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Insurance firms must be made to justify higher premiums: TODAY voices

A reader of TODAY wrote in to the publication regarding his thoughts about the increase in insurance premiums:

I see two current issues regarding insurance that impact cost of living. One is the wide range of premiums for health insurance offering similar hospitalisation coverage and the ability of insurers to hike premiums by a large quantum upon renewal.

He is quite astute to note that the cost of insurance policies does impact cost of living — significantly so, I might add. I get this feeling that most Singaporeans do not seem to notice this fact at all, seemingly buying policies without much thought or research, perhaps out of a misplaced trust in the person selling them these policies. When it comes to increasing food prices or transport fares, the same people are understandably upset at the rising costs of living, but they seem oblivious to the fact that a bad insurance portfolio can cost them so much more over their lifetimes.

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When Boyfriends Give Bad Financial Advice

I’ve had a few friends who went through breakups with their significant others over the past year, and incidentally, two of them had boyfriends who are in the financial advisory industry. Coincidentally, both are from the same Licensed Financial Advisory (LFA) firm. While better than tied insurance agents because of their capacity to recommend a good and proper financial portfolio, I regard this company (like many others, actually) to be a sales-focussed firm. They even made the newspaper for certain dubious business practices.

I have always been curious about the kind of recommendations my friends’ boyfriends would give them, and I have not had the opportunity to find out until their break ups. I was shocked but perhaps not entirely surprised to see that both had poorly constructed financial portfolios. One of them was underinsured and encumbered by the monthly premium obligation. The other was quite adequately insured but at a high cost, and her investment portfolio consisted largely of endowment and investment-linked policies that had very high charges compared to the alternatives I can think of. She too could not keep up her premium obligations despite having a relatively well-paying job. Both of them eventually lapsed some policies as they could not keep up with the high financial obligations.

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Understanding CPF Insurance Schemes

I am speaking at a seminar next month regarding the various CPF insurance schemes available for CPF members.

Are you confused by the various CPF insurance schemes that you invariably enrolled in if you contribute to CPF? Do you know what options you have for these schemes? How does one utilise his/her CPF to obtain better coverage?

The talk would be useful in helping attendees understand various CPF insurance schemes such as DPS, Medishield, as well as Eldershield which is pertinent for people above 40, or individuals with parents above 40 who are financially dependent on them.

There is currently an early-bird discount until 1st May 2013.

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Television Interview About Gold Buyback Schemes and Gold Investment

I was recently asked to speak on a television programme catered for the elderly about the topic of dubious gold buyback schemes and a few proper ways of investing in gold.

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