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PE2023: Tan Kin Lian Lauded for Compassionate Response as NTUC Income CEO to SilkAir Tragedy

There have been many independent accounts of compassion shown by presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian written by former staff and colleagues during his time as NTUC Income CEO.

In the latest, a message which is reportedly written by an ex-colleague Peter Pius, has gone viral.

Tan has confirmed the authenticity of the viral message, which describes how he proactively sought to make sure that families of the victims of the SilkAir Flight MI185 tragedy were taken care of.

SilkAir MI185 crashed into the Musi River in Indonesia in 1997, killing all 106 crew and passengers on board.

In the message, Pius wrote:

“When Tan Kin Lian was made aware of the crash which had many Singaporeans on board, he instructed the Head of Claims Department to get confirmation of list of passengers boarding the plane. The rule then was if bodies were not discovered or identified, claims can be deferred up to 7 years. But Kin Lian instructed NTUC Income claims to be paid as long as there is confirmation of passengers boarding the plane.”

Ending off, Pius said that Tan “always had the welfare of policyholders top most” and that he would give just as much importance to the interest of Singaporeans.

Commenting on the message, Tan said:

“I decided to issue a media release immediately to convey our sympathies for the crew and passengers on the plane. I wanted to assure the families that they wouldn’t need a death certificate to file an insurance claim. They only needed to present evidence that the insured policyholder was on the ill-fated plane, as verified by the passenger list.”

He acknowledged that there was the risk of fraudulent claims, but decided to go ahead as he was confident that NTUC Income could handle such claims.

No fraudulent claims were made.

Those who have seen the message have lauded Tan for not sticking to rigid guidelines and taking the initiative to make the process as smooth as possible for grieving families.

He was also commended for exercising compassion and being hands-on as CEO.

Tan worked his way up from a clerk to CEO of NTUC Income.

He was appointed CEO in 1977 and remained as head of the cooperative for 30 years.

During his tenure, NTUC Income’s assets grew from S$28 million to S$17 billion.

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