) notes that there
have been instances of consumers purchasing travel insurance to locations
where natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis have occurred.
In view of this, the Association wishes to advise members of the public to
fully understand their travel policy's terms and conditions, including the
scope of the cover and the list of exclusions where applicable. More than 25
insurers offer travel insurance products in Singapore, making it highly
affordable and accessible, with varying benefits being available from one
insurer to another.

As a result of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, consumers
deciding on a travel policy should check carefully if it covers losses, bodily
injury, flight delays as well as trip cancellation, flight postponement and / or
diversion due to natural disasters. Consumers should examine their policy
terms and conditions to find out if an administrative charge is imposed
should they wish to cancel their travel policy and seek a refund of premiums

Consumers should also note that all travel insurance policies carry a total
exclusion on nuclear risks and the cover excludes any loss, damage, illness
directly or indirectly arising from the existence or escape of nuclear, ionizing
radiation, contamination by radioactivity from nuclear fuel.
GIA encourages all consumers to seek clarification directly with their
insurance company if they have any doubts on their existing travel
insurance plans and policies. They are advised to contact or approach the
insurers who stand ready to address customer queries and concerns on
their travel cover as a result of the recent events.

my comments:

in taking up travel policies, some of my clients may have been confused with the benefit of terrorism coverage which may include nuclear, biological and chemical events. but this is only applicable to any acts of terrorism and i quote from one insurer's policy document:

“Act of Terrorism” shall mean an act, including but not limited to the use of force or violence and/or threat thereof, of any person or group(s) of persons, whether acting alone or on behalf of or in connection with any organization(s) or government(s), committed for political, religious, ideological or similar purposes or reasons including the intention to influence any government and/or to put the public or any section of the public in fear.
“Any One Event” shall include all insured losses which arise directly from the same cause and which occur during the same period of time and in the same area. Such cause is understood to be the Act of Terrorism which directly occasions the losses or triggered the chain of causation where there are several perils, which in an unbroken chain of causation, have occasioned the losses."

i hope the above clarifies but i suspect there will be many claims put-in through trip cancellations and curtailment for Japan since the disaster struck.

and because the unexpected can happen anytime, anywhere, everyone should never leave on any trip without a travel insurance policy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

tokio marine life insurance singapore

the following is an important announcement from david beynon, ceo of tokio marine life insurance singapore:

Dear FA Partners,

I’m sure we have all been shocked and horrified by the horrendous catastrophe that occurred in Japan last Friday and the continued terrible events that unfolded over the weekend. I’m also sure that your sympathy and concern for the poor people of Japan will be as deep as mine.

I wanted to write to you, though, to offer some comments on the business implications of these terrible events.

As the largest Non-Life Insurer in Japan, Tokio Marine is, of course, gearing up for what is to be expected to be a very significant volume of claims there.

I need to reassure you, though, that this will have no effect whatsoever on Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore. The Tokio Marine Group are the majority shareholder of our company but we are totally independent of them, financially. We are in exactly the same very strong financial shape as we were before the tragic events of last Friday.

We are in constant contact with our friends and colleagues in Japan and as at this moment, thank goodness, we have no indication that any of them were harmed.

Please help to disseminate this information to your associates.

David Beynon
Chief Executive Officer
Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore

Saturday, March 12, 2011

tokio marine life insurance singapore

after the tragic event of the mega 9.0 earthquake triggering the tsunami hitting japan, perhaps it is only natural for consumers here to have concerns (other than humanitarian) as in this email which i received:


after what happened in japan, should i even consider buying insurance from tokio marine life insurance singapore?

ms lim

my comments:

yes, we can all empathise and pray for japan and her people and do what we can to help this nation and the many thousands of lives impacted by the natural disasters of march 11, 2011.

as to your query, the parent company of tokio marine life insurance singapore being the tokio marine group which is one of the largest non-life insurers in japan, there will be commercial property claims but earthquake insurance is not standard coverage and therefore, the exposure represents a tiny percentage of the tokio marine portfolio.

financially, tokio marine life insurance singapore is totally independent of the tokio marine group and is regulated by the monetary authority of singapore. furthermore, our insurance act ensures that all insurers have sufficient assets to meet all liabilities to their policyholders.

therefore, consumers here should rest assured that buying a life policy here from tokio marine life insurance singapore or any other insurance company comes with the full protection accorded to them through our laws and regulations.

i hope i have addressed your concerns and thanks for visiting and supporting my blog.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

read up on life insurance options

the following letter is posted in the online stforum of the straits times:

Mar 10, 2011
Read up on life insurance options

WHILE the majority of Singaporeans own life insurance policies, most of them are not aware that the policyholder has the right to transfer and sell his policies.

Insurance policies are discontinued for various reasons, and although the rate of surrender is low, it is by no means insignificant.

Policyholders have the right to know their full options. The ownership of a life insurance policy can be assigned to relatives, friends, any third party or entity.

An endowment policy which has lapsed with outstanding dues may have value in the secondary market.

I encourage consumers to take a more proactive role in their financial matters. Abundant educational resources are readily available online.

