About Agent Spotlight

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Agent Spotlight is a special column where we feature Malaysian insurance agents who have provided exceptional service to their customers. We share their background stories and ask for advice on how Malaysians can protect themselves better against accidents and illness.

This month we interviewed Samuel Raj from Subang Jaya. He shares with us his story, what made him decide to become a insurance agent and what Malaysians should watch out in their insurance policies.

Name: Samuel Raj

Location: Subang Jaya

 

 

iBanding: What is your background?

Samuel: I actually studied Medical Bio Science from Monash University. Upon graduating, my first job was a medical underwriter with HLA. After a few years, I moved to AIA Singapore for a similar but a broader underwriting role. The job scope includes customer servicing and claims investigation advisory on fraudulent, or non-disclosure cases. Since then, I’ve left the job. Currently, pursuing my promotion to Unit Manager with AIA Berhad in my capacity as an agent. Aside this, I have recently signed on with MPI Generali – a Malaysian Insurance company, for my General Insurance Portfolio. I have also completed my professional LOMA papers, most notably, obtaining the Fellowship designation, FLMI

 

iBanding: Did you have any specific reason to sign up with MPI?

Samuel: Yes. They have recently partnered with Generali, which is a very notable player in the European general insurance scene. They are more aggressive and competitive in their product and premium offerings.

 

iBanding:  Why not a different insurance company?

Samuel: MPI is more diverse for general insurance, in terms of type of specialty. It is good, as I have clients with different types of needs.

 

iBanding: What is the Fellowship designation, FLMI?

Samuel: It’s the highest designation for LOMA (Life Office Management Associate). The Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) program is a 10-course professional development program. It provides an industry-specific business education in the context of the insurance and financial services industry. The FLMI teaches advanced insurance and financial concepts to build a deeper understanding of the insurance business. Established in 1932, the FLMI program is the world’s largest university-level education program in insurance and financial services.

 

iBanding: How long have you been in the insurance industry?

Samuel: All of my career lifetime ever since I have graduated. Last October was actually my 6th year in the industry and counting!

 

iBanding: What is your insurance specialty and focus in insurance?

Samuel: Based on my background, I have handled a lot of complex medical cases. Mostly from clients who have trouble with application rejections or those who are unsure on how to fulfil the medical requirements. As I used to be an underwriter, I feel that I have better leverage when negotiating for the best terms for my clients. I would also try to hit the generation Y market besides the ailing and the sick. This is because it represents a large future potential referral base, if it’s done right.

 

iBanding: Do you have any specific approach on hitting the Y market?

Yes. Simplify the terms. Use technology in presentation and dealing with them. Interaction via social media is key. Ensure you understand their needs precisely. The Y market could easily understands agents who are trying to make a quick buck by offering unnecessary products. This generation is less loyal, and can switch easily without hesitation.

 

iBanding: What made you choose insurance as your career?

Samuel: It actually feels like insurance chose me! I enjoy the subject of risk management and the overall concept on how insurance works. Besides, this career allows me to meet new people from all walks of life. It is pretty interesting compared to being stuck at a desk all day. Additionally, with the current advancement of technology, it makes my work much easier since things got a whole lot mobile (iPOS by AIA)!

 

iBanding: What are the biggest mistakes Malaysians make in buying insurance?

Samuel: Several. The most prominent mistake would be putting it off till later time, which is a big no-no cause you’ll never know when illness or tragedy will strike. I’ve encountered clients who can’t even remember the objective of the purchased policy, thinking it’ll be useless to them later on. Also, we Malaysian are always looking for “cheaper” products. However, in insurance cheaper don’t always means better, as each product always have their pros and cons.

 

iBanding: Why do you think that the clients can’t remember the objective of the purchased policy? Can you please give me an example? I believe it will be helpful for readers to better understand.

Samuel: Most of the time, it’s because that the agents themselves often forget about it or don’t reinforce its use or objective consistently. Clients also do tend to forget due to very good marketing by other insurers which make their plan more attractive.
Asides this, sometimes customers are tempted with the latest innovation and advancement in the industry; hence that is why they might forget the reason for their current policies.

