Saturday, September 19, 2015

Here to avoid getting into problems with insurance claims

It is quite common for consumers to face difficulty with insurance claims, especially on health insurance. Here is my advice to them, on how to avoid these problems.

Unprofitable businesses

I made a study of the corporate profit in Singapore and found the following:
In year of assessment 2011, a total of 57,000 companies reported a total profit of $90.4 billion, while 106,000 companies reported a total loss of $63.8 billion.
Why are so many companies reporting a loss? It represented 65% of companies making a tax return.
The number of loss making companies increased from 104,000 in 2003 to 165,000 in 2011. The average loss per company increased from $210,000 to $600,000. This is a staggering sum.
Do these figures suggest that it is difficult for small businesses to be profitable in Singapore and that the cost of doing business is so high?
And, if it is not profitable, how do so many companies continue to be in business, reporting a loss. Where do they get the capital to keep funding the loss?
Read the answer here:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Indisputability clause in an insurance policy

If your insurance company rejects a claim under a life or health insurance policy and give the reason that you (the policyholder) did not disclose a pre-existing condition, you should look at "indisputability clause" in the policy document.

This clause usually states that the insurance company will not dispute a claim after, say, 1 or 2 years, except in the case of fraud.

If you were not aware of a pre-existing condition or did not know that it need to be declared, the the insurance company is not allowed to reject the claim. If the insurance company wishes to reject it due to fraud, it has the onus to prove that the policyholder intends to defraud the insurance company. It is difficult for them to prove that there was intent to defraud.

Grant long term visit pass for foreign spouses of Singaporeans

Dear Mr. Tan

I give English lessons to Vietnamese spouses of Singaporeans. I learned that some of these spouses are still on short term visit passes (1 or 3 months) and have to leave Singapore regularly. Some of them have children. This is inconvenient for the family and affects the children adversely.

Should these spouses be offered a long term visit pass (1 or 3 years) or even permanent residency?

They are the foreign spouses of Singaporeans. It is rather harsh to ask them  to leave the country every few months. I agree that this is disruptive for the family, especially for the children.

I cannot understand why these foreign spouses of Singaporeans are not granted the same long term visit passes as the spouses of foreigners who are granted e-pass to work in Singapore.

This practice seems to discriminate against Singaporeans who have served National Service! Why are they treated worse than the foreigners on e-pass?

I suggest that the government should:

1) Grant long term visit pass for the foreign spouses of Singaporean males and females on the first marriage of the Singaporean.
2) When the family has children, the foreign spouse should be granted permanent residency.
3) The permanent residency may be revoked on divorce.
4) This treatment should be extended to all foreign spouses, regardless of their working status. Non-working mothers also carry out an important role in raising children for the family.

New domain for The Wisdom Of The Crowd

The Wisdom of the Crowd website has now moved to its own domain.

You can view and vote on the issues here:

Insurance company rejected a health insurance claim for $300,000

his elderly woman, who was not well educated, was advised by the agent to upgrade from a shield C plan to a shield A plan. She took the advice.

15 months later, she was diagnosed for colon cancer. She went to a public hospital and was advised to be treated in a private hospital as she was covered under a shield A plan.
Her treatment cost a staggering $300,000. Yes - $300,000 in a private hospital!

The insurance company rejected her claim as she did not disclose that she had diabetes when she upgraded her plan. She was not aware that it had to be declared, as the insurance agent filled up the upgrade form and did not explain to her about the need to disclose her health status.

I have come across a few cases of this kind in the past. I now advise the public - NEVER, NEVER upgrade your plan when you are elderly. You never know if your claim will be rejected for ONE REASON OR ANOTHER.

If she had been treated in a public hospital for the same condition, her bill is likely to be much lower. I do not know her case, but I guess it should be (say) $60,000.

Poor standard of insurance claim settlement

The standard of insurance claim settlement in Singapore is quite deplorable, due to lack of action by the regular, i.e. the MAS.
Read this latest case.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How does "Wisdom of the Crowd" get coined?

