Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Great geographic divide

Your chances of surviving cancer in the UK are a much better if you live in the south than up in the cold frozen north. There are a host of reasons, many of them to do with the attitude of people to illness and relative wealth. The fact remains that the distribution of cancer incidences is not surprising. London and the South of England having a younger population. But the chances of surviving are anything but related to age.

So it is not surprising that insurers are offering higher annuity rates (amount of pension paid) to those who live in poorer areas.

These “postcode annuities” are used by insurers to set different rates for annual pension plans according to location. Customers who live in neighbourhoods where the average life expectancy is statistically below average can receive better rates.

Now this raises some interesting questions about how long you have to live in the area. I would have thought this pricing mechanism was open to fraud. Hopefully the insurance companies have done their homework otherwise I can see there being a lot of older people renting properties in down-town Manchester at the time of arranging their pension. Dick Stroud

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