A good example would be my client X. X purchased a policy 5 years ago. The objective was to cover his loss of income to his family and also medical coverage. However, he feels the financial strains of raising a family, and decides to forgo his own coverage. He decided to take up a plan for his kids instead. Majority would think this is a selfless act of a father, in fact, this actually transfers a higher amount of risk back to the family. This is because if the sole bread winner does suffer a major illness or accident, his family will greatly be impacted with his loss of income to sustain their current lifestyle. They might have to downgrade or sell off assets just to go by.

 

iBanding: For car insurance, what are the most common mistakes Malaysians make during an accident?

Samuel: Where do I begin? Firstly, they tend to under insure the vehicle. When a pro-rated claims amount is paid out, they get upset on the settlement amount. In actuality this is clearly stated in the policy contract. Next, it would be insufficient windscreen cover. It is required for those who commutes daily, as our roads spew out all sorts of debris. Also, always go to your panel insurer for repair works. Never let these ‘call man’ which rush to the scene of the accident (faster than emergency responses sometime) persuade you to do otherwise. Call the hotline and I am sure most CSRs will be happy to assist you.

Find out more about under-insurance and its dangers here

The Hidden Dangers of Under-Insurance

 

iBanding: What is your secret of success?

Samuel: To be honest, I wouldn’t call what I have achieved so far is a success. I feel that I still have a long way to go. I guess my secret is that I am always striving for more, than I did previously. Determination is key to me. I try my best to push myself and never throw in the towel so easily. My current mentor always reminds me of a catch phrase, which has kind of stuck to me. “Be comfortable being uncomfortable”.

 

iBanding: What is the most challenging situation you have to overcome as an insurance agent?

Samuel: The most challenging situation to date would have to be that one incident when my client’s claim was denied. Due to, on the grounds of a non-disclosure. It was a very tough situation dealing with the client. He and I, both knew there wasn’t any wrong doing on our part. It was just that some of the information received from the treating hospital was incorrect. But, as they requested an investigation, we had to comply with the investigation. Dealing with my client for 3 months as the claim was delayed was no easy task, but once it was approved I breathe out a huge sigh of relief. Since then, I haven’t had any more daunting scenarios.

 

iBanding: Is it possible to share what kind of treatment it was? Looking back what would you do differently, if you could change things?

Samuel: Sure, it was a shoulder dislocation surgery due to a basketball accident. In hindsight, I wish I had informed him about the exact claims procedure. I would have explain on why companies are so sticky. Especially when claims occur within the first 2 years of the policy inception. That clause was clearly indicated in the policy contract, I guess I’ve failed to highlight it properly.

 

iBanding: What are the biggest problems or challenges you face as an agent at the moment?

Samuel: Technology is coming into our industry in leaps and bounds. Some actually makes our work easier. Other advancement has actually eliminated us from the process of purchasing insurance all together! Asides this, enforcement of regulations in between companies could do some improvements. There are plenty of cases of ROPs (Replacement Policies) and agent pinching. Also, with enforcement of PDPA, we need to find more creative ways to gather qualified leads. Hence, cold calling and text message blasting doesn’t seems so effective anymore.

 

iBanding: What is ROPs?

Samuel: Replacement of Policies. When you make a client surrender or lapse an existing policy. So that he can take up a new policy. This is unethical. This is because the client would be in lesser health condition prior to take up of new policy. Hence, unfavorable terms and premiums charged. Also, he may lose coverage of a condition that he was previously covered for.

 

iBanding: Where do you think the insurance industry is heading next year? Where do you think it is heading 5 years from now?

Samuel: I see some form of deregulation from the authorities. More self-governance coming into play within the industry in the coming year. This is a good thing, as I think the markets are maturing slowly. Further down the road, however, things might look a whole lot different; with my guess being consumers will become more tech savvy and more informed in their purchasing decision. Technology will certainly have a big part to play as well in the way we do business. Additionally, I feel that the profession might be more streamlined. Together with stricter requirements to ensure only full time professional are maintained. This is done by weeding our part timers and those barely meeting the required hours.

We thank Samuel Raj for the time and wisdom he shared with us. If any questions or would like to talk to him for more information about insurance. You can contact check out his directory listing at Samuel Raj.

