Choosing someone amongst the thousands of insurance agents available in Singapore is not an easy task. Who do you choose? Do you pick the one with the longest time on the job? Do you pick the friend who's been (repeatedly) asking you out for a 'dinner and chat'? Or do you pick the housewife relative who probably needs the side income?
I cannot guarantee that this article will help you make that ultimate decision. Nevertheless, I hope that it will provide insight into the important criteria to consider when choosing the best insurance agent for you.
Candidness is a great start.
You might find it jarring when the insurance agent starts probing into your financial status. After all, 'How much savings do you have?' is not a question everyone can answer with a forthcoming attitude. In my opinion however, the more jarring the questions, the better.
I have always been the fella who wastes no time exposing both the strengths and flaws in someone's financial portfolio. Your time is money. The less time you spend worrying about it and the more someone else spends fixing it, the more you will benefit.
Of course, that is theoretical. Your decision on who to pick is based on a combination of four things, 1) sincerity, 2) knowledge, 3) effort and 4) feel.
I think that one of the best ways to gauge sincerity is that the planner is extremely upfront with his/her limitations. Maybe they're new, maybe they're not the best dresser or maybe they do not know the answer to the question you asked. Whatever it is, you get a clear picture of someone who is honest and not a poseur looking to inspire a false sense of confidence in you. This is someone who wants to help you to the best of his or her ability.
Sincerity is great, and it has to be balanced with...
There's a limit to how unprepared the agent can be. If you ask 10 questions and the agent can't answer 8 off the bat, that's a warning sign. If they aren't able to come up with something that at the very least, sounds logical, you kind of get the idea that he/she is not the agent for you.
As a general rule, I never sell something that I can't answer questions about, or a product that the client may potentially become better than me at, which is not that uncommon today.
If the insurance agent did not pass your Q&A test, you might want to gauge him/her on...
This is especially important if you're getting insurance from someone who is a) around your age or b), a friend.
If the insurance agent can't answer your question, does he/she get back to you promptly with the answer after doing more research?
This is actually a very common occurrence when it comes to buying Critical Illness (CI), Term or Life insurance policies. While the insurance companies have to follow LIA guidelines, their definitions for what is claimable can be very different.
Investment-linked Policies (ILP) with Early Critical Illness (ECI) coverage have started to emerge recently, where they cover a greater range of CIs than most policies and makes balancing your investments, insurance, coverage range and budget exceedingly complicated. Even a veteran insurance agent can't be expected to answer questions on this topic right away.
The key question is, do they prove that they value you by addressing your issue promptly afterwards?
Finally, the fourth factor to consider when choosing the top insurance agent in Singapore for you is...
4) The Feels
Trust me, the feels go a long way. Do you feel that you can trust this person enough to leave your money (and life) in their hands? Do they elicit a feeling of safety in you?
An insurance agent can be perfect for the first 3 criteria. But if you don't feel like having a long-term relationship with him/her, you might have to concede that this agent might not be the best fit for you.
It's not just one-way relationship either, having the feels is important for the insurance agent as well.
Personally, I've experienced this and have tried not to take it personally the longer I spend in this industry. I've once spent 3 hours with an auntie reiterating over and over again that I was not cursing her son with my insurance talks. Could she tell I was sincere? Sure. Did she think I was knowledgeable and putting in a lot of effort for her? Certainly. Did she think that we were going to get along in the long-term? Most definitely not.
It is disappointing when an insurance agent scores well for the first 3 criteria but fails the 4th miserably. However, you still have to consider 'the feels'.
I may not be the top insurance agent in Singapore, but I am confident that I tick off the first 3 criteria well. For the last factor, well, I guess we could test that out over a meal.
As one of the Top Financial Bloggers in Singapore (Feedspot, Withcontent.co), I would be happy to answer any emails and questions you may have, as I have been doing for my readers over the past few years - especially about Insurance and Investing, as it is my forte of personal and professional knowledge.
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Money Maverick is a Licensed Financial Consultant with MAS, who specializes in Investments and Critical Illness Insurance.
The views on his blog are strictly of his own opinion and have no affiliation to any of the companies he works with.
Here are some of my resources on:
3) Retirement and Leverage: Leveraging a Private Annuity, Pros and Cons (ft. Jamus Lim)
4) Spending and Saving: The Biggest Spending Mistakes You DIDNT Even Know you were Making (and how to avoid them)
5) Job Assessment: A Case Study on How a $6k/mth Girl makes MUCH more money than a $10k/mth Guy
6) Financial Optimisation: How I Avoid the Largest 'Fees' of All
Article was adapted from my profile on the Seedly Community forum.
Cover image credit: franchise opportunities and knowyourmeme