Even Actuaries Don’t Buy Whole Life and Investment-Linked Insurance Plans


In the insurance industry, an actuary is a technical specialist whose job is to analyse the likelihood that policy holders make claims against their insurance policies. Actuaries use mathematics, economics, computer science, finance, probability and statistics, and even business skills in their work.

If actuaries themselves don’t buy whole life and investment-linked policies, what does it say about these policies?

Christopher Tan, CEO of Providend, wrote in the Sunday Times today:

“I asked an actuary (someone who designs insurance products) who had left an insurance company what he buys for himself. Like many former actuaries I have spoken to, he said he would never buy an investment-linked plan or a whole life plan as it is just too expensive and doesn’t make sense. He has protected his family with term plans. So, if the chef doesn’t eat his own cooking, why should we?” (boldface mine)


If an actuary doesn’t buy his own insurance products, would you?


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  1. some of the smartest top insurance agents also don’t buy their own products. this says a lot about the insurance products.

  2. Some great chef does not eat the steak he cooked either. If you think you are equally smart if not smarter than those top insurance brokers or actuaries, by all means, go and invest in your own way. But I believe, most of people, like myself, do not have same amount of time or insight to invest every single cent wisely. btw, term insurance is also designed by the same actuary. Do not care what kind of insurance you buy, term or whole life or ILP, at least get yourself and your family protected.

  3. Pingback: The Best Term Insurance for Male Citizens | Salary.sg - Your Salary in Singapore

  4. Aiya, ok, to make it clearer. “Even Actuaries Don’t Buy Whole Life and Investment-Linked Insurance Plans”, this is very misleading because not all the actuaries or even more than 50% of actuaries(I am not in this line and do not have this statistics) do not buy whole life and ILPs. Chef cook steak and also make salad, but some of them only eat salad rather than steak. And some of them may eat both or only steak, who knows.

  5. Term plan although is cheap, but have to be careful of the maximum coverage age. Insurance become especially important when needed at old age. With the advance medical, people can now expect to live beyond 80 to 90 years old.

  6. i disagree.

    i buy insurance when my family is most vulnerable – i.e. i die or lose my earning power in my most productive days, which is also when my children are still dependent on me.

    so i need insurance for 10-20 years. if i die, my children are taken care of. term insurance fits this scenario like a charm.

    when i’m old, i will still have the cpf-linked medical insurance to cover my medical expenses. my children will have grown up and become independent. in reverse, if i’m unlucky and need to depend on them, they are there to give me allowance. what good does insurance serve me at this stage? give a payout to my already independent children when i die? sounds good, but i may be lucky too and strike a fortune to bequeath to them!

    whether lucky or unlucky in future, at present i do not see the need to feed my insurance agent and his insurance company with my hard earned money. if you read widely enough, you will know insurance companies take away the bulk of your insurance premiums. it’s always in their interest to scare you with stories like “term insurance will run out in a few years and you don’t get a cent back!”

  7. I am a toyota car dealer. I drive a volkswagen. So what?

    I work in Stanchart. I dont have an acc in stanchart. So what?

  8. Christopher was an agent with Prudential some years ago and must know, that regardless of the type of contract one takes up, what’s critical is that the contract pays you the $ when you need it most.

    This debate between buying term and investing the rest has gone on for ages and will never see a conclusion. Each of us come to the issue with a different background, experience in investing, knowledge etc. Each of us is also at different life stages with differing financial needs and means.

    Every type of contract has a place in an individual’s holdings. How does Christopher Tan propose having an elderly person with no experience invest on their own? He would not. Maybe this is where his firm provides the answer for a fee.

    WHAT’S IMPORTANT IS TO RECOGNISE THE ASSUMPTIONS THAT WE MAKE BEHIND EACH PERSPECTIV AND TEST THOSE ASSUMPTIONS TO SEE HOW WELL IT STANDS UP TO SCRUTINY. For example, to what extent can we be sure that our children will be independent when they grow up? What if they become critically ill or disabled? Would they not continue to be dependent on us and the $ which we leave behind?

    The fundamental provision in life insurance is $ to those who are LIVING who, contrary to our assumptions, continue to be dependent. Insurance is not for the dead.

  9. Is whysay a troll? we should ban him.

    Assuming he is like most other people out there, hes not gonna invest in anything other than his only home. The rest will be spent on consumer items.

    I honestly pity his kids who not only has to fork out 15-20% of their salary minimum on him and his wife (assuming he has 2 kids) and his kids will have to take care of 1) the parents, 2) their kids, 3) their spouse, leaving minimum sum to save up for their own retirement. At least leave a sum for your kids to cover your funeral expense.

    Term is like an option. If you live till 90yo, you would have lost the money spent on term, whole life is like the stock, and assuming 2 person live till 90 and both suck at managing their finance (don’t save, spend alot), the latter will end up better off.

    Please try to be responsible and plan for your own retirement, relieve your children of the extra burdens so they can soar up higher.

    Sorry for being so rude in this post. Hope no offense was taken. As compensation, GOOD LUCK to you and I pray that you will ‘be lucky’ and strike rich. Amen.

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