 

 

Sorotan Ejen

Sorotan Agen memaparkan ejen-ejen Takaful & Insurans yang sentiasa memberikan perkhidmatan yang luar biasa kepada pelanggan-pelanggan mereka. Kami kongsikan kisah latar belakang mereka dan minta nasihat bagaimana rakyat Malaysia boleh melindungi diri dengan lebih baik dengan insurans dan takaful di dalam kes-kes kemalangan dan penyakit.

Bulan ini kami menemu bual Samuel Raj dari Kuala Lumpur. Beliau berkongsi ceritanya dengan kami, apa yang membuat beliau memutuskan untuk menjadi ejen insurans dan apa yang rakyat Malaysia patut perhatikan dalam polisi insurans mereka.

Nama: Samuel Raj

Lokasi: Subang Jaya

 

iBanding: Ceritakan latar belakang anda?

Samuel: Saya berkelulusan bidang Bio Medikal dari University Monash. Jawatan pertama saya ialah sebagai underwriter di HLA. Setelah beberapa tahun, saya berpindah ke AIA Singapura untuk watak pengunderaitan yang lebih luas. Skop pekerjaan termasuklah perkhidmatan pelanggan dan penyiasatan tuntutan bagi kes-kes penipuan dan ketakdedahan. Saya telah pun tinggalkan jawatan itu dan sekarang menjawat jawatan Unit Manager bersama AIA Berhad di samping peranan sebagai ejen. Selain dari itu, saya juga baru menandatangani dengan MPI Generali untuk portfolio Insurance Am saya. Saya juga telah tamat peperiksaan LOMA profesional saya dengan menerima kedudukan Fellowship, FLMI.

 

iBanding: Apakah sebab anda buat keputusan untuk sertai MPI?

Samuel: Baru-baru ini mereka telah bergabung dengan Generali, iaitu sebuah syarikat insurans am yang sangat berpengaruh di Europah. Mereka lebih agresif dan kompetitif dalam menawarkan produk dan premium.

 

iBanding: Mengapa anda tidak memilih syarikat lain?

Samuel: MPi mempunyai rangkaian produk insurans am yang lebih pelbagai. Ianya sesuai bagi saya kerana pelanggan saya yang memerlukan produk yang berlain-lainan.

 

iBanding: Terangkan tentang kedudukan Fellowhsip, FLMI.

Samuel: Ianya kedudukan tertinggi bagi LOMA (Life Office Management Assiciate)
[http://www.loma.org/ProfDev/Designations/FLMI.aspx] Program The Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) ialah suatu program professional 10 bahagian yang menawarkan pendidikan spesifik bagi sesuatu industri dari konteks industri perkhidmatan insurans dan kewangan. FLMI mengajar insurans tahap advance dan konsep kewangan yang bertujuan untuk mendalami pemahaman perniagaan insurans. Ditubuhkan pada 1932, FLMI ialah program tahap universiti bagi perkhidmatan insurans dan kewangan yang terbesar di dunia.

 

iBanding: Sudah berapa lama anda berkecimpung dalam industri insurans?

Samuel: Sepanjang kerjaya saya! Saya menyertai industri ini setelah keluar dari university. Bulan Oktober lepas genaplah 6 tahun saya berada di industri ini.

 

iBanding: Apakah kepakaran dan fokus anda?

Samuel: Berdasarkan pengalaman awal saya, saya banyak mengendalikan kes perubatan yang kompleks untuk pelanggan yang menghadapi kesulitan dalam tuntutan, atau mereka yang tidak pasti cara untuk memenuhi syarat-syarat. Kerana saya memiliki pengalaman dalam pengunderaitan (underwriting), saya berasakan saya mempunyai kelebihan dalam merunding untuk mendapatkan terma terbaik untuk pelanggan saya. Dari segi fokus, selain dari membantu yang lemah dan sakit, saya juga tumpukan perhatian saya pada generasi Y. Kerana mereka merupakan market referral terbesar masa akan datang, jika dilakukan dengan betul.

 

iBanding: Adakah anda cara spesifik dalam mendekati pasaran generasi Y?

