When one contracts for say Internet Services, or say, to a mobile phone network for services, one contracts to pay one’s bill month on month – and by direct debit usually. This is to say that these services are provided before the fact of their payment by oneself; and conversely one pays for these services after the fact of having consumed them.
One also pays for one month’s service provision each month.
With Family Insurances there is a strange convention goes on, which acts to extract a great deal of money from policy holders – and I think disingenuously so.
Your car insurance and your home insurance, your life insurance if you have any; all their premiums are paid monthly, like as with mobile phone network providers and with Internet service providers. But yet with these insurances one pays for the services provided before the fact of one consuming them; and conversely one consumes these insurance services after the fact of having paid for them.
This consumption of Insurance services then is done differently to that of mobile phone or Internet services consumption in this respect.
In addition, the policy one contracts to for mobile phone services or for Internet services may well be for a year or perhaps longer depending on your provider; whereas the policy one contracts to for Insurance services is generally always a year long. Little difference here then between mobile phone and between Internet services as against Insurance services.
Yet for Insurance services, any buyer of a year’s cover or protection is assumed by the policy providers to be buying up-front a whole year’s cover in one block, and in-advance. A buyer who elects to pay monthly instalments for his/her insurance then, is thus assumed by the Insurer company to have taken out a loan for one year which the buyer is paying off month on month as a debt bearing interest to a third party loan provider; one who has been provided almost always by the Insurance company.
The question arises: why is this the case with insurance but not with mobile phones or with Internet and Gas and Electricity providers? (My own water bills follow the insurance model and I draw a loan paid back over a twelvemonth with interest for the water I consume. My household rates bill (council tax) follows the mobile phone etc type monthly payment model).
Without doubt something like a scam is going on here. The fact of the matter is that a person is really paying in advance for insurance cover before the time s/he requires that cover; but is yet by way of some kind of legal chicanery put into a position of being, in law, a debtor for those services being provided to her or to him, and likewise as being a payer of interest on that same debt!!
This debt then is a sheer legal construction, nothing more nor less. It arises because the insurance companies unanimously to a man lay out their contracts with their customers in such a way that they can command payment for 12 months in a lump sum before the fact of applying cover, and at the same time they are (very handily for themselves) able to arrange for a loan company to provide loans to its customers, so as for customers to be able to manage this 12 month bill as a monthly debit.
Most usually a customer is offered only one specific loan to take up, with specific terms, and this offer is usually sent in-with the quotation from the Insurance Company for its next year’s policy premium. I myself have never seen, and I do not know whether or not the law allows this to be the case, any Insurance provider offer more than one loan company for a customer to choose from which to borrow from.
Likewise I have never seen, and I do not know whether it is lawful or not, an Insurance company state up front that a customer has a right to borrow on his/her own terms from anyone s/he likes provided that the repayments to any such loan are maintained for the 12 months term of the policy. Even the option to pay the full 12 month up front is usually set to the back of the bigger picture presented by Insurance company policy renewal documents sent out to their customers
In Britain as far back as I can remember, and from when I first became insured in my own right, things have always been done this way. And I fear no one is going to change their spots in the Insurance game – Conveniently so for them.
But what have we got here? Why has it been allowed to continue? Well, a bit of history.
Margaret Thatcher purged the nation of its ‘Closed Shops’ and of its other ’Restrictive Practices’ of labour in Britain, in the course of an Industrial Relations pogrom she led almost 40 years ago now. Systematically, ideologically, by brute force and with malice aforethought she crushed labour combinations, and the nation has never seen a recovery of Trades Union political power of any significance since.
Margaret Thatcher’s pogrom purge of Trade Unions has been held in the legislation her parliaments passed in the 1980s, and the restraints in these laws are in great part as intact still today as they were in their first placement on the Statute book. Her pogrom was in fact, as it was intended to be by her, a deliberate means for allowing an opening of the floodgates of Hell to allow a Pandemonium of ‘free enterprise’ and for a host of fallen devils to enjoy deregulated capital by which to go forth and to possess the land. And indeed they have done so; and in spades.
The value and validity of Trades Unions as combinations of workers; as them being, in moderate allowance, laudable means to prevent and to keep in check excesses of the bosses of capital, who now, post-Thatcher, having been unchained from the rock of restraint where ate out their foie gras livers daily the union members of yesteryear; none of these bosses or governments accept, believe in, or would allow these valuable qualities of labour combination to be acknowledged in any political credo since Thatcher’s day.
She set the mould for British politics in her time and that mould in respect of ‘workers (lack of) power’ still holds. No-one who has achieved Office as a government in UK since has even sauntered nearby a mention of workers’ rights in these respects.
No parties; neither to the left or to the right, not pro the people nor pro the rich; have even sniffed the possibility of raising again the ghost of combined labour in Britain – And all to our great loss.
To be continued...
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