Tuesday, February 28, 2012

the customer is always right?

just last week, an existing client called me (late at night) to inquire whether a claim can be submittted for a very minor injury sustained to one of the limbs in the course of work.

my client took up 2 policies from me, an integrated shield plan and a term plan with critical illness coverage.

based on what my client told me, my response was that none of the existing in-force policies provide coverage for the very minor injury sustained, but i can put in the claim nonetheless.

on hearing this, my client turned abusive and treated me to both verbal abuse and harasssment.

in addition, my client issued a clear threat to report me for being, in the words of my client; a lousy adviser.

my comments:

whenver i sit with any prospect/existing client, my advise is usually pretty comprehensive (after the mandatory financial needs analysis or fact finding) but the reality or the truth is, the person sitting in front of me will eitther plead affordability or budgetary constraints in taking up my recommendations.

it is the same story with this client and i believe i have done my utmost for the latter who is basically no different from any other person who reacts similarly when told a claim cannot be admitted even though they have no benefit/coverage in their existing insurance policies.

but this is a risk i have to face in my role as a financial adviser because no one client is alike.

Monday, February 27, 2012

what is testing?

by now, i believe many of my newer blog readers must be wondering what is 'testing' in my daily blog entry? this is my way of reserving the daily slot for my blog in case i can fill in the entry a day or days later.

and recently, some of my more regular blog readers have emailed me to register their disappointment with so many of my blog entries with nothing more than just one word, 'testing'.

my comments:

please accept my sincere apologies for not being able to blog for what seems like eternity to me at least because of the mountains of work piled up in front of me since prior to the chinese new year holidays.

this year saw the kick-off of the implementation of the cka*. coupled to this is the monetary authority of singapore's requirement of the 2D, or due dilgence on companies and products.

*From Jan 2012, as part of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s initiatives to provide trading safeguards to retail investors, brokers must assess if investors have the relevant knowledge and experience before they can invest using Specified Investment Products.

i have to conduct a class on new advisers joining us after july 31, 2011 to get them up to speed on complying to this new regulation which has been scheduled for early march 2012.

in addition, i have to take new advisers through our company's new adviser development program. on top of all these, last monday's compulsory monthly business meeting and this monday's life insurance meeting have taken a huge toll on my daily schedule.

next, i have to compile a comprehensive list of all insurance products in singapore which is an ongoing exercise executed half yearly.

and the work goes on and on and on...

not to worry, i have not lost my passion for the industry, and my role in promiseland independent and of course, blogging here.

to kick-off my blogging again, i have posted one dated february 15 which saw the launch of ntuc-income i-term TAN4.

so stay tuned.......

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ntuc-income - launch of new i-Term TAN4

here's some exciting news for consumers. ntuc-income has launched the new i-term TAN4 which is the re-priced version of the previous i-Term TAN2.

what is i-Term TAN4?

this is a non-participating regular premium plain vanilla term plan with coverage for death/total & permanent disability and terminal illness.

some details on the product:

entry age is pretty encompasing from age 0 to age 70 (last birthday).
term of coverage from a minimum of 5 years and from 5 years to 35 years or till age 54, 59, 64 last birthday.
Renewability – Upon expiry of the policy term, the policy will be renewed automatically without further underwriting. The premium payable upon renewal will be based on the prevailing age of the life insured, the prevailing premium rates and the policy term chosen at the time of renewal.
The policy can be renewed up to age 84 (previously age 79) only.

my comments:

one obvious question to ask: how does the new i-Term TAN4 sit amongst the competition?
answer: there has been a hefty cut in the re-pricing of premiums and generally, i-Term TAN4 is one of the most competitively priced term products currently available.

For example, the current pricing is just $180.85 (i-Term TAN4) versus $446.25 from another insurer.

note: the pricing for i-Term TAN2 was $245.20 or 36% higher.

Profile: Female, ALB 25 Years, Non-Smoker for sum assured of $500,000.00 and term of 10 years. That’s a hefty difference of $265.40 or 147% higher!

with the current inflation rate coming in at close to 5%, isn't it good to know that term rates have come down significantly and kudos to ntuc-income to continue to deliver on it's role as a co-operative insurer.

in fact, ntuc-income has embarked on a massive advertising compaign to inform consumers that everyone can afford to take up basic and essential insurance in the form of an integrated shield plan and term assurance.

the ntuc-income ads rightly dispels the myth that insurance is unaffordable because it only cost a mere 75 cents daily for a male, age 30 years, non-smoker to take up an i-term TAN4 plan with a sum assured of $250,000 (term of 5 years) and an enhanced incomeshield basic plan.

bearing in mind that the majority of the indigenious working population are cpf members, the total cash outlay for the same profile to take up the i-term TAN4 plan will amount to less than 43 cents a day because medisave can be used to pay for the premiums of the integrated shield plan.

because daily essentials like bread, milk and rice cost more than basic and essential insurance, no one should rely on the argument that taking up insurance is expensive (whatever that means).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

gone too soon (2)

one of my long time favs, ms fong gei-fei (birth name, lin chiu-luan) was reported by the news media to have passed on at the relatively young age of 58 years, succumbing to late stage lung cancer.

