Saturday, February 10, 2007

Thank you for your gift of leadership to Singapore..

Mr Tan

Read your NTUC story. 30 years is an incredible life time of service and achievement!

Thank you for the way you've blessed Singapore through your stewardship of NTUC and giving all of us an example of integrity and what the gift of leadership can do.

It's really not about asset transformation, though this is important notwithstanding, but how you've raised the quality of life for your workers and colleagues, and in the process, bless a whole new generation along with them. NTUC will miss a great man...

All the best as you climb new peaks. The Lord continue to prosper you and establish the work of your hand.


How do I find a trustworthy agent?

1. Do I need an insurance adviser?
2. Which option is best for me?
3. How much commission does the adviser earn?
4. Can I buy directly from the insurance company?
5. Can I learn more about the insurance product on my own?

Read this FAQ

Motorist have trouble in claiming against a Malaysian insurance company

Dear Mr Tan

I was involved in a road traffic accident. My car was hit by a Malaysia car in year 2002.

Currently, I have reached the stage that the Singapore High Court has awarded me the compensation since July 2006.

All documents has submitted to Singapore Public Trustee. But Malaysian insurance company has not settled the sum with the Public Trustee.

1. My lawyer told me that the payment will take 3 to 5 years, is this true?

2. When I checked with the Malaysian insurance company, they told me that to speak to my lawyer. But my lawyer told me that they did not respond, in spite of reminders.

3. Is it true that it is difficult to claim from a Malaysian insurance company?



Normally, you should let your insurance company handle your claim for you, instead of making a claim against the third party's insurance company.

Even we, as an insurance company, face difficulty in claiming against a Malaysian insurance company. I can imagine that it is even more difficult for you.

At this stage, you should ask your lawyer to take the next step. It is your lawyer's duty to handle it for you.

Friday, February 09, 2007

My wish list for Budget 2007

Here is my personal wish list for budget 2007

1. I wish to see more incentive to encourage people to make additional savings for their retirement. This can be made through the supplementary retirement scheme (SRS). I suggest that, in the case of citizens, the contribution to SRS be allowed up to 10% of the taxable income.

2. I hope to see a full restoration of the 3% cut in the employer's contribution to the Central Provident Fund, to be made over the next one or two years.

3. I hope to see more public funds be channelled towards reducing the cost of public transport. This can be done by reducing the operating costs and fees for buses and taxis. This will allow the operators to reduce their charges. It will encouarge more people to use public transport, instead of owning their private cars. It will help to reduce the traffic congestion on our road.

4. I wish to see a higher quantum of workfare bonus to encourage older people to continue to work, and to supplement the income of the lower wage earners. This will help to reduce the gap between the high and low income workers. I also wish to see the workfare bonus paid monthly, rather than at the end of the year. The payment can be made by the employer and reimbursed by the government.

Tan Kin Lian
(in my personal capacity)

Difficult to access my blog?

Someone told me that she had trouble access my blog in recent days. After a few postings are displayed, it hung. If you also face the same problem, send an e-mail to me.

Do I need an Insurance Adviser?

Should you get an Insurance Adviser to help you to find the right insurance plan?

Here are my views:
Insurance Adviser

Bullet Train to Kuala Lumpur

I look forward to the day when there is a bullet train between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This will cut down the travel time from 7 hours to 90 minutes. It will even be faster than travelling by plane (if you take the time needed to travel from the airport to town.

And later, an extension of the journey from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh and Penang. Wow.

I love trains, starting from the MRT in Singapore. It is a more sensible way to travel.

Transparent home loan rates

I congratulate 3 banks for introducing new home loans that have interest rates that are pegged to an external benchmark, i.e the CPF rate or the Swap Offer Rate (i.e. the cost of funds plus processing cost).

These banks are:

* MayBank

I hope that they will offer a low cost way for their existing customers to convert to the new terms.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Strong interest in jobs for mature workers

I have received several e-mails from mature workers, expressing interest to find jobs.

I do not have any openings at this time (from potential employers). But I will be trying my best to encourage employers to employ mature workers, by designing the jobs to use their strengths, and minimise their weaknesses.

For example, NTUC Income has been successful to create many jobs for mature workers to work in the contact center.

If any opening becomes available from my efforts, I shall post them in my blog. I shall also create a webpage in my website in early March, for mature workers to register their interest.

My website is:

Let me wish everyone, good fortune, good health and happiness in the Lunar New Year.

Secure Folder

I store my personal information in a secure folder at Big Trumpet. They include:

* id, password, and URL links for various services on the internet
* credit card numbers
* hotlines
* telcos, mobilephone, broadband, TV
* e-mail address, server names

Many website asked me to register, but I keep forgetting the id and password. Now, I can easily retrieve them from Big Trumpet.

For example, I have registered for:

* Airline
* Hotel
* Credit cards

Where to go?
Register your account.
Go to "Folder".

A heart warming message

Dear Mr Tan Kin Lian

Thank you very much for your exceptionally kind service for so many years in NTUC Income.

