Tag Archives: Life Insurance premiums

Only Child declares war on Empire Life Insurance

Only child prepares to battle more human screwups

Only child prepares to battle more human screwups

Mother’s Day was good. My son Martin and his girlfriend Juni took me out for brunch and afterwards he came with me back to my house to do a few odd jobs and talk computer and other stuff with me. He removed the cover from the air-conditioner (the jury is out if and when the a/c will be used this year with the cold weather still) and put in the heavy top part of the patio umbrella. He didn’t have to hammer the nails back into the patio table as the arborist did come through and fix their damage. (See my added comment from last week’s post). Martin also helped me save and include old newspaper photos into Power Point (from the Toronto dailies online through the Toronto Public Library research connections). These are  for the memoir writing course I’m teaching next month.

I walked with him to the bus stop and after he boarded the bus I went to the nearby Home Depot to buy some bone meal. Because the weather included sporadic short showers I didn’t do any gardening and accepted that. Spent time reading newspapers and a book. Okay will all that.

Then yesterday – Monday – arrived and all the shit that brought. Again due to other people’s bad judgement/stupidity. Sheesh! I can get into enough trouble on my own without all this outside stuff.

First I got through five (yes, five) issues – some health-related but most connected to snafus with the house, city services and a utility. So, I phoned the dentist’s office to book an appointment but couldn’t get one until next Monday, did follow-up phone calls on the windows manufacturer coming to fix a problem with a window (under warranty but appointment has been postponed several times partly because of weather and partly they only will come when their techs are in the area), the city for follow-up on my complaints about garbage not being picked up two weeks ago – only one on the block, Rogers for a falling-down cable outside in the back, and my house insurance company for something else (this one was not a screw-up – I just didn’t understand the info mailed to me).

The other item in the mail is one of the big problems now.

Empire Life Insurance where I have my life insurance – they picked up my policy from a company they absorbed a few years back – are up to their old tricks. In a nutshell, they increase your premiums annually if you are a senior and don’t have any extra saved in your premium fund. So, they send a threatening letter (worded politely) if you don’t send X number of dollars – basically one quarterly premium payment increased – they will cancel your policy.

Is this right? Sounds like they are taking advantage of us seniors.

They have done this before and I have waged war and called them on it. Two years ago, after several angry phone calls to their call centre, I was connected to someone who could do something. We talked and she said that she would arrange it that I would no longer get these letters and that the increase would automatically be applied. She followed up with a letter.

Last year, thats is what happened. This year? Empire Life Insurance is back to their old tricks. I have the threatening letter now, when the fiscal year for the premiums isn’t until August. I have the current May bill to pay (with 30 days grace – I’m waiting for my government pension later this month or the deposit from the new editing client after the Victoria Day weekend when she is back from holidays – then I can pay).

So I am on the warpath again. I will collect all my information from the last time and phone to try to get it straightened out – AGAIN. I am also going to try to sic CARP (I’m a member) on them. Two years ago I tried the Insurance Bureau of Canada complaint department but they weren’t helpful. If this isn’t solved I will have to cancel my policy and have no life insurance unless I can find something else suitable that I can afford (I’ll ask CARP) so my son can pay my funeral costs and debts without using his own funds. Life Insurance is paid out before any will is processed.

Empire Life Insurance will also get bad PR from me.

You know the old saying about life being a bowl of cherries with the pits. I seem to be living it against my will.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under CARP, Consumer action, Family, finances, Health Seniors, Life Insurance, Only child, Problems, Worrying

Only Child looks at stress facts and fables

Only child contemplates the ramifications of stress

Only child contemplates the ramifications of stress

Stress, stress – it’s making us sick. Too much stress can lead to heart attacks, strokes and now studies add dementia to the list. Stress-soothers claim stress is all in our perspective, as if seeing all the stuff shoved at us in life will not cause us any stress if we only see it all as what? Good happenings? Blessings?

