Sudibyo M. Wiradji (Jakarta Post)
Thu, December 22, 2022
Staying optimistic is a good attitude to take, but is it enough to overcome negative experiences or misfortunes?
Most Indonesians view life with optimism, but this trait is increasingly being questioned given the unavoidable risk it poses to their financial situation.
A young family with two young children will face serious hardship if the father, the breadwinner, loses his job when his employer decides to cut staff due to the stagnation of the protracted COVID-19 pandemic.
This example illustrates how an unexpected event, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can pose real risks to a family’s financial situation.
In fact, life holds many unexpected threats, such as natural disasters, illnesses, accidents, job loss, rising prices due to inflation, multiple births and deaths.
During a recent Zoom interview, Shierly Ge, chief marketing officer at insurer Sun Life Indonesia, pointed out that all these risks that could affect household finances could be anticipated and managed by first transferring them to an insurer.
It should also be noted that apart from optimism as a hallmark, most Indonesians, especially those in the productive population, are procrastinating. This is particularly true when it comes to preparing for your future, which is a long-term goal.
Working couples who have started a family have many financial obligations to meet, such as daily necessities, monthly home loan payments, school fees, and medical care.
According to Shierly, these more immediate needs partly explain why young families are slow to come up with a long-term financial plan. Also, setting a long-term financial goal means that they have to wait a long time until they can reap the benefits.
“As a consequence, they get into financial trouble when a surprise [event] it happens suddenly,” Shierly said.
To deal with potential risks, families need to shift their mindset from delaying financial planning to doing one now as a proactive measure.
“This way, they can continue with their lives with peace of mind. That’s why we launched the #AdaAja [surprise] campaign,” he said.
“We want to remind people of the importance of taking real action, because anticipation is not enough, given the huge financial risks” at stake.
As part of its attempt to increase people’s awareness of insurance, Sun Life Indonesia runs public education programs such as Sun Bright, which focuses on education and financial education. The programs are supported by the Financial Services Authority (OJK).
The program is aimed at different segments, from primary school students to young mothers, and has sensitized many adults about the importance of insurance to anticipate the risks they may face in life.
“We also encourage them to be aware that they can transfer their life risks to an insurance company so as not to affect their family’s financial planning, should the unforeseen occur. [event] it happens to the family. The family can get on with their lives,” Shierly stressed.
“When building a financial plan [and] depending on your goals, you can save money for your children, either for education or for a future wedding,” he continued.
“If you have an insurance policy, then your financial plan will be safe because in case something unexpected happens, like a bad experience that brings risk, the insurer will handle the risk that you have transferred.”
The main driver of the #AdaAja campaign was to encourage “financial planning and holistically healthier living, which includes being financially healthy,” Shierly explained.
“If we are not financially healthy, we cannot be physically healthy either,” he added.
“Our goal is to help more Indonesian families achieve holistic health, especially financially.”
Sharing her own experience, Shierly revealed how she started making a financial plan when she started a family in the early years of her married life.
“Having a family with young children was the main driver for our decision to anticipate risk, in case one of us was unable to work or passed away,” he explained.
“We wanted our children to have a good education despite everything,” which led her and her husband to “transfer the risk to an insurer” as a solution.
And since she and her husband both worked, they also decided to take out an asset accumulation plan.
“Working at an insurance company allowed me to learn that a policy can also be used as a tool for building assets, which can be passed down to my children as beneficiaries,” Shierly said.
For example, he said, a married couple could leave assets worth 1 billion rupees (US$64,000) to their children as beneficiaries.
“The couple pays a premium, for example, Rs 10 crore for an insured sum of Rs 1 billion (premium depends on seniority),” he said, noting that this figure was relatively lower than the initial payment of 20 -30 percent required for a property of the same price.
The Rs 100 crore premium could also be paid monthly, Shierly added, meaning the couple would pay less than Rs 10 crore each month.
Unlike the purchase of a house, in which the certificate of ownership would not be issued to the buyer until the installments were finished, an insurance policy belonged to the underwriter as soon as the first installment was paid.
“If the couple dies, their children as beneficiaries have the right to the property. This is one of the benefits of the asset accumulation product,” she said.
strong and reliable
Sun Life was established 157 years ago in Canada.
“Sun Life’s long lifespan is proof that it is financially strong and reliable despite facing various economic crises and unexpected challenges like a pandemic, and that Sun Life always keeps its promises,” Shierly said.
The local subsidiary of the global insurer, Sun Life Indonesia, has developed a multi-channel distribution system that incorporates marketing staff, agents, banks and partners, so that Sun Life products are easily accessible throughout Indonesia.
In addition, Sun Life Indonesia has developed a mobile application to better serve its customers. Its dedicated app, My Sun Life Indonesia, allows customers to conduct transactions, access policy information, and contact Sun Life directly about all their policy needs.
“In terms of products, we offer a complete range, which includes pure insurance products, health products, a pension plan, as well as investments. [products] in line with the needs of the clients and their stage of life”, said Shierly.
Shierly added that she hoped more Indonesians would start a sound financial plan as the best solution to living a healthier life.
Shierly also shared advice drawn from her personal and professional experience in insurance for discerning consumers in their prime.
Firsttry to understand the difference between needs and wants.
“Yes, after giving it some thought, you can delay [getting] something you want, then this is a want rather than a need,” he advised.
Second, wage earners, whether their income comes from a job or from their own business, must first divide their income by prioritizing needs before spending it on purchases, and not the other way around. If shopping comes first, there is usually no money left over to cover expenses and other necessities.
Third, build productive assets, or assets that generate ongoing income, such as rental properties, rather than consumer assets, or assets intended primarily for consumption, such as food.
“For those who understand their needs well, taking out an insurance policy will be one of their priorities,” Shierly said.
As the #AdaAja campaign illustrates, surprises, whether they carry negative or positive risks, are an unavoidable reality faced by everyone at any stage of life.
Transferring these risks to an insurer is a solution that provides peace of mind so that you and your loved ones can continue to lead healthy lives, regardless of what life throws your way.
And Sun Life, with its full range of products, is ready to handle your life’s risks as a trusted and trusted insurer.