Friday, October 07, 2016

Too many Chinese running Singapore?

Someone sent this email:

With the expected changes to the Elected Presidency soon, we may have a situation where these critical areas of governance are headed by a Minority concurrently:

1. President: Mr Tarmugi?
2. Prime Minister: Tharman? (Executive branch)
3. Leader of Parliament (Speaker): Halimah Yacob (Legislature branch)
4. Central Bank (MAS) - Ravi Menon (Minister responsible: DPM Tharman?)
5. Chief Justice: Sundaresh Menon (Judiciary branch)

Wouldn't it be interesting when all the above hold office concurrently in the not-too-distant future?

Grab Taxi operates in 6 cities

Here is a good writeup about the operations of Grab Taxi

Learn how to manage your personal finances

I have produced videos on the following topics:

Financial Planning
Financial Products sold by banks
Invest in an index fund
Buying Life Insurance
Critical Illness Policy
Motor insurance

Each video runs for 5 to 10 minutes. They are targeted at young people in Singapore. They answer the questions that are often asked by young people.

Over 200 people have viewed them during the past two weeks. Many of them watched several videos.

You can view these videos at

I will be addining more videos on Medishield, property investment and other topics that are frequently asked by ordinary people.

Heath and financial talk on 15 October

People from 40 to 60 face two risks - health and financial risks. These two talks are aimed at addressing these risks. Free admission. Tea is provided for networking after the talks. Do not miss it.
We will be asking the attendees to make a voluntary donation of $10 to meet the expenses of the venue and the tea refreshments.
Do be generous.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Invest in a solar panel

My friend invested $32,000 to install the solar panel on the roof of his house.
It produced 5510 kwH in 112 days from 15 June to 4 Oct.
He used 58% of the production (save 0.16 p kwH) and exported 42% (earn 0.14 p kwH) to the grid.
The weighted average is 0.158 p kwH.
His solar panel will produce 5510*365/112 = 18,000 kwH in a year and earn $2,855 a year.
The return on his investment is $2855/32000 = 8.9% per year.
However, the efficiency of the solar panel will deteriorate by 10% a year.
What is his real return if the cost of energy remain the same? If it increase by 3% a year?

Videos on financial planning and insurance

I have produced videos on the following topics:

Financial Planning
Financial Products sold by banks
Invest in an index fund
Buying Life Insurance
Critical Illness Policy
Motor insurance

Each video runs for 5 to 10 minutes. They are targeted at young people in Singapore. They answer the questions that are often asked by young people.

Over 160 people have viewed them during the past two weeks.

You can view these videos at

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Insurance coverage for Grab Car

Grab Car has provided the following information to me.

Besides the commercial motor insurance, Grab also purchased Group Personal Accident Insurance to cover all GrabCar's passengers and drivers from Accidental Death/Total Permanent Disability (up to USD$20,000) as well as Medical Expenses (up to USD$1,000).

This insurance is paid by Grab and provides additional comfort to our passengers while taking our GrabCar rides. Uber does not have such additional insurance coverage.

The commercial motor insurance coverage is:

Passengers are considered Third Party in Singapore so they are covered under bodily injury (unlimited) and property damage (up to S$500,000).

Passengers will be compensated if drivers choose to activate his commercial motor insurance and they will be covered under TPL.

For TP claims, mainly cover medical expenses given supporting documents such as medical report, invoice from hospital and even following up hospital expenses.

Pain and suffering will be hard to prove and unless it is supported by psychiatrist report etc.

Passengers can activate the Grab's group personal accident insurance to cover for accident death, permanent disabiilty and medical expenses.

Treatment at Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC)

I went to Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC) for a lasik treatment to remove the cells that were deposited on my left lens and blocking my vision.  The lens was inserted after a catarract operation a year ago.

Time spent:
Eye test - 5 min
Consultation with doctor - 10 mins
Lasik operation - 10 mins
Signing forms - 15 mins
Payment - 5 mins
Book appointment - 5 mins
Waiting time - 2 hours (yes, now I know why they call me a "patient")
Total time - 3 hours

Total bill: $1,000.
Government subsidy: $0
Medishield Life: $0
Medisave: $0 (I prefer not to touch it).
Paid by credit card: $1,000

Actual treatment time: 20 mins (for which I paid $1,000).

