An expert’s advice: He is a coach and consultant, Steve Tan has been coaching insurance planning and agency management for over 3 decades. We are blessed to have him on a special interview series to share on proper insurance planning.

He’ll cover these questions in Part 5 of this series

  • Should I buy insurance online?
  • There are ethical and unethical agents. How do we differentiate them?
  • What can we do if we encounter those unethical agents?
  • What is the practice of a professional agent?

For those who love reading, here’s subtitles for you to read through if you don’t want to go through the whole video.


Should I buy insurance online?

Q: Welcome back to Moving onto the next topic. The internet has made information easily accessible. There are some insurance companies moving into ecommerce to make buying insurance convenient. What’s your view on this?

A: This is a story that dates back about a decade ago, where people are trying to move insurance into ecommerce to automate the process of selling insurance. however since then till now, there was no successful attempts. Even Jack Ma wants to implement this change I believe insurance in ecommerce can be done but not as a whole Why? Cause professional insurance agents will always be needed. This is a fact that cannot be changed. Look at the United States, Japan and many other big nations, They have been trying to automate the selling process of insurance. in order to remove professional insurance agents from the equation. But it didn’t work and professional insurance agents are still needed till today.


There are ethical and unethical agents. How do we differentiate them?

Q: In the current market, the public have a common concern related to the agent’s business ethics There are ethical and unethical agents. How do we differentiate them?

A: In the end, those who can still serve as insurance agents are those professional insurance agents with strong integrity As I have said before, these are insurance advisor. Of course those who are unethical will eventually be eliminated. How to identify those who are unethical? It’s very simple.

Exaggeration of facts.

For example, if company A launch a new product. The company will give full disclosure to the public. but we have to be cautious as some agents who will exaggerate by saying “if you put 100k into this new product I’ll guarantee you a 20k profit in a year ” that’s exaggeration. This is too good to be true! Usually in insurance, if nothing happens, the return is in between 4% to 5% and it is a compounding interest. Plus it’s profit after tax. So it’s 4% to 5% and generally it’s around 4.5% or less. This depends on the performance of the investments. That is why, 20% profit is definitely not possible. So it is an exaggeration.

Buying from relatives, friends & neighbours.

There will always be cases of facts being exaggerated because most people opt to buy insurance from their relatives, friends, and neighbours. Particularly, when buying their first 3 insurance policies, most people will buy from their friends who are agents. Simply because “My neighbour won’t cheat me” “the monk can run away, but the temple won’t run with him” (chinese idiom) “Friends don’t cheat”. We never doubt them but the truth is, there’s still possibilities of them being unethical. Therefore, professionalism should always come first.


What can we do if we encounter those unethical agents?

Q: If we ever encounter unprofessional insurance agents, what kind of actions can we take?

A: Running away from something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! My advise is, report to relevant departments. All insurance companies should have this one specific department. This department is known as compliance department. Make the complain to the manager of this department, and an internal investigation will be conducted. They are an independent party that’ll investigate thoroughly During the investigation, the agent will be summoned for an explanation If the agent is found to be guilty of misconduct or mislead, this agent will be terminated. I believe that bad apple must be thrown out of the industry. Ok, in every industry there’s a very professional authority to govern them. Just like our national bank, which stipulates compliance. as well as Unions and etc These organizations or associations are putting in effort to eliminate agents who are unprofessional.


What is the practice of a professional agent?

Q: That’s right, so how to distinguish professional and unprofessional?

A: This is very important. A professional agent will put my interest as priority and helps me to do an analysis It’s because doctors will not prescribe a treatment without diagnosis That is why you need a doctor. So if the doctor follows procedure, he will not put prescription as priority but diagnosis instead only then he can prescribe a prescription. A prescription that’s suitable for me. If an agent follows the same procedure, he’ll first try to understand then help me plan, calculate and estimate my risk before recommending his product to me. I consider this agent professional. If he can’t do this, it will be suspicious. It’s that simple to distinguish professional and unprofessional.

Host: Ok, that’s a wrap of today’s topic. Thank you, Steve Tan for clarifying and addressing the questions above for our viewers and for the public. Thank you very much and let’s have another session soon! if you have any questions drop us a note at or at our Facebook page. Thank you for watching. Remember to give us a like and subscribe to for latest updates.



Buying insurance online is definitely more convenient, however I will only buy motor insurance online as it is more straightforward. I will always opt to buy from a professional insurance advisor when it comes to medical and life insurance. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if the person that we are engaging with is a friend, relative or neighbour. So long that person practices professional conduct, we are at a safe place.

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