Funeral Advantage Program: Taking Advantage Of Seniors


October 07, 2011
You know things are going seriously downhill when the mail includes an official notice of eligibility for a funeral advantage program.

In boldface print large enough to read from across the room, I am urged to MAIL TODAY (because, who knows how long I've got left on this planet?) In case I might be wavering about whether to respond to this FINAL EXPENSE INSURANCE PLAN, there's an added bonus of VALUABLE PLANNING HELP. ACT NOW, return the card - prepaid postage thoughtfully included - and they'll throw in a booklet entitled "MY FINAL WISHES" if the application is processed within 15 days.

Holy crap. I don't know if I can totter up to the mailbox on such short notice, but the phrase "timely manner" is repeated so often I'd better get moving pronto if I want the family to get in on the $20,000 TAX FREE cash benefit when I (finally) pass from this vale of tears.

Do I sound flippant, angry, perhaps even a tad deranged? Well, gee. Let me count the ways this sort of thing ticks me off.

(1) The frequent, unsubtle repetition of the word "final;" I mean, yes, death is about as final as it gets. Most of us have no illusions of immortality and don't need to be beat over the head with the fact that our days are numbered.

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(2) Fear-mongering scare tactics aimed at seniors, tarted up with a misleading title; you can call it a "funeral advantage program" and use a dove for a logo, but it's still shameless shilling.

(3) The assumption that anyone over 55 is gullible enough to fall for such blatant bull; old doesn't mean stupid.

(4) Prominent placement, in huge block letters, of MISSOURI and MO all over the ad; the hope is obviously that we'll think this is a government program. But check the fine print at the bottom and you learn that no federal or state agency endorses "the company or its representatives." Big surprise.

This is the same kind of junk mail that made the rounds a couple of years ago. Then it was about car warranty extension. Letters were worded in such a way that people were meant to think the sender was affiliated with an automobile dealership or manufacturer. Missouri was a hotbed of such fraud. Maybe the same gang of shysters is behind the latest FUNERAL ADVANTAGE PROGRAM that claims to "assist seniors."

Life insurance companies are commercial enterprises that exist to make money. Nothing wrong about that, but to pretend motives are anything other than financial gain is dishonest.

Though I hate to miss out on the bonus booklet, my final wishes in this matter are: Don't clutter my mailbox with snarky come-ons. I sent the postcard (in timely manner) to Attorney General Chris Koster.

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