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Mr. Tan Kin Lian started his insurance career in 1966 in the actuarial department of a local life insurance company. He has also worked in various positions as a computer programmer, organization and methods officer and in an actuarial consulting firm. He qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in 1975.

He joined NTUC Income in 1977 as the general manager (later re-designated as the chief executive officer). Over a period of 30 years, he built up the business, assets and sphere of influence. From a base of $28 million, the total assets increased to over $17 billion as the time of his retirement on 28 February 2007. NTUC Income is today, a leading life and general insurance co-operative in Singapore.

From 1992 to 1997, he was Chairman of the International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), an international organisation representing 123 insurance groups in 65 countries.

Mr Tan was conferred the Friend of Labor Award in 1978, the Public Service Medal in 1983, the Rochdale Medal Award in 1992, the Financial Personality of the Year Award in 2000, the 2001 International Management Action Award, the Public Service Star in 2004, Leading CEO Award 2005 and the Friend of I.T in 2007.

After retiring from NTUC Income, Mr. Tan founded Tan Kin Lian & Associates Pte Ltd.