Of Elections, Insurance and Cost of Living

Indubitably one of the hottest topics surrounding Singapore’s General Elections 2011, cost of living appears to be one of Singaporeans’ top concerns. “Insurance” has also been used quite prominently as an analogy.

Naturally, political parties, the incumbent and opposition alike, have made it a point to address such issues amidst the lead up to Polling Day on May 7.

With local politics and personal finance two of my favourite interests, a post on the matter is inevitable.

Whenever “cost of living” is brought up, people start to talk about the high housing prices, escalating costs of food and the rising transportation fares. While these are certainly necessities, it appears to me that people have forgotten about one necessity – insurance. It seems that most Singaporeans do not know they are overpaying for insurance that are under-insuring them.

Far from being just a analogy for an opposition voice in Parliament, insurance is a very necessary part of each individual’s survival in Singapore. Insurance also happens to be one of the heaviest financial obligations for a family after their housing mortgage. Indeed, many families who are struggling with daily necessities will find it hard-pressed to purchase insurance that cannot be seen or felt, especially when it is expensive.

There are some amongst those who campaign under the flag of caring for people’s interests and wanting to curb cost of living who belong to the tied sales forces of large insurers. It does not gel well with me that on the political side of things, the person belongs to an organisation which declares its intention to care for the impact of high prices on people, and on the occupational side of things belong to a company that sells one of the most expensive policies around.

How does one campaign on issues like an unbearable cost of living when they themselves, in their work lives, perpetuate a distribution model that offers their clients expensive policies? This is of course going to be disputed by various tied agents, but I would like to point out that at the very least, there are some companies whose tied agents can at least deliver not too bad financial solutions for their clients. On the other hand, there are those that I’m referring to which do not.

Nevertheless I suppose this forms only a small percentage of the people involved in the upcoming elections and I support their desire and goal to allow every Singaporean the chance to have a say. With 82 out of 87 seats contested and so much drama happening on Nomination Day already, this certainly shapes up to be an exciting General Election to watch.

Thumbs up to keep me writing more!