Samuel: Ya. Mudahkan terma. Guna kemudahan teknologi dalam pembentangan dan perbincangan dengan mereka. Interaksi melalui media sosial adalah penting. Pastikan and faham keperluan mereka dengan tepat. Generasi Y ini sangat berpengetahuan dan mereka boleh mengesan jika seseorang cuba sebarang muslihat ke atas mereka. Generasi ini tidak memiliki sifat kesetiaan yang kuat, mereka tidak akan teragak untuk menukar jika perlu.

 

iBanding: Mengapa anda memilih insurans sebagai kerjaya anda?

Samuel: Sebenarnya, saya rasa insurans yang memilih saya! Saya sangat berminat dengan pengurusan risiko dan konsep insurans secara amnya. Selain itu, kerjaya ini membolehkan saya berjumpa dengan ramai manusia dari semua peringkat. Ini lebih menarik jika dibandingkan dengan kerja di pejabat sepanjang hari. Oh dan dengan kemudahan teknologi zaman ini, ia memudahkan kerja saya kerana banyak yang boleh dilakukan secara mobile (contoh iPos dari AIA).

 

iBanding: Apakah kesilapan terbesar dilakukan oleh pengguna Malaysia dalam membeli insurans?

Samuel: Kesilapan yang paling ketara ialah mereka menangguh pembelian insurans kerana malang tidak berbau. Saya juga banyak berjumpa pelanggan yang tidak ingat tujuan mereka membeli polisi mereka, dan kemudiannya rasakan ianya tidak perlu. Rakyat Malaysia juga selalu inginkan yang paling murah. Tetapi bagi insurans dan takaful, yang murah tidak bererti yang bagus, setiap produk memiliki kelebihan dan kelemahan.

 

iBanding: Pada pandangan anda, mengapa pelanggan tidak ingat tujuan sebenar mereka membeli polisi? Boleh berikan contoh?

Samuel: Selalunya ejen sendiri yang telah lupa mengenainya atau tidak tekankan penggunaan polisi itu. Pelanggan juga selalu lupa setelah mendengarkan promosi lebih hebat dari syarikat lain bagi produk mereka. Mereka juga kadang-kala tertarik dengan produk baru di pasaran dan ianya membuatkan mereka abaikan polisi mereka yang sedia ada.

Contoh yang baik ialah pelanggan saya sendiri, X. X beli polisi 5 tahun lalu yang bertujuan untuk lindungi pendapatannya dan juga perlindungan perubatan. Tetapi sekarang kerana tekanan kewangan dalam mendirikan sebuah keluarga, X buat keputusan agar menamatkan polisinya dan sebaliknya mengambil polisi untuk anak-anaknya. Mungkin ramai yang berpendapat ini suatu langkah yang mulia dari seorang ayah, tetapi sebenarnya ianya memberi risiko yang lebih tinggi kepada keluarganya. Kerana dia adalah satu-satunya sumber nafkah bagi keluarganya dan jika sesuatu yang tidak diingini berlaku padanya, ia akan memudaratkan keluarganya. Mereka mungkin terpaksa menjual aset untuk meneruskan kehidupan.

 

iBanding: Bagi insurans kenderaan, apakah kesilapan lazim rakyat Malaysia terutamanya ketika kemalangan?

Samuel: Pertama sekali, mereka tidak menginsuranskan pada nilai sebenar kenderaan (under-insurance), jadi apabila tuntutan berlaku, pelanggan marah dengan jumlah dibayar oleh syarikat. Seterusnya, pelanggan tidak memiliki polisi cermin kenderaan yang secukupnya. Ini penting terutama bagi yang berulang-alik menggunakan lebuhraya. Juga, pastikan hanya hantarkan kereta ke bengkel panel syarikat insurans. Jangan terpedaya dengan pihak tidak bertanggungjawab yang muncul di tempat kemalangan. Hubungi talian bantuan syarikat insurans anda.

Bahaya Jika Terkurang Insurans (Under-Insurance)

 

iBanding: Apakah rahsia kerjaya anda?

