From School Teacher to Insurance Mogul: Lee Lean’s struggle from poverty to her success with APPS Sdn Bhd


Lee Lean

Lee Lean’s life of struggles began when she was just 3 months old, she lost her father then leaving her mother and other siblings bereft. Poverty and unfortunate experiences governed their early life. Her mother found it hard to make ends meet, having worked only as laundry attendant. Lee Lean’s mother soon remarried and even though her stepfather provided a secondary source of income for the family, he was an alcoholic and as a result, the whole family suffered under the unfortunate circumstances.

Lee Lean

Fortunately, things took a turn for the better when her brother introduced to her the concept of insurance.  At that point then, Lee Lean as a temporary primary school teacher earned a meager RM278 monthly and was intrigued by the idea of how minimal savings can be turned into a significant amount. Lee Lean knew this was the turning point in her life; she took the leap and ventured into the insurance field.

Lee Lean spent her early days in insurance as a life planner with AIA, in which she served the position for three years before moving on to agency management. It was during those initial years that AIA provided her with the training and essential knowledge of becoming an insurance agent. Lee Lean also decided to go the extra mile and continued her further studies; the AIA training program truly gave her the freedom in carving her own success. With her newfound knowledge, hard work and discipline, this propelled her to succeed even more and she was even awarded second runner up nationwide for achieving the most number of individual cases, only after her second year of being a life planner.

Lee Lean

Today, reluctant in adhering to the confines of a 9-5 job, Lee Lean boasts her own insurance company called APPS Sdn Bhd, an abbreviation of Attitude, Personality, Perseverance and Skills, taken after what she believes is needed to be a successful life planner. The APPS program educates its trainees on the true essence of financial planning through life insurance. Lee Lean believes that insurance is not just about selling a day-to-day consumer product, but also to educate consumers on the benefits of insurance and protection in the long run.
Lee Lean believes that if the job is met with sincerity with the intent of wanting to help others, only then will consumers realize the true benefits of an insurance policy. This is parallel to AIA’s motto of ‘Doing the right thing, in the right way, with the right people,’ which has become the very basis of her own success.

Lee Lean

Over the years, Lee Lean has bagged many awards and accolades for her success, some which include Top 10 Insurance Manager in Malaysia, first runner up for Million Dollar Agency Malaysia, Top District Manager and second runner up for Top Recruiter Contest Malaysia, to name a few. Her efforts and hardwork have made APPS Sdn Bhd one on the top insurance agencies of today.

However, Lee Lean’s journey to success has not always been smooth sailing; her biggest challenge was the lack of guidance and tutelage from another individual whom she could learn from. As she recalls, no one taught her the exact formula for success, she was left much on her own devices to find her way, which was at time disheartening. However, she never gave up and used her smarts to figure out how to get things done.
Lee Lean has indeed come a long way since her poverty stricken days. She indulges in the life she has built for herself, traveling regularly to see the world, and enjoying the company of her family. Lee Lean believes in a fair balance of work and life, she places utmost important family and they are her sole reason of motivation.  One thing in particular that she is proud of as a mother, is being able to send both of her children to the United States for further studies on account of her own success.

Reflecting on her success over the last 34 years in the insurance industry, Lee Lean quotes Abraham Lincoln as her source of inspiration as he himself possessed a fiery passion for helping others and was never a quitter, something Lee Lean finds of relevance to her own self. When asked how would she see herself if she had never ventured into the insurance industry, Lee Lean states that she most likely would be a headmistress for a school or a kindergarten, because of her love for educating and wanting to help others.

Lee Lean’s advice for those wanting to get a head start in the insurance field or for those looking to kick start their own business is that, as we get older our energy for doing work and labor will decrease and it is then, that our source of income will cease. To overcome this inevitable process, Lean advises people to build a self-sustaining career in which you can easily pass on to a successor to generate future incomes. For that, Lee Lean advises people to take up insurance as it typifies a successful business model when paired with good service, hard work and sincerity.

Lee Lean

For Lee Lean, nothing is deemed impossible. She abides by the rule that, if you really want something with a burning desire and when it is paired with hard work and commitment, the power of the universe will take its course, success is inevitable.

Her vision for APPS Sdn Bhd is that in the near future the agency will develop into APPS Foundation, a platform where Lee Lean can continuously pass on her knowledge to develop and nurture successful insurance agents of the future.

For those who wish to follow in Lee Lean’s footsteps, and open doors to the insurance industry, you may take your first step forward by attending her many motivational talks that she hosts all-year-round. Allow her to facilitate your growth and together, you can explore the endless possibilities the industry has to offer.

For more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apps.aia
Email: ivytan.apps@gmail.com
Contact: 03–79888043

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