I think not. No matter what your perspective on a stressful event or occurrence, it is still coming at you. Attitude won’t make it suddenly disappear. And the idea that God only gives us as many crosses as we can each bear is a myth. Look at how stressed out most people are. Look at all the problems in the world. Etc., etc., etc. You can change your attitude until cows come home on roller skates and the problems are still there until you solve them.

I am living (at this point in time) proof of that. Just when I was trying to learn to relax, lessen the load of work and other commitments I carry (the delete and delay method), I get hit with way too many more stressful situations. The worst part is I didn’t cause any of them. Never mind who or what is responsible. The point is all these problems have come at me and some keep returning. Here’s a partial list of what I’ve been dealing with since the beginning of 2015.

  1. The Rogers Cable TV service disruption business – on and off since Dec. 31 actually. It took eight service calls before a senior technician finally found the problem – a line problem on a cable outside on a pole. Something I had already figured out. But I’m not a technician; I’m only the customer.
  2. The life insurance premium problem – back again this year. The insurance company that took over the one that originally handled my life insurance has a weird way of dealing with premium increases. This policy was set up for increased premium payments as you get older. Yes, not the best type of policy, but I can live with that. I can’t live with the company’s procedure – instead of sending you a notice of payment increase a month or so before your new fiscal year (mine starts August 1) and then increasing the premiums afterwards (I pay quarterly) they send you a letter about it six months into your fiscal year and if you don’t pay the full increased amount for the rest of that year, your policy can lapse. So I made several calls to the company – the call centre person, Jennifer, was useless so I took it higher up. Unfortunately I was dealing with problem No. 1 and No. 3below, so there was a lapse of a few weeks before I did this. But supposedly it got all straightened, and as instructed I sent this next quarterly payment with the added amount. That was supposed to settle it. Yesterday I got a letter that my policy had lapsed. Another frantic phone call to the company. The officer there who supposedly fixed it said that once they received my payment (in the mail since Friday) my policy would be reinstated. It better be or I’m naming the company in a future blog post.

 

Isn’t that bad business procedure?

 

  1. The weather – January wasn’t bad – despite hating winter with a passion, I could live with it. Just a few days of somewhat cold weather and a bit of snow, most of which managed to melt. Not February – it will be the coldest February in southern Ontario since 1978. But also lots more snow. I know not as bad as the Maritime provinces, but bad enough with the extreme cold and snow combination to cause ice jams on one side of my roof and in the downspouts going down from that side, as well as water leaking and freezing out the join in the downspout extensions. I now have to get that fixed plus get more insulation put in my attic. So I will have to go into my meagre savings to pay for that. I’ve asked my ex to pitch in to help, but I figure after I also do my income taxes and pay that, my savings will be very close to non-existent.
  2. So financial worries – hey I’m a senior and most of my income is government seniors’ pensions with a bit of alimony and editing and writing income thrown in. The only upside here is my hydro bill at least has gone down down since I kicked the boarder out. And I don’t think the paltry amount she paid (she was on welfare so social services had her “rent” set at a fixed amount) would help with No. 3.
  3. Health and injuries –maybe should be up at the top of the list. My son fell – he missed a stair at the subway station last Thursday evening – and sprained his ankle. Friday he couldn’t walk, but thankfully the ankle is almost healed and he can now walk. Me? My on-and-off again phlegm in the throat has gotten worse. Because of other health issues I have a compromised immune system and each winter get some respiratory-related thing (last year it was two months of swollen glands – something I hadn’t had since I was a kid). And the stress makes some of these other health issues worse.

 

I could go on and on. But I’ll end with a link to the study that links too much stress in middle-aged women leading to more dementia when they get older. http://www.alzinfo.org/articles/midlife-stress-may-increase-dementia-risk/

I am past middle age but I had a long list of stress in my life then.

 

And I don’t think forgetting all your problems in dementia is the answer. Dementia has its own problems for those who get it and their family and friends.

 

Makes you not want to live a long life, doesn’t it?

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Health, Heart Disease, Old Age, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Suicide, Weather, Winter Weather