Sensible precautions for less stress this balik kampung season
This 8th February, the Chinese population around the world ushers in the Year of the Monkey during Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival.
The celebration of the new year combined with the weekend, encourages many Malaysians to take the week off to rest, relax and have some bonding time with loved ones.
The infamous ang pau season typically begins with families packing up their cars, and beginning the exodus to visit their families and friends in different cities and states, and sometimes even across borders. This can be a stressful period filled with traffic jams and worry about protecting our homes. So, to ease our fears a little this coming festive season, there are some sensible precautions Malaysians can take before beginning their balik kampong journey. Here are some friendly reminders for Malaysians this festive season:
Secure your doors and windows. Spend some time to formulate a checklist of things to do before leaving the house, and stick to it. This decreases the odds of forgetting something important. Invest in good quality padlocks and keep a spare set of keys somewhere safe. Also, home alarm systems and CCTV cameras greatly increase security.
Inform family members and trusted neighbours. Having another pair of eyes watching over the house not only gives travellers some peace of mind but allows them to be immediately updated in case of emergencies.
Keep social media posts to a minimum. Almost anyone and everyone are on social media nowadays. The urge to post pictures, location tags and even holiday journals online should be kept to a minimum as it could be disadvantageous to let strangers know that you are far away from home.
Place a stop order on your mail if possible. With the rise of email and other digital communications platforms, the excitement of receiving traditional mail is something many of us may relate to. However, letting mail pile up in your letterbox or at your front gate is an obvious giveaway that no one’s home. Hence, place a stop order on newsletters and newspapers and prepay all utility bills should you be planning to go away for an extended period.
Trim your garden. This is perhaps the most overlooked precaution. Proper gardening indicates that the home is being cared for and provides the illusion that the house is not vacant. If you have unkempt grass, growing weeds, unraked leaves and the like, burglars will be more confident to enter your home.
Similarly, folks on the road often run into a hiccup or two in auto-related matters. Though veteran drivers will likely have taken necessary measures to ensure a smooth journey, many drivers may still forget a couple of essentials. Thus, a few important notes to make are:
Don’t procrastinate on getting your car serviced. The thought of waiting for a couple of hours in the car service centre lobby can inspire procrastination. Nevertheless, drivers should make sure to take this important precaution to prevent unwanted breakdowns, flat spare tyres, or even air conditioning failure.
Know your car. Before leaving your home always, always, always double check your tyre pressure, oil levels, radiator water levels, and that your lights and wipers are functioning. You know your car best, hence, you should take note of irregularities and address them immediately. During the festive season, there may be fewer mechanics to come to the rescue too, so, better be safe than sorry.
Understand your insurance policies. Car insurance provides an added sense of security to a driver. But not many drivers understand the extent of their coverage. Take some time out of your busy schedule to go over your policy. Alternatively, looking for new insurance coverage for the festive season can be wise as it would probably give you a better deal.
You’re on Malaysian highways- 4 hours can turn into 5, and then into 6 or even 10. Don’t fret when Waze notifies you that your trip is going to take longer than planned, or is rerouting you from your usual roads. Look at the scenic route as a new adventure. It’s not often that road trips come around, so make the most of it.
Following these simple tips will increase your comfort and sense of security throughout your travels, and reduce the likelihood of unwanted hassles. This festive season, the team at Liberty Insurance Berhad wishes you a life free of worry and fear, and filled with joy, prosperity and good health. May you have a Happy Chinese New Year.
Group Chairman & CEO Makes His Way to Malaysia for the First Time.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group David Long made his way to the soon-to-be Liberty Insurance Berhad’s office on 28 April 2015. David, together with Executive Vice-President Melanie Foley, Chief Information Officer James McGlennon, and Chief Finance Officer and Executive Vice-President Dennis Langwell took the opportunity to meet some of the Malaysian employees while they were in the country for a business meeting with the senior management team in Malaysia.
After flying across the globe to Malaysia for the first time, David took the opportunity to visit one of Kuala Lumpur’s most iconic landmarks – the Petronas Twin Towers at KLCC, accompanied by our very own Liberty team.
A worldwide initiative where employees of Liberty Insurance volunteer their time to benefit the needy.
Recently, 200 members from the Uni.Asia General Insurance team volunteered to refurbish Rumah Titian Kaseh in Taman Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur. The 4-day initiative from 5th to 8th May 2015 was organised in line with Liberty Insurance’s annual community service programme called Serve With Liberty, a worldwide initiative where employees of Liberty Insurance volunteer their time to benefit the needy.