We have truly benefitted from your goodness. From the sum of money I deposited with NTUC Income, I am eligible to $1,400 per month for the rest of my life. That gives me some security.

Thank you for the many offers and arrangements you have made to help others too.

I wish you all the best in your future years. May God bless you and your family more and more.

Yours sincerely

A new look for my blog

I just learned, only two days ago, how to put a photograph in my blog and to create links to other blogs and websites. Many bloggers already knew before. It took me a long time to find out.

I also changed the "look" of my blog, as one visitor told me that my old "look" was tiring. I hope that the new look is better.

I have created links to other other blogs of insurance advisers of NTUC Income. They follow my example to provide educational materials to the public. I hope that you will visit their blog.

I put in a new counter in my blog. During the first two days, I received 1,200 unique visitors. Wow! This is much higher than a daily average of 350 visitors previously.

Please tell your friends to visit my blog. Thanks.

A fairer, better alternative to the queue?

Many organisations adopt the queue to decide on priority for a high demand product, such as:

* walk in selection of HDB flat
* a place in a choice primary school
* selection of a choice unit in a property launch

In some cases, a queue may be formed one or two days before the opening time. Security personnel are required to ensure the proper behaviour of the people int he queue. This is wasteful.

In a recent case, there is suspicion that news of the selection process may have leaked out, giving some applicants an unfair advantage over the other applications.

There is a better way to handle allocation of priority. Here are the steps:

* collect the application from the people who are interested
* allocate an application number to each application received before the closing date.
* draw the application numbers, either manually or through a computerised balloting system
* the drawing process can be audited to ensure that it is done transparently and fairly.

I hope that the relevant organisation can implement a better alternative to the queue.

Tan Kin Lian

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sell SingTel shares

Someone asked if she should sell her SingTel shares at the Post Office now, as she heard that this service will be discontinued in March.

I asked my stockbroker for advice. He said that a shareholder who does not have a trading account with a stockbroker will find it better to sell the shares at the Post Office. It will be quite inconvenient to open an account and link to the CDP account, just to sell the SingTel shares.

However, if the shareholder has a trading account, then it is quite convenient to sell through the stockbroker.

He is not aware that the Post Office intends to withdraw this service.

Poor return from Umbrella policy

Dear Mr Tan

I purchased the Umbrella policy in 1992, with a death/ permenant disability benefit of $50,000. My quarterly premium was $185.65. At that time, it was a popular product with good value for money.

However, 15 years on, I am a little disappointed with the value, as the policy bas not reached the break-even point. I have paid $11,000 in total premium, but the cash value to date is $10,009. This figure is lower than that projected in the quotation given to me at that time.

I would like to hear your comments on this policy.

PS. Last but not least, let me commend you for building Income into one of the most successful Insurance big boys it is today. Such is my confidence in Income that I had bought 3 other life policies and 4 Incomeshield Shield policies for myself and 3 dependents. Your impending departure would indeed be a loss to Income.



Dear M

The Umbrella policy has a long break even point as it provides a relatively high coverage, compared to the premium.

Actually, the break even point should have occurred earlier, but this was extended due to the reduction in bonus rates during 2003 and 2004. The bonus rates have since been increased on two occasions. There will be a further increase in bonus rate this year.

I hope that, going forward, you will see the cash value increase at a faster rate.

With best wishes to you.

Tan Kin Lian

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

eServices at South West CDC

South West Community Development Council (South West CDC) serves about one fifth of Singapore.

It's website has a directory of the social services provided in the district. It can be accessed easily through
The services include:

Child Care
Student Care

For example, it lists details of 100 kindergartens operating in the district.

A hybrid plan

Hi Mr Tan,

Most of the insurance advice I see available seems to be around the two extremes:

- whole life policy
- term policy + invest the difference

My thoughts:-

Whole-life: Pro:whole life coverage with bonuses, Con: expensive
Term: Pro: cheap, Con: no coverage beyond end of term (high chance of outliving the policy)

Why is it that nobody mentions a hybrid solution? e.g. for a desired 100k sum assured, buy 50k whole life, 50k decreasing term. Over the course of the two policies, the bonuses added to the whole life plan will balance out with the decreasing term coverage. Costs are kept reasonable and coverage will last the entire lifetime.



Dear BK

Your hybrid solution is quite good. Well done.

Under the buy term and invest the difference, it is likely that the savings with capital gains will be more than the sum assured at the end of the term of 20 years. So, there is no need to have any more insurance cover.

For example, if you are insured for $100,000 and you save $4,000 a year, the total savings with capital gains should be more than $100,000 at the end of 20 years

Tan Kin Lian

Volatile Singapore Stockmarket

Here are the years when the stock market moved up and down by a big margin

1993 (1 yr) up 1000 points
1997-98 (2 yrs) down 1000 points
1999 (1 yr) up 1500 points
2000-02 (3 yrs) down 1200 points
2003-06 (3 yrs) up 1900 points

When will the market correct? And by how much?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Looking for a part time Personal Assistant



I wish to look for a part time Personal Assistant.