Micky Neo

yes, i agree with mr micky neo that consumers here should raise their financial quotient by being more proactive in their financial matters. and yes, there are abundant resources readily available online but one caveat here, do not place reliance on what u read because these may at best be half-truths or worst, merely opinions expressed by the authors/forumers in the guise of pushing their own agendas.

if in doubt, u should seek a second or even third opionion, engaging a professional financial adviser. and last but not least, always do take heed of this time honoured warning, caveat emptor.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CAD wrapping up profitable plots probe

a reader (who chose to remain anonymous) wrote in with this email query:


of late, one landbanking company has been in the news and i wish to inquire whether profitable plots is in your stable of product providers?


mr lim

my comments:

thanks for your query even though u chose to remain anonymous.

for the record, promiseland independent does not even begin to explore to do business with any product provider that is not regulated by the monetary authority of singapore. and in it's website, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it doesn't regulate land-banking investments because these "typically involve investors acquiring direct interests in real estate rather than securities related to real estate."
and furthermore, agents selling products for land-banking companies currently do not require a licence by the authorities to practise.

beyond this, we are always guided by the principle of being prudent in choosing whom to include in our stable of product providers.

i hope i have addressed your query and thanks for visiting and supporting my blog.

God Bless.

Monday, March 7, 2011

stumped by low medishield payout

the following letter is published in the forum page in today's edition of the straits times:

Mar 7, 2011
Stumped by low MediShield payout

MY FATHER was hospitalised thrice in January - once at the Singapore General Hospital and twice at the National University Hospital (NUH).

When we received the bill for his first stay at NUH, I was surprised to note that though his payable amount was $2,300 - after a government subsidy for staying in C class - his MediShield claim was only $450.

I understand that there is a deductible of $1,000 and co-insurance of 20 per cent but even then, it does not work out to the $450 paid by MediShield.

The second bill came soon after and it was $2,200. Since we had paid a deductible, which was applicable for one calendar year, I expected the MediShield payout to be higher. But it was only $900.

I called the NUH billing department about it but they had no clue and advised me to call the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, which told me the amount to be calculated for the MediShield claim was not the full $2,300 submitted by NUH, but a sum after 'pro-ration', which came to $1,500.

I asked what this 'pro-ration' was and I was told it was calculated through means testing and for further details, I should call NUH.

I called the NUH patient service department and was told they would check with the CPF Board and get back to me. But, till now, no one has responded.

Who should I call now?

I wish such matters could be made more simple and transparent. A check on both the CPF Board and Ministry of Health websites has left me none the wiser.

Goh Poh Kheng (Ms)

my comments:

yes, it can be clearly puzzling from the writer's experience to find out that the 'maths' does not add up in terms of what is the actual payout by medishield after working out the deductible and co-insurance. but throw in the 'pro-ration' factor and the claimable amount came in even lower than expected. and the cpf board's answer to this is the calculation was derived through means testing and ms goh was told to call nuh. she did so and was told they would check with the cpf board and revert to her.

which leads us to her letter for which no further answers have been shed (so far).

i can understand her situation as many of my clientele who are on aviva myshield and myshield plus option a (without the option b rider covering the deductible) can be said to be 'clueless' when it comes to actual claims. but here, the 'maths' is more straigtforward as all of the myshield plans come with 'as-charged' benefits and the only unclaimable portion should be the deductible as the myshield plus option b rider has not been taken up.

even though the deductible is usually capped at the maximim of $3,000.00*, there has been a lot of unhppiness with the claims' experience of my clientele who clearly cannot and probably will not remember that the deductible portion will not be reimbursed to them, as they have not taken up the myshield plus option b rider.

*annual deductible will be increased by 50% for any insured person above 80 years old at age next birthday.

my delimma may be somewhat similar to ms goh because on the one hand, my advice is clear to my clientele and in their interests and yet, i'm always at the receiving end of what i believe to be unjustified venting and frustrations of my clientele on me.

sigh, am i in the wrong business?

Friday, March 4, 2011

the 'inheritance' scam is back

there is an article in today (free tabloid newspaper) warning of the infamous 'inheritance' scam but this time, the email scam carries the ministry of finance address, website and even our finance minister, mr tharman shanmugaratnam's photo to lend a huge dose of credibility to the scam.

the email said 'beneficiaries' should contact a dr. ronald zhuang, head of a bogus 'inheritance transfer section' in the singapore embassy in washington, dc with the email address given as; embassyofsingapore@washington.usa.com, which makes the scam pretty 'official' for those who intend to respond to the purported inheritance.

my comments:

for those who do their homework or in the know should already have noticed that singapore embassies use the sgfma.gov.sg domain and therefore, this 'inheritance' deal cannot be what it is supposed to be.

and that's why i am proud to be part of the management team of promiseland independent where jointly, we (the other directors and our managing director, mr david choo) are like goal-keepers (for want of a better description) in terms of who we sign up to be our product providers. and one guiding principle has and will always be the test of:

" if it is too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true!"


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ms kylie tan

please allow me to share an important announcement:

Dear Advisors & Colleagues,

This is to inform you that Ms Kylie Tan has joined us as Business Development Associate Director with effect from today.

In addition to her contract as FA Representative and Broker, Kylie has also entered into a Contract for Service for Group Employee Benefits (GEB) i.e. her role will be assisting selected FA Representatives in the servicing of their GEB portfolio including claims handling.

For your information.


Perry Tan
Director, General Insurance Division
PromiseLand Independent Pte Ltd
371 Beach Rd Keypoint
#02-03 S'pore 199597
TEL: 6505 4109
FAX: 6294 1336

my comments:

it gives me great pleasure to announce and welcome ms kylie tan to promiseland independent who is appointed as our business development associate director from today.

i know kylie personally before she joined us and i am certainly impressed with both her integrity and personal mission to reach out to families especially those whose children has been born with congenital anomalies or birth and inherited defects.

kylie also brings with her, a wealth of experience in claims from a vast range of healthcare products as well as group employee benefits.

promiseland independeent is blessed to have kylie on board and we look forward to enhancing our clientele's financial freedom as well as enriching our advisers' role in our collective aim to be the trusted adviser of choice in the financial industry long into the future, with God's grace of course.