Uncle Khor, Our Founder Story
From Ice Cream To Insurance
Uncle Khor entered the industry by accident. It was his secondary school teacher – a part-time insurance agent – who encouraged him to join. Uncle Khor decided to sign up under his teacher, believing that his teacher would be able to teach and guide him in carving a successful career in insurance. But things started to get a little tricky…
“Luck = preparation + opportunity.”
More Than 40 Years In The Insurance Business…
Uncle Khor says, “It’s not what happens when you’re on top. It’s what happens when you’re down and out and how you bounce back!”
It Began In Kuala Kurau…
As a boy, he’d grown up in the small fishing village of Kuala Kurau, Perak. His family was large, with five siblings. His father worked as a shopkeeper’s assistant, drawing a meagre salary of RM100 while his mother was a housewife. Since young, he and his brothers knew that they needed to get part-time jobs if they wanted to supplement their family income.
As a young boy, he would sell ice cream in Malay villages which couldn’t have been easy for a young Chinese boy. He was the last of his siblings to drop out of school – his brothers had dropped out after Standard Six. He only stopped schooling after Form Four and soon after, took on a job as a storekeeper with a cooking oil and soap manufacturer.
His selfless nature and motto to always do more than one is paid for made him a favoured employee. Before closing the shop each evening, he would make an extra effort to prepare the next day’s orders so that he would be able to ensure all the consignments of goods are ready for delivery. This helpful attitude endeared him to his employer who later sponsored this hardworking employee for further courses.
Can I Pay You To Keep Our Friendship?
He bumped into an old friend one day. His friend badgered him to buy an insurance policy with an annual premium of RM500.
Khor was terribly ignorant of the industry then. He didn’t see the need for a policy. He was also a very kind friend and did not want to ruin the friendship so he asked his friend how much commission the policy would earn.
When he learnt that his friend would earn RM300 if he took up the policy, Khor promptly took out RM300 from his wallet to pay his friend!
His friend was shocked. He told Khor he could not take his money.
Instead, he offered to give Khor a free insurance policy with the condition that Khor refers friends to him. Khor agreed as it was easy to do so. He had made a lot of friends during his years as a storekeeper. He was a trustworthy friend and everyone took his recommendation seriously and bought policies from Khor’s insurance friend. Many of Khor’s friends trusted him and knew he would not cheat them. If Khor said insurance was good for them, they believed him sincerely and bought the policies happily.
He wasn’t tempted to join the industry just yet. He was quite happy referring friends to his friend.
My Teacher Got Me Into Insurance But Then…
It was his secondary school teacher that finally got him into the insurance industry. His teacher was a part-time insurance agent. Khor decided to sign up under his teacher, believing that his teacher would be able to teach and guide him in carving a successful career in insurance.
Things didn’t go as planned. His teacher was always too busy teaching and giving tuition. Despite this setback, Khor did not give up. He used what he knew from his experience (from selling ice cream to serving customers as a storekeeper) to help him convince clients.
His honesty and sincerity must have struck a chord with a lot of his clients because he started to get more and more business. Within a span of three short years (1978 to 1981), he managed to upgrade his car, each time getting a better and bigger car.
“For me, there is no such thing called luck. Luck is actually “preparation plus opportunity”. I made friends with everyone when I was a storekeeper because I might need their help in the future. I became a sub-agent under my friend because he gave me an opportunity to do so. I grabbed the chance to be an agent when my teacher asked me to join him,” Khor said.
When Khor married in 1980, he moved to Penang as his wife was then a nurse working in Penang. When his daughter was born in 1981, he felt he needed to earn more money for his family.
He decided to become a full-time agent in 1982. Luck was still on his side as he was promoted twice. He received the “Top Manager Award” in 1986, 1987 and 1988. At the peak of his career, he was managing 113 agents and 18 agency managers.
Taking A Bus To Meet Clients
Yet the good times didn’t last forever. 1988 marked the recession and with overspending, it all came tumbling down.
It struck Khor badly, leading him to one of the lowest points in his insurance career. It got so bad at one point that he had to sell his car and house, moving his family to a rented house. Without a car, he had to take the bus to meet clients. But he didn’t give up.
He was even more determined to rebuild his business after his wife challenged him to prove to her that the insurance business was still viable. This re-ignited his passion to grow even more leaders. In 1996, his wife decided to quit her nursing job and join him!
In 1998, Khor bought an office in Menara Northam and by 2000, he was driving his dream car, a Volvo.
“Although the economy was in serious trouble in 1997, I still managed to do all this and this opened my wife’s eyes to the industry,” says Khor.
In 2004, he bought an apartment in George Town and set up another office in E-Gate (with his team). Today, his agency is among the top 10 agencies in Penang.
Thenextgen Advisory Is The Future
Khor is a Great Eastern Recruitment Ambassador, responsible for guiding newly minted agents. In other words, he is the teacher, mentor and motivator.
Despite his 40 years and more in this industry, his eyes still light up when he talks about the insurance industry. “I would not stop as long as I can still contribute,” Khor says.
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