Purpose of Insurance

I’ve recently had to fight over a few months with the claims director of an insurer to pay a valid claim to my client. The quibble the claims director had was over procedural matters and there was absolutely no doubt that the defaulting borrower owed money. In fact, the borrower already issued an confirmation of debt.

So even though the claim director agreed to pay the claim, he wanted some additional documents executed.

In the end, we had to get my global head to talk to the head at the insurance company to resolve the issue but it’s too late. I received instruction from the client to use them less in future.

I thus wonder if it’s worth it from the insurer’s point of view? Now you’re going to pay the claim but your client has decided you’re a pain in the ass and does not wish to work with you in future. You’ve lost both the battle and the war.

I also wonder if insurers remember why insurance started is because people decided to pool together to share risks and with risk comes claims. As an underwriter, if you had a clean loss record doesn’t mean you’re a good underwriter at all. It just means you were useless in sharing risk. And I’m not saying this because I’m a broker. I started my insurance career as an underwriter albeit in life insurance.

A good underwriter prices the risk correctly such that the risk pool he underwrites contributes a fair premium into the total pool to fund claims.

Well, I suppose some lessons need to be learnt the hard way.

Hong Kong 5-7 June 2016 / GTR Conference

Reflections:
This is my second business trip to HK, which I always find ironic since it took 15 years of working life before work brought me to a country I enjoy visiting so much; and of which among my colleagues, I’m the only one who speaks Cantonese.

I know TST area better than I know Orchard Road. Which probably means that the rate of development in HK is slower than Singapore. I always find new things when I visit Orchard Rd say 4-5 times a year but I haven’t seen much changes in HK the last 5 years.

It was interesting during the Global Trade Review conference today when Singapore was brought up quite a few times as a comparison and highlighted as a competitor/threat to HK. (Comparisons were made in trade, corporate treasury and talent pool). I was reminded that there was a time when Singapore used to use HK as a benchmark in the finance sector but it’s been so long ago that I’ve forgotten about it. Singapore has really matured as a financial hub. It seems like we’re now benchmarking against the world while HK is benchmarking us.

A banker, who used to be my HK colleague’s boss in their previous company, commented to my colleague “how come my hair is so funky”. Indeed, work decorum in Singapore has changed a lot. I wouldn’t have dreamt of having purple and pink hair 15 years ago. In fact, people in banking would hardly have dyed their hair at all but no one cares now. We have come a long way in developing what’s our own acceptable norm.

I used to want to work in HK because I loved the vibrancy of the city. But its lights are dimmer now.

Swingsation 2016

I used to say I wouldn’t want to go for an Australian WCS event cos I would rather save my leave for events in the US. So it was really on a whim that I signed up quite last minute to go for Swingsation. The primary factor was that I really wanted to make it out of Novice and felt I needed one more competition after Asia West Coast Swing Open to do it.

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And so I did! The 4th place finish means I’m now in Intermediate. Yay! I didn’t jump for joy during awards but I did have a sense of satisfaction. Goal in attending Swingsation met!

Dance side, I also realised that because I don’t socialise much in Singapore in my attempt to balance family, bunnies, work and dance – Asia Open was pretty much spent getting to know the other local dancers in the scene – overseas events then is the opportunity to know some of the overseas dancers who often visit our shores but whom I didn’t get the chance to talk before.

The greatest take away from Swingsation was this to know some of the Malaysian WCS dancers. I found some very genuine, sincere and helpful people.

Anyway, I already know what I want to work on so time to further develop myself! 🙂

Private with Larisa Tingle (22 Apr 2016)

• Basics as a follower:

1. Good posture.

2. Take a deep breath and breathe out. Think of 4 tracks – left arm, left leg, right arm, right leg. 

3. Pitch – shoulders over front of heel, tits over toes.

4. The above constitutes our frame which should be maintained at all times.

5. Rope will be shorter – need to take a smaller 4.

• Shorter rope = more styling options. Play with angles and shape but always remember to maintain basic footwork – walk walk, triple step. Do not reset!

• Settling – always take either the back or a side away from the lead. Same whether in close hold or open position.

• Head should look for the lead. Focus on chin and chest so as to be aware of the angle he’s giving. 

• Grip – use first knuckle instead of second to avoid fingers slipping, which results in pockets of no connection. 

Disappointments

So this has been bugging me most of the afternoon. I was quite disappointed that despite having done training at least twice, and preparing condensed notes on insurance law, my staff still didn’t grasp a very fundamental concept.

I didn’t want to spoonfeed him the answer so I told him to refer to the law notes I gave him before, and to let me know the correct answer to the question by the end of the day.

When evening came, he told me he had the answer… Unfortunately, it was wrong. I then glanced at his screen and saw that he googled the question and that made me even more disappointed. Not knowing a fundamental concept is already bad enough but to then ignore my advice on where the answer can be found?

I give up. 反正我的话都是耳边风。

Consequences

Feeling bad abt telling a colleague off but also feeling annoyed that even after I said repeatedly that the client is on compliance leave and cannot work on any deals, my colleague wrote in his e-mail, “As spoken earlier…”

Luckily I stopped him before the e-mail went out. Unfortunately, my reaction was a little harsh – I said, “Are you trying to fucking kill the client?”

He just doesn’t seem convinced that breaching compliance leave has serious consequences if you’re in a bank. And I did say to address the e-mail to the client’s boss! ARGH!

Sense of Entitlement Indeed

I know we’re only 2 months into 2016 but I may have come across the most ridiculous thing for this year already!

I was proof reading a tender document today when I saw that an overseas colleague listed “sense of entitlement” as a positive trait of a broker. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me so I showed my boss the slide. His response was, “WTF? So he thinks we’ll win the account just by showing up is it?”