coincidentally, ms fong lost her hong kong businessman husband (whom she married in 1980), mr chiu wan kee to lung cancer in 2009 after her youngest brother died of lymphoma in 2006. ms fong's second brother also died of cancer in 2007.

what is also newsworthy was the fact that ms fong had been extremely health-conscious because she avoided cold food, fried food, pepper and chilli. in addition, she exercised and practised yoga.

my comments:

ms fong brings back many fond memories with hits such as applause and i am a cloud, amongst other best selling songs and i'm saddened by her most untimely demise.

what is striking is that she made a promise to her late husband to comply with his wishes to lead a healthy and happy life, which probably explains her strict regime of avoiding certain foods and a lifestyle filled with exercise and yoga.

what is also significant is the very unfortunate fact that too many lives in the family have been lost to the big C.

the statistics for cancer remain daunting and everyday in our tiny red dot nation, at least 26 people will have been diagnosed with the big C. and among the principal causes of death, cancer continues to occupy the number one ranking with an average of 29.0% of total deaths for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010.

and because treatment for cancer can cost more than an arm and a leg, our insurers have come out with a range of innovative insurance solutions to address this, including the recent initiatives of launching second generation products with coverage for early and intermediate stage critical illness as well.

knowing the facts is one thing and recognising the risk of contracting the big C is another.

and last but not least, what u do (or do not) do now is the question which only u can address.

Friday, February 10, 2012

gone too soon

today, i have just come to learn of the most untimely passing of an ex-colleague who is in the prime of his/her life.

this person is in the late 30s, and has 2 young children and was diagnosed with early stage cancer approximately 5 years ago.

when i met this person 2 years ago, i was happy to know that the cancer was in remission.

therefore, this person's passing came as a rude shock to me which was totally unexpected as the road ahead seemed to be clear.

my comments:

having lost my younger brother to cancer, i can certainly emphatise with this person's family.

this person was under the care of one of singapore's (and perhaps the region as well) most well known oncologist. when the cost of the treatment started piling-up, the family could no longer continue with the same oncologist and had to be referred to the national cancer centre.

at this time, other than the grief, trauma and emotional up-swelling as well as trying to cope or come to terms with the loss of a loved one, there is the other perspective of the financial mountain that has to be faced. this is really significant as the family's (current and potential) income has suddenly taken a nose dive.

i do not know of the family's wealth protection portfolio but my sincere hope is that they already have a comprehensive financial plan in place should the unexpected turn into reality.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

foreign maid insurance (2)

yesterday, i blogged on the abovementioned topic with a twist to the cancellation of the foreign maid insurance policy in terms of the refund being subjected to a penalty of 30% of the premium being imposed by ntuc-income on my client.

and this is the appeal which i lodged with ntuc-income on behalf of my client:

sorry to have to trouble u with regard to my case which is an appeal for the full refund of premium for foreign maid insurance policy number 5xxxxxxxxx.

what happened was my client's maid, ms xxx's test for pregnancy (while back home in indonesia) was positive and therefore, her in-principle approval by the ministry of manpower to work in singapore was cancelled.

because the policy, although incepted and issued is of no use to my client and the latter has just received a nasty surprise because the cheque for the refund (just received) amounted to only 70% of the premium paid for the policy.

but what is more significant is that my client has chosen to go with my recommendation and placed their trust in me because i mentioned that ntuc-income, being the only co-operative insurer is different because your ceo, mr tan suee chieh has said more than once that his job is not to maximise profits but putting people (first) before profits.

therefore, with a furious client confronting me and my tail between my legs, i'm formally appealing for my client's premium to be refunded in full.

ps: fyi, the maid agency recommended a foreign maid insurance plan from another insurer.

my comments:

sigh, the liability we shoulder when things go wrong, though no fault of anyone is something very real as this episode clearly illustrates. not to mention that i have to absorb the full costs of the 30% refund of the premium to my client from my own very small pockets.

nevertheless, i remain hopeful for the favourable response of my appeal from ntuc-income.

stay tuned.....

Friday, February 3, 2012

foreign maid insurance

on my recommendation (against the one sold by the maid agency from another insurer), my client took up the foreign maid insurance from ntuc-income.

short and sweet, right?

no, because there is a twist here in terms of the maid's pregnancy test (while in indonesia) proved positive which invalidated her in-principle approval from the ministry of manpower to work in singapore.

and to cut a long story short, i applied to ntuc-income to cancel the foreign maid insurance policy and here, there was another twist because there was a 'penalty' imposed on the cancellation which amounted to 30% of the premium paid.

my comments:

contractually, ntuc-income has the legal right to impose the penalty because there is a clause in the policy document stating there will only be a refund of 70% of the premium for cancellation within 60 days of the inception of the policy.

needless to say, my client was extremely displeased with me and the only way for a resolution of my client's unhappiness was for me to make up the loss of 30% of the premium paid.

but i'm not letting this episode end here as i'll be appealing to ntuc-income to refund the premium in full.

stay tuned.....