You won’t be 2gether for long. 😛
I was ‘inspired’ to write this post after I found out what had happened to a friend of mine who had cancelled his original plan with ‘Insurance Company 1’ to get a plan from ‘Insurance Company 2’ to “support” a friend who’d just joined Company 2. There had been no major change in his life to warrant the switch – he didn’t get married, didn’t have a kid, etc – and basically had no reason to make the switch. He did it just to help this friend get started in Company 2. And get this… this switch meant he was paying THREE times the premium that he was paying previously. I thought that’s nuts! Was he mad or was he trying to woo the person, and even then he’d be madly in love? 😀 (If she’s a hot babe, I can totally understand 😉 )
And you’ll probably have guessed by now. Things turned sour. A couple of months after getting the plan with Company B, he went for a medical checkup and in the course of speaking with the doctor at the polyclinic before getting a referral to a specialist, somehow certain health-related complaints were noted down by that doctor. When my pal wanted to make a claim for the medical bills, because of what the polyclinic doctor had recorded, Insurance Company B rejected the claim on the basis that he should have notified the company about the condition of his health when he’d signed up for a policy with them. (But isn’t that the agent’s duty? To fact-find? And to note down any ailments or medical issues the client might have before submitting anything to the underwriters?!)
IF my pal had stayed with Insurance Company 1, his claim would very likely have been processed, he’d have gotten his money, and gone on his way. Because of this switch, now he’s STUCK. Insurance Company 2 refuses to pay, and also wants this medical condition excluded, which means anytime he’s hospitalised because of this condition, he’ll have to foot the bill himself. Even if he cancels the plan with Insurance Company 2, Insurance Company 1 would now know there’s this condition, and would similarly want it excluded.
So… because he tried to “support” a friend, he’s now left unsupported. When I went with him to meet the agent and also her (female) manager, who were at a roadshow in Sengkang’s CompassOne, both of the ladies were adamant that they had to stand on the side of the company, and also pointed out that the company should rightfully be suspicious of how this person is making a claim so soon after getting a policy.
How quickly things change!
At the start, you’ll find that your friend will always be listening to your needs, and supposedly helping you make prudent financial decisions, to safeguard your future and that of your family. Once the commissions have been pocketed, you’re on your own, dude!
So, folks, make sure you NEVER EVER get insurance policies just to “SUPPORT” a friend. If a friend joins a company and then asks for your “SUPPORT”, RUN! Run as fast as you possibly can.
Here are 5 points, as a summary of sorts:
#1: When Money Is Involved, Friendships Can Easily Dissolve 讲钱伤感情
Note that your friend is a ROOKIE a.k.a NEWBIE a.k.a NOOB a.k.a NEWCOMER. Would you trust a person new to nursing to give you an injection? Would you trust a new doctor to perform a surgery on you? Would you trust a noob pilot to fly the plane you’re in?
I’m hoping your answer is no to all three. So why would you entrust your financial future to a newbie agent? Even if that person is your friend. No, scratch that. Because that person is your friend (and I’m assuming you value that friendship), you SHOULD NOT BUY a policy.
Rookies are usually full of enthusiasm at selling in order to hit a target set by the company, secure basic pay every month, go on an incentive trip, get an iPad, etc. <- Yes, this is actually what the agent’s manager said the agent was getting!
You might be swayed by that enthusiasm. Just say no. Buy that person KOI bubble tea when she’s working at a roadshow. Treat her to a meal after a hard day of work. Write something nice about her on LinkedIn. Whatever. Just don’t buy a policy when YOU ALREADY HAVE ONE.
Don’t enter into business with a friend unless you’re truly prepared to lose that friendship. Yes, it’ll happen. You can bet on it.
#2 Your Long-Term Commitment VS. Your Friend’s Maybe-Short-Term Career
You should definitely get insurance when you’re young. Lock in the premiums when they’re ‘cheaper’, and you’ll continue paying the same amount for many years to come. Don’t switch, please. Unless you’re getting a way better deal. And that’s unlikely.
Now, be aware that your long-term commitment may have to contend with your friend’s short-lived career in the financial planning line. Are you prepared to end up as one of those (what I would call) ‘floaters’ or (what industry folks call) ‘orphaned accounts’ – clients whose agents have left the company?
#3 Look For Someone Who’s Not In It For The Money
Gosh. This is easier said than done, right? I know. But I’m SURE there must be people like that. For instance, so many people want to become influencers and bloggers. I got into blogging not wanting to make a single cent. It’s true. Even if I’m not paid, I’ll continue blogging.
If I get a licence to be a financial planner, yes, definitely get a plan from me. 😉 I don’t need your support but you can count on me to recommend what’s best for you, even if it is to keep your current plan and just buy me KOI bubble tea – Yakult Green Tea with aloe vera and konjac jelly, if you must know. 😀
#4 Don’t Commit At Roadshows, Or At Least Know There’s A Free Look Period And Cancel Before That!
Talk for half an hour at most, say you definitely have to think it through at home, and watch the person’s facial expression. Why? Because if there’s annoyance, or any hint at all that the person feels you’ve just wasted his/her time, you know this agent is NOT looking out for your best interests. 😉 He/she is just in for a quick buck, needs to cover the ‘rental cost’ of that space for the day, and is simply looking for gullible people to con-vince.
I once spoke to an agent at a roadshow at Punggol MRT. She claimed she was offering higher interest rates for savings accounts FROM (FREAKING) POSB! I decided to play along, took the freebie, left her fake contact details, let her do all the paperwork, and at the end of the day, she thinks my name is Cheryl. People at roadshows aren’t out to meet financially savvy folks; they want the ‘easy targets’ e.g. housewives, recent graduates, people who don’t do so well with numbers, e.g. me, people who don’t know what questions to ask, easy-to-close folks. Be prepared.
#5 Get A Referral: Ask For A Recommendation From Your Friends
If you are not someone who is good at intuitively sizing up people, e.g. you can talk to conmen and not detect anything strange about them, then you’d better ask friends whom you trust with making good recommendations.
While my pal might be able to “look on the bright side” and see that this incident has shed some light on this person who’s supposed to be a friend, I think the price he has to pay is too high.
If he’s hospitalised, wouldn’t he rather this person come to visit as a concerned pal, instead of an agent who’s dragging her feet to come by to help with the paperwork for his claims, because he demanded she do so?
Yes, it’s sad to see a friendship end over some thousands of dollars but I think it’s sadder still if this insurance headache is not resolved and if *touchwood* something happens to him and he has to foot the entire bill. That’s a crying shame.