Sudibyo M. Wiradji (The Jakarta Post)
Jakarta ● Thu, December 22, 2022 2022-12-22 11:14 0 5aba7b8a7e7e6df2023f04d0fa181d84 4 Companies Sun-Life,Sun-Life-Indonesia Free
Staying optimistic is a good attitude to take, but is it enough to overcome negative experiences or misfortune?
The majority of Indonesian people view life with optimism, but this trait has come increasingly under question, given the inevitable risk it poses to their financial situation.
A young family with two small children will face serious hardships if the father, the family’s breadwinner, loses his job when his employer decides to downsize staff due to stagnation from the prolonged 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, including natural disasters, disease, accidents, job loss, rising prices due to inflation, multiple births and death.
During a recent Zoom interview, Shierly Ge, chief marketing officer at insurer Sun Life Indonesia, pointed out that all these risks that might impact household finances could be anticipated and managed by first transferring them to an insurer.
It must also be noted that apart from optimism as a characteristic trait, the majority of Indonesians, especially those in the productive population, are inclined to procrastination. This is particularly so when it comes to preparing for their future, which is a long-term objective.
Working couples that have started a family have many financial obligations to fulfill, such as daily needs, monthly housing loan payments, school fees and health care.
According to Shierly, these more immediate needs partly explain why young families delay in building a long-term financial plan. In addition, setting a long-term financial goal means they must wait a long time until they can reap the benefits.
“As a consequence, they get into financial trouble when a surprise [event] suddenly occurs,” said Shierly.
To deal with potential risks, families should change their mindset from delaying financial planning to making one now as an anticipatory measure.
“This way, they can continue their lives with peace of mind. That’s why we launched the #AdaAja [surprise] campaign,” she said.
“We want to remind people of the importance of taking real action, because anticipation is not enough, given the big financial risks” at stake.
As part of its bid to raise people’s awareness about insurance, Sun Life Indonesia runs public education programs like Sun Bright, which focuses on financial literacy and education. The programs are supported by the Financial Services Authority (OJK).
The program targets different segments, from elementary school students to young mothers, and has made many adults aware of the importance of insurance to anticipate the risks they might face in life.
“We also encourage them to be aware that they can transfer their life risks to an insurance company to avoid affecting their family’s financial planning, in case an unexpected [event] happens to the family. The family can continue with their lives,” Shierly stressed.
“By building a financial plan [and] depending on your objectives, you can save money for your children, whether for education or a future wedding,” she continued.
“If you hold an insurance policy, then your financial plan will be safe because in the event of a surprise occurrence, such as a bad experience that brings risks, the insurer will handle the risk that you have transferred.”
The main driver behind the #AdaAja campaign was to encourage “financial planning and a holistically healthier life, which includes being healthy financially”, explained Shierly.
“If we are not financially healthy, we cannot be physically healthy, either,” she added.
“Our aim 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 small children was the main driver of our decision to anticipate risk, in case one of us was unable to work or died,” she explained.
“We wanted our children to have a good education regardless,” which prompted her and her husband “to transfer the risk to an insurer” as a solution.
And because both she and her husband worked, they also decided to take out an asset accumulation plan.
“Working at an insurance company allowed me to learn that a policy could also be used as an instrument of asset accumulation, which can be bequeathed to my children as beneficiaries,” Shierly said.
For example, she said, a married couple could bequeath assets worth Rp 1 billion (US$64,000) to their children as beneficiaries.
“The couple pays a premium, for example, Rp 10 million for sum assured Rp 1 billion (premium depends on age),” she said, noting that this figure was relatively lower than the 20-30 percent down payment required for a property of the same price.
The Rp 100 million premium could also be paid in monthly basis, Shierly added, which meant that the couple would pay less than Rp 10 million each month.
Unlike buying a house, in which the certificate of ownership would not be given to the buyer until they finished paying the installments, an insurance policy belonged to the subscriber as soon they paid the first installment.
“If the couple dies, their children as beneficiaries are entitled to the asset. This is one of the benefits of the asset accumulation product,” she said.
Strong and trustworthy
Sun Life was established 157 years ago in Canada.
“Sun Life’s long life span is proof that it is financially strong and trustworthy despite facing several economic crisis and unexpected challenges such as pandemic, and that Sun Life always keeps its promises,” said Shierly.
The global insurer’s local subsidiary, Sun Life Indonesia, has developed a multichannel distribution system that incorporates marketing personnel, agents, banks and partners, so Sun Life’s products are easily accessible across Indonesia.
In addition, Sun Life Indonesia has developed a mobile application to better serve its customers. Its dedicated application, My Sun Life Indonesia, enables customers to make transactions, access policy information and contact Sun Life directly on all their policy needs.
“In terms of products, we provide a complete range, including pure insurance products, health products, a pension plan as well as investment [products] in line with customers’ needs and their life stage,” said Shierly.
Shierly added that she hoped more Indonesians would start a solid financial plan as the best solution for living healthier lives.
Shierly also shared tips drawn from her personal and professional experience in insurance for discerning consumers in their productive age.
First, try to understand the difference between needs and wants.
“If, after some thought, you can delay [getting] something you desire, then this is a want instead of a need,” she advised.
Second, wage earners, whether their income comes from a job or their own business, should first divide their income by prioritizing needs before spending it on shopping, and not the other way around. If shopping comes first, there is usually no money left to cover expenses and other needs.
Third, build productive assets, or assets that bring in continuous income, such as property for renting out, instead of consumption assets, or assets that are primarily intended for consumption, such as food.
“For those who understand their needs well, taking out an insurance policy will be one of their priorities,” said Shierly.
As the #AdaAja campaign illustrates, surprises, whether they carry negative or positive risks, are an inevitable reality that all people face at any stage in life.
Transferring these risks to an insurer is a solution that brings peace of mind so you and your loved ones can continue to lead healthy lives, regardless of what life throws your way.
And Sun Life, with its complete range of products, is ready to handle your life risks as a trusted and reliable insurer.