This graphic explains the concept of the wisdom of the crowd.
If many people guess the number of jellies, the average of their guesses will be quite close to the actual result!

Danger of upgrading a health insurance plan

Dear Mr. Tan

My family is currently in a dispute with an insurance company with regards to a health shield upgrade.

·        My mom is elderly, cannot read and speak very limited English.
·        She was on the health shield plan C for several years, and successfully did an upgrade to plan A in Feb 2014.
·        She has been diagnosed with colon cancer and has been treated in a private hospital since Apr 2015
·        The insurance company will not honor the upgrade to Plan A as there was no disclosure of my mum’s diabetes during the upgrade.  

My mom’s proficiency in the English language is limited. When filling up the upgrade documents and questionnaires, the agent did not go through the questionnaire in detail with my mum. My mum was not aware about what she was signing. her at all.

The insurance agent failed in his duty to help the policyholder to make a full disclosure of her medical condition for upgrading the plan. The insurance company was also negligent. Surely, they should know that an elderly person will have some medical condition. They should not rely on the questionnaire, especially as it was signed by the agent (who has a conflict of interest).

I have been approached on similar cases in the past - i.e. rejection of claim under an upgraded shield plan. I advise elderly people to stay with their current plan and avoid all types of upgrading. I downgraded to Medishield Basic myself, and will stick with it.

Why the PAP got more votes in GE 2015

I spoke to the two winners of the "Guess the PAP share of the Votes" contest.

Why did you guess that the PAP would get a bigger share of votes, when most people expect a smaller share?

Winner 1 - Civil servant
Singaporeans are kiasi. When they hear that the opposition is strong, they got scared and vote PAP. The passing of Mr LKY also played an important part.

Winner 2 - NS man
Mostly the passing of Mr. LKY. When the young people saw their grandparents cry, they must have felt that Mr. LKY did a lot for the country. So, they voted PAP.


Dear (two names with held)

I am happy to inform you that you have both submitted the closest answer to the final results. The final result was 69.9%. Your entry was for 70.1%.

The panel of judges have confirmed that you are the joint winners. You will share the cash prize of $500 equally, i.e. each of you will get $250 (SGD).

Are you able to visit my office (24 Sin Ming Lane #02-107 Midview City) on Saturday 19 September at 11 am to collect the cheque. I like to have a chat with you and also to take a photo with you - if you do not mind.

HDB should update its house rules

Someone told me that the HDB insists on viewing the original death certificate of her deceased mother, when it was quite clear (from the Government Register) that the mother had passed away. The HDB insisted that this is their "house rule".

Here are two troubling aspects of this behavior.

1) The civil servant insist on a requirement that is unnecessary and troublesome, because it is "the house rule". He (or she) does not care about how much trouble it cause to the citizen. He probably enjoys giving hassle to the public.

2) Why is this stupid rule allowed to remain for so many years? What has happened to the internal feedback system in HDB? What is happening to our Parliament? Surely, the MP could have raised this issue a few decades ago?

This is why we need an active and more balanced Parliament.

Voting by age groups

When I look at the pie charts of the votes for many issues, there is something troubling me about the voting by age groups. Can you spot what is troubling me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Show KBW be the next Minister for Transport?

Should Khaw Boon Wan be appointed as the next Minister for Transport? He is likely to do the job well, so there is no need for him to hara kiri. Agree?

We need more votes

I need your vote on the issues listed in The Wisdom of the Crowd website.

we need more votes to make the results more credible.

You can view the pie charts of the results and also the individual comments given by the voters.

Can HDB be more flexible?

Dear Mr. Tan
My mother passed away. I wanted to remove her name from my HDB flat as it was bought with her name. The HDB insist on viewing the original death certificate, but I had misplaced it.
Why can't they check the Death Registry to confirm that my mother had passed away? They insisted that viewing the death certificate is their "house rule". Why are they so rigid?
I also find it strange. I believe that the CPF does not require to view the original death certificate. It seemed that the HDB is out of date. Maybe, they enjoy making life difficult for the citizens?
I wonder if the Minister for National Development can ask the HDB CEO to hara kiri.