During the initiative, the participants took turns to work in sessions to repaint the walls and clean up the entire area of the block that accommodates children aged 12 and below. The home consists of 3 blocks that house a total of 130 children. The other 2 blocks house boys and girls separately.
Chief Executive Officer David Tan commended the staff members on their enthusiasm for the project. “This activity is a good start to get everyone more involved in taking on more CSR projects. It is also meaningful to do good away from work and this also allows the team to interact on a different level,” said David. All volunteers including David took the shuttle bus to the children’s home.
Warren Chang, the Head of Bank Insurance shared, “What we’re doing feels fantastic. Getting down and dirty and helping this home has made me see how people out there are struggling and it teaches me to appreciate my life better rather than taking it for granted.”
Another volunteer, Customer Care Manager Valerie Fernandez who is already very much involved in helping children’s homes outside of work, is glad that her colleagues can experience helping needy children. “This is great for the staff as it builds character and enables us to better understand the lives of the people out there who are in need,” said Valerie, who teaches pre-school classes for needy children every Saturday.
One staff member who was very excited to participate is Assistant Support Manager Angela Mary, who has been serving the company for 15 years. “It feels great to do this. We are giving these children hope that there are people out there who care about them,” said Angela Mary, who immediately signed up to volunteer the moment she received the invitation.
Meanwhile, our regional offices also organised their own Serve with Liberty projects.
You may view more photos from the 8th session, 8 May 2015 here.
Life provides so many opportunities to people who have an eye for them.
In the first of a series of articles on our people, we speak to Andrew Mondy, a twenty-something American guy with a penchant for adventure. Coming from New England, USA, Andrew is part of our Technical Development Program (TDP). The TDP is a rotation-based IT program which enables participants to experience various aspects of IT work before choosing the right career path. Andrew is currently stationed in Malaysia, doing IT Project Management work.
What brought you to Liberty?
What brought me to Liberty was a combination of timing, opportunity, and location.
Timing-wise, the US economy was still reeling from the fallout of the ’08 recession which created a shaky job market, doubly so for recent college graduates. Liberty Mutual Insurance is a successful and established company with over 100 years of history, so the prospect of stability in a tumultuous time was attractive.
The opportunity that I’m referring to is the TDP. There is a catch-22 many new grads encounter while hunting for that first job out of college – you need experience to be hired, but you need to be hired to get experience. Liberty Mutual was willing to put trust in me despite not having years of experience, and invest in me through training and development in the TDP. That’s a rarity nowadays.
Add in the fact that the Liberty office where I was initially assigned to was not only 10 minutes from the beach, but also relatively close to friends and family back home, it was a done deal.
How do you find working at Liberty?
Working at Liberty has been a great experience. Liberty values its employees, and demonstrates that by creating individual development plans for each of us and providing on-the-job training in accordance to those plans. The part I like the most about my position is that I get to experience different areas of IT before deciding which area I want to specialize in, be it software development, business analysis, or project management.
The people at Liberty are the kindest people I’ve worked with – Liberty has a very friendly culture and it’s filled with people who want to help you, should you ask for it. The experience I’ve had so far is all I expected it to be and more.
What are your interests, and how do you maintain a work-life balance?
I enjoy traveling, hiking, musical instruments, working out, reading, discovering new music, and teaching myself new skills.
I maintain a work-life balance by separating the two, and by planning. This means leaving work at the office, and making a commitment to do something that I enjoy in the future. I feel my work life balance suffers the most when I don’t do anything in my free time, which makes me feel like that time was wasted. All of a sudden it’s Monday again, and I received no fulfillment from my weekend.
What exciting things does the future hold for you?
I always have difficulty answering questions like this but if somebody traveled back in time five years and told me that I would be working for an insurance company in Malaysia, I would have thought they were crazy. That being said, I’d say that the most exciting thing about the future is that it will be a surprise.
To find out more about the Technical Development Program and other programs at Liberty, please write to us.
Picture this. You’re at the airport, about to embark on a long-overdue holiday halfway across the world. You’re excited, you’ve just cleared immigration security and you’re casually browsing the duty-free section. Then your spouse drops a bomb. “Did you lock the back door?”
It happens all too frequently to the best of us. Preparing for a holiday is often a task deserving of a holiday in itself. Here are 5 handy tips to consider before your next big break.
