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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51674 Find in a Library
Title: INSURANCE THAT PREYS ON THE POOR
Journal: CONSUMER REPORTS  Volume:43  Issue:11  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1978)  Pages:658-661
Author(s): ANON
Corporate Author: Consumers Union of the U.S., Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Consumers Union of the U.S., Inc
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO REGULATIONS THAT WOULD RESTRICT THE SALE OF MONTHLY DEBIT ORDINARY INSURANCE AND PREVENT DECEPTIVE PRACTICES THAT OVERLOAD LOW-INCOME FAMILIES WITH MULTIPLE POLICIES.
Abstract: INSURANCE COMPANIES THAT SPECIALIZE IN THE SALE OF INSURANCE TO LOW-INCOME PERSONS FREQUENTLY INDUCE THEIR CUSTOMERS TO PURCHASE SEVERAL POLICIES THAT COLLECTIVELY ARE MORE COSTLY THAN A SINGLE LIFE INSURANCE POLICY PROVIDING SIMILAR COVERAGE. ALTHOUGH THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY RATIONALIZES ITS SALES BY CLAIMING THAT LOW-INCOME FAMILIES WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO OBTAIN ANY INSURANCE BUT FOR PROVISION OF 'DEBIT' POLICIES, IN FACT CLIENTS WOULD BE BETTER ADVISED TO PLACE THEIR MONEY IN SAVINGS ACCOUNTS, OR EVEN TO JUST KEEP SUCH FUNDS. THE DEBIT SYSTEM USES INSURANCE AGENTS TO MAKE FREQUENT COLLECTIONS OF PREMIUMS ON POLICIES WITH FACE VALUE MUCH LOWER THAN THE COST TO THE CONSUMER. A SIMILAR SYSTEM, THAT OF MONTHLY DEBIT ORDINARY INSURANCE, IS DISTINGUISHED BY LESS FREQUENT PREMIUM COLLECTIONS, BUT HAS THE OVERHEAD AND HIGH PRICES OF THE DEBIT SYSTEM. ALTHOUGH THE CASH VALUE OF SUCH POLICIES IS VERY LOW, THE POLICIES ARE DECEPTIVELY SOLD AS 'SAVINGS PLANS.' OFTEN THE COVERAGE IS ON THE LIFE OF A CHILD, ALTHOUGH POOR FAMILIES WOULD HAVE A MORE LIKELY NEED FOR COVERAGE OF THE FAMILY BREADWINNERS. BUYERS OF INSURANCE SHOULD BE KEPT INFORMED OF THE COSTS OF THE INSURANCE THAT THEY HAVE OBTAINED, AND SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS. IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT A RESPONSIBLE INSURANCE AGENT WOULD RECOMMEND THE PURCHASE OF CONVENTIONAL INSURANCE, WHICH IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO FAMILIES WHO HAVE A NEED FOR COVERAGE, OR RECOMMEND ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF SAVINGS TO PERSONS WHO CANNOT AFFORD INSURANCE. THE MORE DECEPTIVE PRACTICES OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY VIS-A-VIS THE POOR SHOULD BE PROHIBITIED OR STRICTLY REGULATED. THESE PRACTICES INCLUDE DELIBERATELY ALLOWING POLICIES TO LAPSE AND THE SUBSEQUENT SALE OF NEW POLICIES, PROVIDING SALES PERSONS ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONS. STATE INSURANCE AGENCIES SHOULD ACTIVELY EDUCATE AND PROTECT THE INSURANCE-BUYING PUBLIC. NEW YORK STATE'S STRONG REGULATION OF INDUSTRIAL (WEEKLY PREMIUM) INSURANCE IS NOTED. (TWK)
Index Term(s): Consumer fraud; Consumer protection; Insurance fraud; New York
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51674

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