Will Singapore follow Japan in facing a "Lost Decade" ?

Towards the end of the 1980s, Japan had a big property bubble. The property prices were ridiculously high. When the bubble burst, Japan went through a decade (i.e. 10 years) of almost zero growth. This is called the "Lost Decade".

Singapore today is like Japan during the late 1980s. We are now prosperous because of our high property prices. We stand a high risk that our property bubble will also burst. When that happens, we could faced also a decade of slow growth.

Even if the bubble does not burst, it will remain a burden on the economy. Our cost of doing business and our cost of living is high, due to the high property prices. It will be a burden for businesses and for the people.

The government hopes to keep the property prices at the current level, and let inflation in the future restore the equilibrium. At our low rate of inflation, it may take 20 years to correct the imbalance. This is a very long time.

Sadly, it will be an uncertain and difficult future.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Let us vote directly

Here is our chance to vote directly on the issues that affect our future, rather than let an "idiot" vote for us while sleeping in Parliament.

Town council gets the blame, unfairly

My friend lives in a private house in Aljunied GRC. He said, "The residents of private housing estate does not realize that there is little that the town council can do to keep their estate clean. The roads and trees are the responsibility of LTA and the NEA, and not the town council. The town council does not have the funds for these work.".

He said, "If these agencies do not do their work well, deliberately or otherwise, the town council gets the blame. The residents may be unaware about this split of work".

I agree with this observation. We have a bad system where one person is responsible for one area, and another person is responsible for another area. The ordinary people gets confused.

Who is responsible for this type of confusing arrangement?

One party government

Are Singaporeans like frogs in boiling water, thinking only of short term gains and ignoring the dangers of a one party government?

Do you want job security?

Many people now have jobs that pay fairly well. They are comfortable. They are satisfied with that the economic environment created by the PAP Government.

They are like the frogs in a jug of boiling water. They feel comfortable. They do not know that when the water is being boiled. They adjust to the temperature. But, eventually, they will get cooked.

They only need to read the cases of PMETs and older workers that their jobs under this economic environment. This website contains many case stories.

One day, this tragedy may happen to many of those who are now happily employed.  Just like the frogs in the boiling water.

When that happens, they will turn to Transitioning.Org for help, for support and for sympathy. But there is not much that this website can do. But they try their best.

You may be employed now - but one day you may lose your jobs to low cost foreigners.

Are you happy to take this risk? Do you want your government to address this issue of providing employment security for the citizens of Singapore?

Popular Posts on the General Election

Here are 3 Facebook posts that got many readers!

SDP and Chee Soon Juan (14K readers)

PAP will do well (27K readers)
This person got it right a few weeks before the election.

How 3 young people voted (51K - wow)

Candidate for Minister for Transport

Here is another candidate for Minister for Transport. Do you agree with this choice. Cast your vote in Wisdom of the Crowd website. Link here:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Presidential Election 2017

I have often been asked - "Will I stand for the next Presidential Election". My reply - "No Way".


1. I have a gut feel that the PAP Government will change the constitution and remove the election of the President. They will not take the risk of a non-establishment person being elected into this office.

2. If they still hold the election, I will let Dr.Tan Cheng Bok be the non-establishment candidate for this round. He is highly respected.

3. If Dr. Tan is not able to stand for health or other reasons, I will let Tan Jee Say be the non-establishment candidate.

4. If Jee Say cannot stand, I will also not stand.


I do not wish to fight the PAP machinery. They have all the resources - party, government,  grassroots, civil service, mainstream media, money, power. This is not right, but it is the reality.

What about making a stand for the people of Singapore?

What for?

The majority of the people  like the PAP Government anyway - with its lack of transparency, lack of accountability, its natural aristocratic attitude and the big and small goodies that they can dish out.

What about standing up for those who want the President to be the "check and balance" on the PAP Government?

What for?

Most of them are not willing to come forward anyway to play their part. They are not willing to expose themselves in campaigning for their candidate. They are not willing to contribute towards the election expenses.

