There are many interpretations by individuals on financial advisory being allowed as a essential service in this Circuit Breaker period. As far as the guidelines from Life Insurance Association Singapore and the authorities are concerned, financial advisory is under essential services. There are, however, a handful of people questioning why financial advisory is considered as essential services. To most people, the job of a Financial Advisers Representative(a.k.a insurance agent/agent) is to sell insurance and these are activities that can wait till the Circuit Breaker is lifted.
First, we need to know there are two main competitor for any agents – Health and Death. As long as any of the two reached the prospect/client before the agent, the deal will be lost! I doubt anyone can assure that one’s health remains the same in a month’s time especially this period. Let’s be honest, income is important to us just like anyone. Moreover, as an individual, I will not want to subject anyone to such risk of being un-insurable due to bad health or worse, a death occurring without any payout by delaying the application.
Secondly, FAR do more than just sales. In this pressing time, FAR perform the duties of servicing more than sales. There are more cases than usual of clients not being able to pay for premium and asked about premium deferment offered by insurance companies.
On top of that, my colleagues and myself educate & create awareness on the following topics to our clients:
- Cash flow management
- Advance Medical Directives
- Lasting Power of Attorney
- Nomination of beneficiaries
- Making a will
- Reviewing current insurance and investment portfolio.
Many clients suffered paycut or even loss of income now and advising on managing the expenses is a common activities now. Many agents are also educating on the different relief the individual can get. It is common to see people getting more concerned with their policies like what they are paying for. Review on investment when some advisers who advocate “Buy low-Sell High” are not able to manage the current market downturn.
Thirdly, claims are still made during this period and some claims are not as direct as submitting a claim form. A real life claim that is happening now is as below.
For non-Chinese readers, basically this message from the daughter of an orphan client asking to expedite her father’s claim. The policy holder has a life policy that was bought from another agent. He is in stage 4 stomach cancer now and the policy does not cover critical illness. The family needs the cash urgently to settle the bills.
In situation like these, should the agent say,” wait after 4th May then we meet to process?”
We play our part too. Most agents that I know are playing our part to end this situation as soon as it can. We avoid face-to-face contact as much as we can. and We limit our daily appointments and travel with mask on. We try our best to conduct the business over the phone or video conferencing etc as according to safe distancing recommendation. We would also want to keep ourselves, our clients, our family and everyone else around us safe and healthy.
So, let us come as one and fight this battle together!