Secure your home. Make a checklist of things to do before you shut the door, and give yourself enough time to do it. If you have a home alarm, test it and make sure it works. Invest in a few good light timers to simulate home activity. Make sure you have all entry points, like doors and windows, fully secured. If you’re using padlocks for these, label the keys and keep a spare set somewhere safe.
Make sure your holiday is insured. Travel insurance is a must for many countries now, in order to get your holiday visa. Find a good policy that covers everything from lost luggage to falling ill whilst abroad. Also review your flight tickets, and if you’ve made purchases or bookings via your credit card. Often, these may already come with some form of insurance cover.
Manage your bills and subscriptions. If you’re going away for a prolonged period, you’ll also want to make sure you don’t come back to a home without lights and a pile of newspapers outside. These can also indicate a vacant house, and make it easy prey for burglars. Pre-pay your electricity, water and other bills before you leave. Suspend your newspaper subscription too. If you have a neighbour you can trust, get them to clear out your mailbox occasionally too.
Inform your family of your whereabouts. Tell your immediate family where you’re going and for how long. Give them a way to get in touch with you, in case of an emergency. Conversely, be cautious about posting your whereabouts on your social networks, especially if you have large groups of friends you don’t know very well. An alternative would be to compile and post up your holiday snaps once you return.
Keep online backups of your identification documents. Scan all your important documents, like passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate and so on, and mail it to yourself at a web mail service, like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail. Should you ever lose your passport whilst travelling, you can always pull up a copy from any internet connection worldwide and make the process of getting a replacement much easier.
It’s time to prepare for that annual exodus again. A time when you drive back to your hometown, or ‘kampung’ to be with the great and greater family. The young ones are filled with the excitement and the anticipation of the long drive home. The more seasoned drivers are filled with the dread of spending seven hours on a journey that normally takes no more than two.
Yes, folks. ‘Balik Kampung’ requires preparation, both physical and mental, that can take weeks. Most importantly, make sure your mode of transport is up to the task. Here are a few handy tips:
Don’t wait till the last minute to get your car checked. Last-minute panicking does not work great for car maintenance. Everyone will be rushing to get their cars sorted, and the last thing you want is a frenzied mechanic doing a rush-job on your car. Worse, you might not even be able to get a slot for a car check-up. Some workshops tend to open on weekends in the run-up, so it’s worth calling up and checking.
Know your car. You don't need a car mechanic to know the basic state of your car. Check your tyres, lights (especially if you’re travelling at night), wipers, brakes, air-conditioning, engine oil and temperature. If anything looks of feels untoward, highlight them to your mechanic - don’t rely on him to pick up the problem. Keep breakdown and emergency services numbers handy too.
Be prepared for the longer-than-usual journey. Our highways often turn into gridlocked parking lots, so tune in and listen for traffic updates. Highway operators often publish travel advisories too. Toilet and refreshments (unless you’re fasting) stops need to be factored in, and do bear in mind highway services themselves get overcrowded. To get around this, try exiting the highway and explore local nearby towns. Keep essentials handy in the car, like bottled water and dry snacks.
Prepare wisely and you too can enjoy the “balik kampung” drive! All of us at Liberty Insurance wish you a safe journey home!
Why Is Motor Insurance / Motor Takaful Being Liberalised?
Currently, motor insurance premiums/motor takable contributions are determined by tariffed rates based on model, age and engine capacity of vehicles, and discounts the form of NCO*. Starting 1 July 2017, the premium/takaful contribution for Motor Comprehensive and Motor Third Party and Theft products will be determined by individual insurance companies and takable operators. Liberalisation will drive fairer ways of pricing premiums/takaful contributions based on risk profiles, which will encourage road users to be more responsible. This will spur innovation with more products and services to meet different consumer needs for the ultimate benefit of the motoring public.
What are the Benefits?
More Choices. New and innovative products. Better Efficiency. Smoother and more efficient services Fairer Pricing. Premiums / takable contributions will be priced fairly based on risk profile groups
How you can make a difference.
Here are some useful tips:
Adopt Good Driving Behaviour
Maintain your No Claim Discount by driving safely and avoiding accidents.
Diligently follow traffic rules, including not using mobile phone while driving, to keep a clean record
Maintain Your Vehicle Well
Reduce the chances of accidents by following your car’s maintenance schedule.
Observe the speed limit at all times and drive safely
Use the speed lane only when you are overtaking other slow vehicles
Shop Around for the Best Option Compare premium / takaful rates offered by insurance providers / takaful operators to get the best value and coverage.