Around the water cooler
Name: Michael Chan Aming
Job Role: Lifeco Group sales representative - customer relations and sales.
What is your job? The core aspect of my job role is servicing BF&M clients, with regards to their Health Policies and Pension Plans. My day to day activities involve preparing proposals, selling, and signing up new groups for Group Health Plans. It also involves preparing presentations for the existing BF&M client base, providing them with information about any improved Health benefits and/or changes in the industry. In addition, my team and I deal with any individuals' specific health query or claim. On the pension side of the business, we also sign clients up for our Group or Individual Pension Plans, coupled with giving presentations regarding a customer's retirement planning options. We can do this for individual's here at the head office, or go out and present within the companies themselves. Giving advice on which particular risk profile (ranging from the most Conservative to the most Aggressive) a client should enter into, based on their age and specific retirement needs, is a very important aspect of the retirement planning process. BF&M has various retirement products and supplemental savings plans which cater to every customer's needs.
What is your favourite part of the job? I think my favourite part of the job is that you have to be quite versatile, as you are never sure of what will be required of you, or who you will meet, from one day to the next. I say that because, as a Group Rep, I deal with both Health and Pension Issues. On any given morning I could be making a presentation, to a new group, about their Health Benefits at their place of employment. Then, that afternoon, I could be back at the Head Office assisting someone with their retirement planning and signing them up for an Annuity. The next day could involve assisting a client transfer their vested pension money to an overseas plan, and then the job would require me to go back to health policies and submit insurance claims for my groups. As you can see, you have to be ready for whatever the customer asks of you at any given time, transferring between your knowledge base and skill set for Pensions and Health. On top of the job role, I also really enjoy the working environment here at BF&M. My team is extremely supportive of each other, and very easy to work with. We seamlessly cover for each other's groups when needed. The whole BF&M family, however, deserves mentioning, as they all contribute to make this one of the best employers on the island, and this is reflected by our 'Best Places to Work' rating year after year.
What is your least favourite part of the job? I haven't really come across a least favourite part of the job as such, but I'd say an extremely hard part of what I do is conveying information to customers that is sometimes hard for them to hear, or that they were unaware of and unprepared for. As an example, when people come to do retirement planning, and annuitize their pension, some clients are of the idea that they simply get a cheque for a large lump sum of all their pension money come their retirement day. Consequently, it is my duty to inform them that, due to laws in the Bermuda Pension's Act, any vested pension money must be paid out over a period of time, usually being a lifetime. As you can imagine, someone who comes to meet with me, expecting to walk out of the meeting with a large retirement cheque is disappointed when I tell them it isn't allowed under Bermuda Law. Unfortunately, some people are just unaware of some of the regulations pertaining to pension, and it is only in the meeting when they find out what the regulations actually are. Most people understand of course, but I have had the odd few who have let me know exactly how they feel about this particular law in Bermuda.
What is your most interesting experience at work? Some of the most interesting experiences with this job would definitely be the times when I have traveled to some of the large exempt companies throughout the island, and met with their senior level personnel and executives. It is a bit of a role reversal when these high level decision makers are sitting in their own board room, giving you their full attention. At that time, you are the industry expert when it comes to Health and Pension matters. Some of these clients make multi-million dollars deals on a regular basis, but they are just like everyone else when it comes to deciding which Health Plan they would like for themselves, their staff, and their loved ones. Health Insurance is an intangible product, so the way BF&M differentiate themselves from the rest of the industry is through the servicing of their products. We like to provide the customer with a large knowledge base so they are fully aware of the product we offer, how it benefits them, and how to utilize it to the maximum potential.
What would you be doing otherwise? Before I started my career at BF&M, I spent quite a few years living abroad (mainly in Europe), so I would have enjoyed continuing to immerse myself in different countries and cultures in another part of the world. Of course, as you get older, you become more settled, and put more emphasis on your career and family. I have recently become engaged, so I am excited to start my life, and family, with my fiancée. If I wasn't in Bermuda working at present, I would love to work for FIFA or UEFA in some sort of capacity, as I am an avid football supporter. I would consider that a 'dream job'. However, I really enjoy my life at present, so feel I wouldn't change much at all!