Are you dead yet? Letter sent to pensioners to confirm existence


On each country there is a different mechanism to prevent abuse. In Argentina you have to show a “live certificate” made by a doctor every 6 month.

Yes because there’s no way possible for someone funneling a dead pensioner’s money into their own accounts to sit and fake being that person when responding to the mail.


Something like this happened to my wife’s grandmother when she was in her mid-90’s. In that case, Grandma Gina had been left a monthly stipend by a friend who died in the mid-1950’s. About 1985, the insurance company administering the trust sent Gina a letter saying that since their actuarial tables said she should be dead by now, they were going to stop paying the stipend until she could prove she was still alive.

Gina eventually had to have the pastor of her church write the insurance company a letter certifying she was still alive. The pastor kept the letter couched in polite language, which was more than I would have been able to do.

Besides demonstrating the venality of insurance companies once again, here’s another lesson to be learned from Gina’s situation: The monthly stipend was set at $50/month in her friend’s will. There was no provision for cost of living adjustments, or setting the payments as a percentage of the trust instead of a specific flat payment. So when Gina finally died about thirty-five years later, the $50 per month had gone from being a significant part of her budget to a pretty small amount compared to monthly costs. And all through those thirty-five years, the principal on the trust continued to grow, reaching about $300,000 by the time Gina died at age 98. Because of how the will had been written, none of that $300,000 went to Gina’s estate, and the insurance company got all of it. So if you plan to leave anyone a stipend like that in your own will, make sure there are provisions to adjust the payments, and what should happen to the principal after the recipient passes away.


Damn, there seems to be no poignant word for Karteileiche in English…

Anyway, this process would at least weed out the dead records which have not been updated due to malicious intent. I bet there are quite a few beneficiaries w/out living relatives.

I Aten’t Dead


Lack of intelligent planning on someone’s part is hardly the insurance company’s fault nor does it make them the villain. They are in business to make a profit and were doing what any intelligent organism would do: Make sure they weren’t being ripped off.

Buying an annuity, which is what this sounds like, is very rarely a sound investment but if you must, there are plenty that build-in cost of living etc. The company selling the annuity of course keeps all the money at the end, that’s how it works.

People do dumb things like this all the time. If you don’t understand the house rules, don’t get mad at the croupier when she takes your wager.

Stupid things like this happen occasionally.

BBC NEWS: Water firm writes to ‘Mr Deceased’

An artist did this about 10 years ago :

I don’t know. That looks an awful lot like the insurance salesman taking an old lady to the cleaners. Can we really blame a housewife from the turn of the century not understanding compound interest or having a sense for just how much inflation would be in the next 30 years? It seems likely that the insurance salesman did, he made quite a nice profit for his company (and probably a fat commission to boot).

Heck, $50/month for 30 years is only $18,000. The insurance company was laughing all the way to the bank.

Weren’t the British supposed to be good at tact? I can think of ten ways to ask people if they’re alive, without asking them if they’re alive.

Now, that would be my luck - to die and not have anyone to give me the FYI. Classic!

My Mum lives in Canada and receives a British pension. She receives this kind of letter every five years asking her to provide a certificate of life. While it is a pain, she understands why they are doing this. With all the tales of fraud in this world it shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Where did I say the (foolish) terms of the friend’s will were the insurance company’s fault? (Rhetorical question, since I said no such thing.)

The venality of the insurance company was that they stopped the monthly payments first, then demanded proof that Gina was still alive. The venality was in not showing one iota of concern whether stopping that monthly payment might be a problem for a 93-year old woman whose only other income was Social Security. (Gina lived independently and by herself until she broke her hip at age 96.) The venality was in writing a letter to their customer that showed not one whit of human feeling or empathy.

They are a business, I do not see it written anywhere that they are obligated to have a heart. They are there to make money. It’s not a secret. Even the Mutual of Muncie places that are technically \co-ops have such mechanisms in place.

Given that there the percentage of people willing to rip off a company equals companies ripping off people, why should they not have a mechanism in place to control fraud?

Start and run a similar company and see if you don’t things the same way in order to remain in business. Or better, do it your way and show folks how it should be done.

Since you continue to “respond” to things I did not write, I’ll stop replying at this point.

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