They expect the candidate to make all the sacrifices. At the last moment, many may exercise their right to abandon the candidate that they had egged on.

There are exceptions to my general observation. But these exceptions are not enough.

Disappointed with the voters of Aljunied

A doctor, who is neutral in politics, made this observation:
"I am disappointed with the voters of Aljunied. The PAP sent in a team of 'nobodies' into Aljunied and they nearly won Aljunied from the heavy weights of the Workers Party.
Can't they tell the difference between the quality of candidates? Are they so naive?
Surely, there is no need for the voters of Aljunied to have second thoughts. They should have given the Workers Party a strong mandate of 70% and higher! "
I have to agree with him. The majority of the voters are naive and immature. They do not have strong convictions.
This is a sad state of affairs. It is a state that is brought about by 50 years of the PAP system. This is nothing to be proud about.
When Singapore hits a real crisis, who are the people that have the "guts and gumption" (to quote our departed LKY) that can be counted to stand up?

Josephine Teo as Transport Minister

Should Josephine Teo be the next Transport Minister. Here are the results of the votes in Wisdom of the Crowd website.
Two-thirds in favor. One third against.
read the specific comments.


Mr Tan,
Here is something I would like to share regarding scams / investment seminars and other types of illegal money schemes:  Link

Kindly note that the articles are provided by Empower Advisory (courtesy of Douglas Chow).
The information above is useful for the general public.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

You voted for it

Fear of taking risk

I have made edited the comment by Constantine Giam but kept the gist of his views.
Most Singaporeans are like barking dogs with not teeth. They think of themselves without considering the bigger picture - how their actions will affect them in later years.
Singaporeans like to complain and voice out negative views. When it comes to change and there is some risk, they begin to waver.
Talking about national issues with all this group of Singaporeans is a waste of time. With this kind of mentality, i.e. fear to take risk, Singaporeans will not prosper in their financial investment or innovation.
Their lives is about work and earning money. But they will never earn enough due to high inflation and suppressed salary caused by influx of foreigners.
Singaporeans will complain online or in their daily conversation with friends. At the end of the day, most of them will still vote PAP because they are scared that when PAP fall, they will lose their jobs.
With this kind of thinking, i am not surprised that Singaporeans will not succeed in many fields in the future. The population will be diluted with naturalized citizens. There will be no more true blue Singaporeans.
The results of this general election in 2015 lend credence to my conviction.
Constantine Giam

It is not too late to make some amends

Mr Tan,
Thank you for posting a link to the article "Shame On You" in The Online Citizen.

I agree wholeheartedly with the views of this writer. Many Singaporeans behave in a selfish and shameful manner.

They urge the candidates from the alternative parties to stand up and contest the election, so that the PAP knows that they cannot take Singaporeans for granted.


I don't know their reason for the last minute change of mind. It is a disgusting behavior.

Do they really know the sacrifice that these candidates have made to provide an alternative voice for Singaporeans? The money they have to spend on deposits, rallies, posters, printer, meals for volunteers?

How many people came forward to help them in their campaigns?

No wonder, Kenneth Jeyaretnam said - "You have voted for authoritarianism. I don't want to hear your complaint anymore".

I understand your sentiment. I also understand that the losing candidates would have been very disappointed. (I felt the same after the Presidential Election).

The least that these Singaporeans could do now, is to donate to cover the expenses of the losing candidates.

I am only asking this from the people who had urged them to come forward to be a channel for express their unhappiness at the policies of the PAP. 

Proceed with 6.9 million population target

With the strong mandate, will the PAP government work to achieve the 6.9 million population target by the original deadline?
They will.
Maybe, delay by a few more years.
They have no choice.
We have a low birth rate and an aging population.
We have built infrastructure to cater to a larger population.
With a 70% vote and a strong mandate, they will push ahead for the 6.9 million population target.
What can we do?

