Success found these ladies in their AIA careers
Photo Source: Bureau
By PREMA JAYABALAN
Finding a balance between work and family life often proves difficult for working women. In many cases, the scenario is such where we are able to excel in one whilst not doing justice to the other.
Some women then make the choice to give up their careers to devote themselves fully to their family. Many do this wholeheartedly, but some inevitably still wonder what kind of career milestones they could have achieved had they had stayed.
There is an avenue to be the best in both family and at work and that is in the world of insurance. Not only does a career in the insurance industry have the potential for a very rewarding income, it also offers fantastic, fast-track opportunities and flexibility for family and personal life.
American International Assurance Bhd (AIA Bhd) in particular, truly values its female agents (known as life planners) and provides them with the best opportunities and perks to ensure they are able to lead successful and sustainable careers.
The worthwhile switch
Ng Yah Ling, an AIA life planner based in Penang, was an accountant in the first few years of her career, but she has always wanted to run her own business. AIA has made this possible for her without her having to face the typical obstacles and challenges a business proprietor usually endures in the initial years.
“This job doesn’t require you to keep stock, hire staff, invest in costly fixed assets or get financiers for your business’ working capital. You run your own business at your preferred pace and time with no initial capital outlay required. If you are committed and diligent, the rewards are remarkable.”
Ng also explains the great lifestyle perks AIA offers its life planners, such as the best compensation package in the industry, incentive trips with five-star accommodation and treatment, grooming sessions, motivation seminars, and the chance to qualify for world-class training and development programmes.
The initial years as a life planner were not a bed of roses for Ng. When she first started, she struggled to make appointments to get clients to meet her; appointments that not all of them were kept. However, there came a day when she realised what insurance could do in the life of others.
“One day, I delivered a RM180,000 claim to the family of a client who had passed away. The appreciation and gratitude shown by the family was really overwhelming. The knowledge that they still had financial resources gave them hope and enabled them to think about the next step in their lives.
“It was then that I realised how much insurance can help a family. I started to educate the less fortunate on the importance of insurance as I felt that they were the ones who most needed it. It was tough initially but if you listen to them and their stories and understand their needs, you can explain which products will help their future and that of their loved ones.”
“My business started slowly but steadily expanded. I only talk to customers who are genuine and willing to listen as I am here not to push products but to help them plan their future and bring improvement to their lives.”
Flexibility and results
Another AIA life planner, Datuk Jessie Yow, says that life has never been better since she embarked on her career with this dynamic insurer. AIA has provided her with spades of opportunities. Not only has it given her the flexibility to be financially independent, it has also given her ample time to care for her family.
“I can manage my time at my convenience in this profession without having to worry about clocking into the office,” Yow remarks. “With the motivation and support provided here, going to work every day is simply exciting.”
Yow, who has been with AIA for 13 years, was also an accountant before joining the company. She found her job and her daily routine mundane, and so began looking elsewhere. As someone who likes challenges in life, she decided to do some research on the insurance industry. AIA’s unique retirement scheme and product line steered her this way, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Though it was difficult at first, Yow soon got into the swing of things. “I struggled during my first year because no one wanted to buy products from me as I was new to this. I then focused on a particular product offered by AIA, the mortgage product. I learned all the details and advantages of this product, and the next thing I knew, I was doing really well.”
“In fact, I was recognised as AIA’s top mortgage loan producer in the country for five consecutive years. I definitely could not have done it without the support from AIA in terms of training and career development.”
“It’s through training provided by the company that I learned the importance of building relationships, listening to a customer and understanding their needs as well as some of the soft skills which are equally important such as personal presentation, etiquette and mannerisms.”
“More importantly, AIA has allowed me to reach out and help people in ways I would never have imagined before I joined this industry. Women feel good about helping others and touching their hearts where it counts,” says Yow.
Why women life planners differ from men
In assessing whether gender makes a difference when working as a life planner, though both men and women can thrive in this career path, Yow and Ng insist that being female may provide an edge.
“I feel that women life planners can be more open and warm,” remarks Ng. “Women are more sensitive in terms of communication and are more understanding towards their clients’ needs, especially when it comes to matters which impact the family.”
Women tend to be more open when engaging with others and also tend to be better listeners. For Ng, these attributes not only help women life planners forge relationships with their clients, they also help attract more women to join the business as life planners.
“When we meet friends or acquaintances, we are more descriptive about how being a life planner has enhanced and made us contented with our lives. Hearing our stories, most women who want a better balance between work and family lives would tend to get in touch with us to find out more about how they too can become life planners,” she remarks.
For both Yow and Ng, AIA has made it possible for them to be financially independent and earn a rewarding income whilst being able to give time to their family.
“I made the right choice joining AIA because now, I enjoy the benefits of being able to plan my schedule. I can spend quality time with my husband and children and meet with my customers at a time that suits me. Now that I have experienced this little but meaningful pleasure of being the boss of my own time, I would never give it up,” Ng concludes happily.