FROM A JOURNALIST
I have received feedback that insurance agents are now soliciting for customers by knocking on the doors of HDB flats. I have personally encountered agents on the street, particularly close to MRT stations in the past, but this is the first time ive heard of agents doing it at people's homes.
1. What are yr views on this? Will Income condone your agents prospecting by knocking on residential doors?
Reply. There is no need for our insurance agents to knock on the doors of residential homes. There are better ways to reach out to potential customers.
We have 1,800,000 existing customers. Many of them have only 1 insurance policy with us.
We are reaching out to these policyholders to increase their coverage of life, motor, home, accident and medical insurance and to increase their savings with us. The contacts are made by our customer relation officers.
We generate 25,000 sales leads each month to be followed up by our agents. These customers are willing to discuss their insurance and financial needs with our agents. Our agents do not have time to go knocking on doors, as they are busy following up on these leads.
2. Does such an avenue of getting sales "lower'' the image of the profession?
Reply: I agree. This approach lowers the image of the profession.
If you want to see a doctor, you visit the doctor's clinic. You do not have a trained doctor knocking on your door.
I wish to see insurance agents operating from offices, and they can contaclt the customer by telephone. IF the customer is intersted, the customer can visit the agent in the office. This is more productive. It will also allow the insurance company to reduce the cost of the insurance to the consumer, as the agent does not need to earn a high commission rate, if the sales effort can be reduced.
The insurance agents of NTUC Income are adjusting to this new concept. They sell through the telephone and earn a lower commission for the reduced effort. The consumer benefit from the lower cost of insurnce. The agents earn a higher income through a larger volume of sales.
3. What about soliciting for biz on the streets/outside MRT stations etc?
Reply: We discourage our agents from soliciting for business at MRT stations and public places. The consumers are busy and do not wish to be disturbed or interrupeted. It is not fair for them to be disturbed by a pushy sales person.
We like to use this point of contact to distribute an educational material. It takes the form of a FAQ leaflet. It contains 5 to 10 frequently asked questions about an important matter, such as financial planning for your future.
We ask our agent to give 3 key points to the consumer within 1 minute, when handing over the FAQ. This will create an interest of the consumer to learn more about the product. By being educated, they can make the right choice.
4. Any other comments
Reply. NTUC Income is actibve in educating consumers about making the right choice in their financial planning, investment and insurance products. By making the right choice, they can earn an additional sum, say more than $100,000, for themselves during their working life. They should make the effort to know about the product, rather than trust an agent who earns a commision on the sale.
We provide FAQs on our products at our website, www.income.coop/insurance/faq. They are easy to understand and fun to read. By making the right choice, the consumer pays a lower premium (maybe 10% saving) or earn a higher return on their investments (maybe$100,000 or more). These are explained in our FAQs.
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