There was probably a hundred patients in the lasik center, most of whom are subsidized patients - who pay half of what I pay as a private patient, I was placed in the same queue as the subsidised patients. If SNEC is charging double for a private patient, they should at least put them in the priority queue, so that the waiting time is shorter.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Best investment for a long term investor

An index fund is the best investment for a long term investor. It reduce risk through diversification and long term averaging. It has low fees, allowing the investor to keep most of the gains from blue chip shares. It also provides flexibility as it allows small withdrawals without any penalty.
Find out more about the index fund from this short video.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Passenger liability on Uber and Grab Car

Dear Mr Tan,
I come across a recent news report of a teenager who was killed in a car accident while riding in a Uber hired private car. From the news report published by The Straits Times dated Sept 27, 2016, it appears to me that Uber car passengers are at risk of no insurance coverage for a third party fatality.

Below are comments as reported on the same article:
"Derek Teo, chief executive of the General Insurance Association of Singapore, said that unless the vehicle owner had purchased cover to include the use of the vehicle for "hire and reward" - to ferry passengers in return for a fare - the insurer is not liable for injury to passengers. 

But Mr K. Anparason, partner at Withers Khattar Wong, said there is also a Motor Vehicles (Third Party Risks and Compensation) Act which affords protection to injured victims in such scenarios".

The subject should be of great importance to public interest since it involves several parties as privately hired Uber cars are getting popular. Surprisingly, the government or authorities are extremely quiet on this issue! I do hope that the appropriate authorities can explain and advice clearly to the public.

Are you able to share your thoughts on this important subject on your blog?

Uber and Grabcar requires the drivers using their platform to have insurance that covers commercial use. This is more expensive than insurance that covers personal and social use.

The policy covers liability to third parties and includes passengers in the car. The passenger or his estate have to sue the driver and prove that he was negligent.

The policy may also cover the passenger for personal accident (regardless of liability). The amount of benefit depends on the policy. I have seen a policy from a major insurer that pays up to $25,000 as personal accident benefit to the passenger.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Decades of mistake with Medishield

Medishield was launched in 1990 to complement Medisave in taking care of the larger hospital bills. The planners in the government made a few strategic mistakes in the design of this scheme.

It was compulsory for all CPF members to be be insued under the scheme, unless they chose to opt out of the scheme.

They were paramoid about the risk of pre-existing illnesses. They were worried that some people would opt out of the scheme and would come back to join the scheme when they fall sick.

They put into place strict conditions to stop people from joining Medishield after the initial launch period. This has led to many people who were excluded from the scheme because they had opted out, or were self employed when the scheme was launched.

The problem of a large number of uninsured members became more serious over the years, as more people needed hospital care when they grow older and the bills keep escalating.

The government finally decided to address this issue of uninsured members in 2013. A committee was formed to study this subject. After two years, it recommended a new scheme called Medishield Life to replace the earlier scheme.

The key features of this scheme was the inclusion of pre-existing conditions and that it would be compulsory for all Singaporeans to join the scheme.

The compulsory nature created another problems. There were many people holding Singapore passports who have left Singapore to live and work in other countries for many years. They were required to contribute to Medishield Life even though they had were insured in their country of residents and do not need to claim on the Singapore scheme.

Once again, the planners were paranoid about these people returning to Singapore in the future to join the Medishield Life scheme and be covered for pre-existing illnesses. They felt (wrongly) that these people did not contribute to Medishield Life when they were young and would be benefiting from the subsidised premiums for older people.

To close this "loophole", the planners will be introducing some complicated rules to deal with it.

The flaws in the original Medishield scheme and the revised Medishield Life scheme can be seen in the unintended consequences, in the large numbers of people who were not allowed to join Medishield and the people who were forced to pay to Medishield Life when they are not getting the cover.

I like to propose the following solution to deal with the issues affecting Medishield Life
a) All people living in Singapore should be required to join Medishield Life.
b) Citizens working abroad are not required to contribute to Medishield Life, unless they opt to be insured.
c) If they do not have money to pay the premium (because they are unemployed) or are living overseas, they will not be covered under Medishield Life.
d) To encourage people to join the scheme earlier, the annual limit for claims under Medishield Life be capped at a lower amount during the first three years of membership.

This proposal will not address all the issues involved in a compulsory insurance scheme, but it should operate better than the current approach.

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