Shame on you Michael Parkinson!

I used to enjoy the work of Michael Parkinson as a journalist and TV chat-show host. I almost admired him for his down-to-earth approach. However, any admiration started to fade some years ago, when he started to appear in the ‘Axa Sun Life Over 50 Plan’ advertisements. I thought these had stopped, but saw the advert again recently, hence this post.

Parkinson is undoubtedly well off and I believe his wife earned well also, so why on earth did/does he need money from adverts for such unscrupulous schemes as the ‘Over 50’ insurance plans?

In general terms, this type of plan guarantees a modest amount of money when the insured person dies. The adverts play on the conscience of older people who don’t want to leave the ‘burden of funeral expenses’ on the shoulders of their family. What, to me, is not made plain enough is that, typically: a) the maximum level of pay-out is reached after two years (so the sum payable on death doesn’t increase after that, even if the insured person lives for years and years afterwards) and b) if the payment of premiums is stopped, then the policy is invalidated and nothing will get paid out. I reckon that the majority of people will get out of the plan far less than they paid into it and many will get nothing because they eventually cotton on and cease payment of the premiums. Even at today’s very low level of interest, they would be far better putting the money into a savings account, or even into a sock under the bed!

As they are openly advertised, such plans are obviously legal, but they are immoral as far as I’m concerned and if I was in power, I’d make them illegal. The fact that they are advertised by such trusted personalities as Michael Parkinson (who may no longer be in the public eye, but will be known to and probably respected by the target audience) just makes them even more immoral.

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