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New Year Life Insurance

Jan 4, 2008
The New Year will herald a run on life insurance claims.

For some reason, the UK has struggled to come to terms with the more relaxed drinking laws of Europe. When alcohol was no longer served after 11pm, New Year revellers would rush to cram in as much drinking as possible with a view to getting as drunk as they could, all to signal that they had a good New Years that they couldn't even remember.

This type of behaviour has always led to drink related incidents, thus causing a surge in life insurance claims shortly after. With the introduction of the European laws which makes 24 hour drinking more possible, you would think people would now be able to pace themselves a little better.

Apparently, not so! Over the New Year 2008, an ambulance was called out every 8 seconds. 75% of these calls were for drink related incidents with the North East Ambulance Service receiving 1,860 calls between 11pm and 5am.

West Midlands Ambulance staff fielded 1,400 calls in five hours with an astonishing 1,825 999 calls received in London itself.

Most often, these calls are to deal with relatively minor incidents where people have simply drunk too much and become out of control, causing minor cuts and bruises. Among the younger generation, many calls are made to the emergency services to assist with people who are unable to handle the amount of alcohol consumed and have caused alcohol poisoning.

Although these events are unlikely to be life threatening, they do put a huge strain on the emergency services, in particular the ambulance service. It is possible that other people suffering non-self inflicted injuries are having to wait unacceptable amounts of time for an ambulance because they are dealing with alcohol related problems.

At the time of going to print on 2nd January 2008, UK newspapers were already reporting on five murders in a bloody start to the New Year. From stabbings and shootings to an arson attack, many families began a miserable start to 2008.

As bad as this is, it's quite fortunate that it doesn't happen to more people. Take a walk around your local town centre on most Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year and you will see drunken people, mostly the under 25's under the influence of so much alcohol that they are unaware of being half naked, unaware of who they're with and unaware of where they have fallen asleep.

Cars are stolen and crashed, property vandalised and people attacked and murdered all down to the alcohol fuelled assumption that they are untouchable. So, what is the answer?

The dangers of alcohol consumption are highlighted in the media all the time. Advertising campaigns abound, particularly at Christmas time and even if drinkers get away with their lives and health many of them will risk losing their driving licences along with their livelihoods.

Is it possible that insurance companies could play a part in bringing this epidemic under control?

It is already notoriously difficult to get car insurance after being prosecuted for drink driving. Perhaps companies could refuse a pay out on a life insurance claim if a person were found to be over a certain limit of self inflicted intoxication?

The only problem with that is deciding where to draw the line as people handle alcohol differently depending on their health, weight and age. It's also possible that an accident or illness could have happened irrespective of alcohol consumed.

It is also well known that many people do not go out with the intention of getting completely drunk. However, after a few drinks, inhibitions dissolve and a person will relax their attitude, having just one more until they are in such a state that they don't know what they're doing. Would this be considered as a self inflicted problem, like suicide which goes against a life insurance claim, or not?
About the Author
Expert insurer Catherine Harvey looks at possibility of life insurance companies in helping to reduce binge drinking. To find out more please visit http://www.theidol.com/
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