Last Updated on 27, April 2014
I received the following email from a disillusion insurance agent. What the person described below is very real but it is an unspoken “pain” that all insurance agents go through.
I am currently a new insurance agent with one of the big companies in Singapore. I am probably getting a bit disillusioned now, what with the huge focus on sales rather than financial planning. Most of our sales come from tricking students or NSFs into signing up for $30 whole life plans with a cash value under the guise of a "savings plan". This is why you can always spot an army of insurance agents at XXX or XXX bus interchange on XXX nights. We are told to avoid mentioning things like bonuses not being guaranteed, and that our presentation should be focused on making clients believe that we are offering something they have to buy. Our "fact finding" is limited to finding out whether they are primarily interested in protections, savings or investment, followed by their budget. I am told this is because we are not paid to do financial planning, so we could spend an hour or more doing fact find for a client who will refuse to buy anything, in other words, we would end up providing a professional service for free. I feel this is largely the fault of the commission structure. I feel very unethical about this, but at the same time, i do need money to make ends meet. Unfortunately with the commission structure i am being encouraged to simply sell the highest commission products possible. While a term plan might be more appropriate in some cases, i cannot sell it as i will not receive sufficient commission to cover the cost of prospecting for the client and meeting the client, and worse a term plan is not considered a "life case" so i will be screamed at by my boss (i have seen some bosses throw heavy objects at their agents and i feel concerned for my safety). I was not even given product training on anything except the highest commission products. My daily activities leave me even more confused with what i am doing. Most of my time is spent doing public surveys and attempting to trick people into meeting with me under the guise of following up on the survey. So far i have spent about 3 weeks doing this with no real results, due to the incredible amount of people who do not EVER pick up their phones, give fake numbers, or constantly postponing appointments. And i am simply being told to keep doing it and that i will get lucky one day and strike the jackpot. This seems like a gigantic waste of time. Isnt there a better way to find people interested in financial planning, insurance or investment? Most people seem to have absolutely no desire whatsoever to do any planning, i have 25 year old working adults telling me that they just leave it to their parents, who are nearing retirement age already, or they just flat out say that planning is not necessary and that the government takes care of things already with CPF. I definitely want to be in the financial planning business to help people, but i seriously doubt i am walking the right road now. Any advice? I have considered being a IFA as it seems more ethical and professional, but i do not know how IFAs work, and i am seriously concerned about the idea of "jumping over" only to find out that a manager lied to me again.
I had the permission of the author of the email to post this email.
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