Interview with Irene Phang


phang2Ms Irene Phang is one of the Top Agents in AIA and has been for many years. She also has the distinction of being the first Bruneian to earn the industry recognition of “Life Membership of Million Dollar Round Table” in 2012. We spoke to Irene about her success and to find out more about her career as a Life Insurance Agent.

Give us an example of how your job has made a difference to the life of one of your clients.
I would like to share a story about my policyholder, Roziah, (not her real name) who went through a painful and life changing experience when she lost her 39 year old husband Ali (not his real name). Suddenly Roziah became a single parent who had to provide for her family.

In 2010 her husband became infected with a deadly bacterium which eventually led to his death two weeks later. Even though this was a shock and tragedy for Roziah, it was a great relief that she was able to claim on Ali’s two insurance policies because this helped to provide a stable income and peace of mind for the family.

In addition to Ali’s own policies, he had also taken out education saving plans for all of his five children. Under the policy I helped to  design for Ali, the remaining term of premium for all five of his children’s education plans will now be waved, as a result of Ali’s death. During this very difficult time for the family, I’m glad to be able to share with Roziah’s family that all of her children’s future education funds will now be taken care of, despite losing the breadwinner of the family.

Roziah and I have since became very close friends and we would often talk to each other as if we were siblings. I am glad that during the family’s most difficult period, I was able to be of help to them with what I do.

AIA // Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Sales is a brutal career, but it can also be extremely rewarding if you excel in it. What advice do you have for people who are planning to enter this field?
Yes, sales can be very financially rewarding. So my advice to those thinking about going into this business is that you must think and act like an entrepreneur. You must take ownership and be accountable for the results. You must have a goal and action plan but most of all a strong belief in yourself.

In sales, if you help enough people to get what they want, you will eventually get what you want. You have to stay focused and positive at all times, so that you can be at your best. One way is to learn from those who have experience and are successful and to find ways to always improve your knowledge.

Practice makes perfect, make yourself an expert in the field so that you are trustworthy and reliable. Be professional. Be bold and courageous, practice the law of large numbers and know your closing ratio. Do not say “never” and do not quit easily.

Last but not least, for most customers, it is not how much you know, but how much you care that matters. Hence, say what you do and do what you say, strive to go beyond expectations and delight your customers!

What is the biggest misconception about the Life Insurance Industry?
There’s something about Life Insurance that just freaks some people out. They always think of death. And for others, the idea of life insurance forces them to think about tomorrow when they do not know what to do about today. So many choose to bury their heads in the sand instead of facing their fears and preparing for the future.

I often hear comments like, “Why do I need insurance when my medical bill is being taken care of?”; “I’m better off investing my money than buying Life Insurance” and “Only when death occurs, then there is payment”, etc.

As such, I feel proud that my job allows me to be of value to others by providing them with sound advice and in-depth knowledge of how Life Insurance can help them better prepare for the future.

Life insurance is a way for many people to achieve peace of mind in knowing that their family will be cared for financially should they no longer be around to provide anymore.


You are one of the top agents in AIA. What is the secret of your success?
Do what I love and love what I do!

I truly enjoy what I do simply because I am richly rewarded for helping others to prepare for their future. For instance, I enjoy traveling with my family and the Company has rewarded me with numerous trips around the world.

Despite my humble success, I know I can, and I want to continue to do better in order to thank those who have trusted me. Hence, you can say I am in the people business and it is the people that inspire and motivate me to achieve success.

I also believe that my strong entrepreneurial spirit, excellent customer service, disciplined work attitude and mindset, coupled with great admin system, all together support my winning formula.

For the young agents, I share my own story and encourage them to persevere. I tell them “It can be done. Everyone can do it, if they only believe.”

This article was published in the Apr-Jun 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!