Goal - A More Balanced Parliament

This is the goal for the new page, "A More Balanced Parliament"
Our goal is to have an active Parliament comprising of law makers who can spend time to understand the issues and to debate them in Parliament. They should spend time to understand the concerns faced by their voters.
Preferably, the members of Parliament should be full time.
We prefer a system, similar to the US, where the elected Prime Minister (or the President in the US) can nominated his ministers from outside of Parliament. The nominated ministers have to be approved by Parliament.
We prefer the members of Parliament to be elected directly from the voters in their constituency. We prefer the GRC system to be discontinued.

A feasible alternative to a PAP government

Mr Tan,
You have advocated, on a few occasions, that our ministers can be appointed outside of Parliament.

But, many people do not agree with you, especially the anti-PAP people. They are afraid that it allows the PAP to appoint their candidates, who are rejected in the general election, to come to be ministers through the back door.

Why are you advocating this unpopular measure?

We have to go to the root of the problem.

We can never find sufficient capable people from the 89 elected people to form our government. The base is too small. The "suitable" people cannot risk their career to enter politics.

The PAP derived the GRC system to provide a "safe" way for these "suitable" people to enter into politics. The GRC system has its harmful effects.

If we follow the US system to appoint ministers from outside of Parliament, we have a large pool of suitable people to choose from to form the government.

All government policies have to be approved by Parliament. This is the safeguard to the democratic process. Another safeguard is a strong and independent civil service.

My suggestion actually benefits the non-PAP parties. They can campaign to enter Parliament to represent the views of the voters in their constituency.

if the non-PAP parties form a coalition government, they have the freedom to appoint their ministers from outside of Parliament. They can reach out to the most suitable people in the whole country to run the ministries. The nominated people will still have to get the approval of Parliament.

This is the best and most feasible alternative to a PAP government.

A strong opposition in Parliament

Someone said:
Now... what if one day, we wake up knowing that the Singapore's reserves is nothing but hot air?
Why have the government been unwilling to return CPF, and have been issuing bonds and doing all sorts of stunts like SG50 notes? (1.7 billion printed)
Are they really insolvent? We'll never know, but once you do it'll all be too late. We'll be the second Greece/Brazil almost instantly.

I agree with the risk. We need to have a Parliament comprising of a strong opposition to the government. They can demand transparency and accountability.

Full trust in the PAP

Mr. Tan
The Singapore Democratic Party and Dr. Chee Soon Juan have put in many man years of efforts to present alternative policy papers for the future of Singapore. It seemed that the voters do not care about them.

They only care about the SG50 goodies, and the PGP goodies. What are your views on this question?

I agree with you. It reflects poorly on the maturity of the Singapore voters. We have to be ashamed of this state of affairs.

This situation is brought about by 50 rules of PAP rule. They do not want Singaporeans to be mature. They only want to remain in power.

The 70% are willing to put their full trust in the PAP, without any checks and balances. They may have a rude shock when the entire system collapses one day.

But, maybe, it will never happen? Meanwhile, they are happy to live in their comfort zone.

Pioneer Generation Package

Is the Pioneer Generation package a good scheme? Give your views here.

Last hope for Singapore

Hi Mr Tan,
I couldn't message you on facebook. Hence, I decided to message you here. I have some questions to ask you.
1)What exactly is the role of a NCMP?
2)Should Dr Chee Soon Juan be nominated as a NCMP?
3)Do you think that Presidential Elections in 2017 is our last hope for Singapore?
1) The position of NCMP (Non Constituency MP) is given to a certain number of candidates (between 3 to 9) from the opposition parties who scored the highest votes in the general election. They attend Parliament and exercise the duties of an elected MP, except that they do not represent any constituency and cannot vote on certain legislation.
2) The candidates from the opposition parties who scored higher than Dr. Chee Soon Juan are:
Lee Li Lian, WP - Punggol East
Dennis Tan, WP - Fengshan
5 candidates from WP, East Coast
Dr Chee will not make it to the list.
3) There is a chance that the Presidential Election may be scrapped (this is just my opinion). If it is conducted as before, do you see the person elected as President to be "the last hope for Singapore?".
Can you be more specific on what are the actions that you expect the President to take to "save Singapore?"

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