Samuel: Saya tidak beranggap apa yang saya kecapi ini sebagai kejayaan. Rasanya jauh lagi perjalanan saya. Mungkin boleh dikatakan rahsia saya ialah saya sentiasa gigih berusaha. Keazaman adalah kunci utama bagi saya. Saya cuba sedaya upaya untuk majukan diri dan tidak menyerah kalah. Mentor saya selalu ingatkan saya kata-kata ini yang terpahat di ingatan saya: “Berselesalah dengan keadaan yang tidak selesa”. Sungguh bermakna.

 

iBanding: Apakah situasi yang paling mencabar pernah anda hadapi sebagai ejen insurans?

Samuel: Sehingga kini, situasi paling mencabar adalah apabila seorang pelanggan saya dapati tuntutannya ditolak dengan alasan non-disclosure (ketakdedahan). Ianya suatu situasi yang amat sukar untuk ditangani kerana kami berdua tahu tiada kesalahan yang telah kami lakukan. Terdapat kesilapan dari infomasi yang diterima dari pihak hospital. Tetapi kerana penyiasatan telah dimulakan, kami terpaksa akur. Saya terpaksa uruskan pelanggan saya yang mana tuntutannya ditangguhkan selama 3 bulan, ia bukanlah perkara mudah. Tetapi akhirnya ianya diterima. Lega rasanya. Sejak itu tiada lagi situasi yang menakutkan.

 

iBanding: Boleh terangkan jenis rawatan apakah yang dimaksudkan? Jika diberi peluang, apakah yang boleh anda ubah?

Samuel: Ianya rawatan bahu yang terkehel akibat sukan bola keranjang. Dikenangkan kembali, saya sepatutnya menjelaskan prosedur tuntutan dengan jelas dan mengapa syarikat insurans begitu payah dalam membayar tuntutan yang berlaku dalam masa 2 tahun pertama polisi. Terma itu jelas tertera di dalam polisi, saya gagal terangkannya kepada pelanggan

 

iBanding: Apakah cabaran terbesar yang anda hadapi sebagai ejen hari ini?

Samuel: Teknologi semakin canggih digunakan dalam industri ini. Sesetengahnya memudahkan kerja, tetapi ada juga yang menyingkirkan kami dari process pembelian insurans! Selain itu, penguatkuasaan perundangan antara syarikat sepatutnya diperketatkan kerana sekarang ini banyak kes ROP (replacement of policies) dan kes memancing ejen. Juga, dengan penguatkuasaan PDPA, kami perlu mencari cara baru yang lebih kreatif dalam mendapatkan prospek. Kaedah cold-calling dan sms tidak lagi efektif.

 

iBanding: Terangkan ROP. 

Samuel: Replacement of policies – penggantian polisi. Apabila anda menyuruh pelanggan agar tamatkan atau biarkan polisi sedia ada luput tanpa bayaran agar dia boleh membeli polisi baru. Ianya tindakan tidak beretika kerana keadaan pelanggan mungkin tidak sebaik atau sesihat seperti mana semasa beliau mengambil polisi sebelumnya. Jadi pengambilan polisi baru mungkin hanya merugikan dari segi terma dan juga premium. Beliau juga mungkin kehilangan beberapa perlindungan jika dibandingkan dengan polisi sebelumnya.

 

iBanding: Ke mana anda rasa arah tuju industri insurans tahun hadapan? Dan bagaimana pula arah tujunya 5 tahun dari sekarang.

Samuel: Saya anggarkan akan terdapat liberalisasi dari pihak berkuasa di tahun akan datang. Ini suatu keadaan yang bagus, kerana pasaran yang semakin matang. Tetapi di masa depan kelak, keadaan mungkin berubah. Konsumer akan menjadi semakin cekap teknologi, dan lebih maklum dalam membuat keputusan terhadap pembelian mereka. Teknologi akan memainkan peranan penting perniagaan. Tugas ejen pula mungkin akan diselaraskan di mana syarat lebih ketat akan dikenakan untuk memastikan hanya ejen sepenuh masa dikekalkan.

Kami mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Samuel kerana meluangkan masa untuk temubual ini bersama kami. Jika anda ada soalan mengenai insurans atau jika anda sedang mencari ajen di Kuala Lumpur atau Selangor, lihat profil Samuel dalam Direktori Ejen kami dan hubungi beliau.

 

 

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