The candidate has to be familiar with Microsoft office software, access information on the internet, able to contact people over the telephone and e-mail, arrange travel and appointments, look after administrative matters.

The candidate can work from home. My work should take just a few hours each week. I will send my requests by e-mail. Perferably, the candidate should live in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan or Toa Payoh.

If you or your friend are interested, send a resume to me at The starting date is around 1 April 2007.

Website to learn about insurance

There is a website that you can learn about insurance.


It is easy to learn and fun. You can take a test to check your understanding. Each topic should take only 20 minutes, or less.

About 300 people visit this website everyday. 40 learned a topic and 15 took the test.

You have the chance to win the following:

* Logic9 pocketbook
* Creative Divi Cam 428 worth $329.00!

Some popular topics:

Investment Linked Plan
Travel Insurance
Medical Insurance
Saving for Education
Life Annuity
Home Insurance
Nomination of Beneficiary
Personal Accident
Personal Accident Infectious Disease Plan (PA+ID)
Reverse Mortgage
Living Policy

and others.

Can I change my fund to reduce risk?

Dear Mr Tan

I have the followings 2 policies which was purchased 13 years ago.

1) Investment Linked Insurance

This living policy was bought in 1996 and the premium invest in the Singapore Managed Fund, as at today cash value returns is about breakeven of the total premium I had paid and I believe this is becasue of the recent good performance of the SGX.

Please advice how can I protect the cash value as it depends on the performance of the stock markets. Should I switch to another fund eg their Asia or Global Fund?.

2) Asian Equity Fund

I have invested in this fund for about 10 years the value now is about 70% more than the capital I have invested. Should I cash out this investment now or leave it?



Dear W

I suggest the you ask the insurance company to tell you the charges that you have to bear for the following:

* annual fund management fee
* mortality charge

You should also compare the performance of the fund with similar funds in the same category in the CPFIS website.

It is difficult to make a judgement on timing. I decided to sell my STI tracker fund about two months ago, and the market has increased by 20% since.

In my case, I felt that the market was too high and decided to take profit. I invested my proceeds in the money market fund of NTUC Income to earn 3% interest.
See on Flexi Cash.

All the best for your decision.

Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Every 6 years?

The Singapore stockmarket perform well every 6 years. It reached a peak in 1994, 2000 and 2006.

It dipped in 1996 (Asian Financial crisis) and 2002 (corporate scandals), ie about 2 years after reaching its high point. Will it crash in 2008?

I observe that the markets moved up to a very high level when the foreign funds move in. After making the profit, the foreign funds take profit and moved out. This caused the market to fall significantly.

Be careful. Watch out for the outflow of the foreign funds.

Part Time Work for Seniors

I will try to build up a demand for part time work for seniors, between age 50 to 75.

The suitable work are those around the neighbourhood. This is to avoid travel long distance. The types of work are:

* customer service in shops, bus terminus, MRT stations
* nursing and care of elderly, children and disabled
* administrative work to support small business

A suitable rate is $6 per hour. A higher rate is justified for work that require special skills.

The part time work can be for 25 hours a week or 100 hours a month. At the rate of $6, the earnings can be $600. The government provides the Workfare Bonus which can add another $50 a month.

As the seniors have probably retired from full time work, a monthly income of $600 to $800 can be a useful supplement to their savings. It is also useful to keep occupied.

I hope that this can lead to the creation of many service jobs in the neighbourhood.

Traffic Congestion in Many Cities

Most cities around the world face the problem of traffic congestion.

What is the underlying cause? Poor public transport system. It forces many people to buy their personal cars. This adds to the traffic congestion problem. Things get worse.

Our traffic system in Singapore used to be quite good. In recent years, the roads are getting congested. We are facing the same problem as other cities.

Here are my views on how to tackle the underlying problems:

* put more buses and trains on the road
* make supply more than demand
* this will encourage more people to use the public transport
* during the initial period for each route, there is a deficit that needs to be financed by tax revenue
* the operations can be managed by a private operator, with a subsidy for the initial period
* the private operator can tender to run the service
* the charges are fixed

Using this approach, the private operator will have the incentive to operate efficiently. There is a public service that will attract commuters to use it (as it is partially financed by tax revenue). When more people use public transport, there will be less cars on the road.

I hope that my concept can be tried.

Choice of Insurance Plans

Many people are confused with the common insurance plans.

Here is a brief description of the various insurance plans provided by NTUC Income. It helps the consumer to decide of the following plans.

Protection - whole life policy to pay the sum assured plus bonus on death

Living - whole life policy to pay the sum assured plus bonus on death or on the confirmed diagnosis of any of 30 dread disease

20 year Term - pays the sum assured on death during the term; policy cease at the end of the term

20 year Decreasing Term - pays the sum assured on death during the term; the sum assured reduces by 5% each year during the term

20 year Living benefit - pays the sum assured on death or occurence of any of 30 dread disease during the term.

To decide on the plan that suits your budget, you need to know approximately how much each plan cost, and the amount of insurance that you can afford.

You can find some sample figures at
Insurance Plans
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Personal Website

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