A charity, Age UK, has recently come under fire for the way their commercial arm currently sells insurance. One son discovered that his mother had been overpaying £37 a month for the past three years for her Age UK home insurance. Chris contacted Ageas, the insurer who was providing for the Age UK policies, after his mother’s roof was slightly damaged, a few tiles coming away during a storm. He assumed it would be a very straightforward call and claim. His mother and late father had taken out the insurance policy with Age UK years before.

However, it turned into a shock awakening. An Ageas call centre operator let Chris know that his mother had been paying too much for her policy as she had continued to accept the renewal quotes for several years. If she hadn’t, she could’ve received the same cover but for much less money. However, Ageas also claimed that they’d be unable to refund the difference because it’s up to the customer to check at renewal.

As customers of a charity, Susan had felt she was safe from situations such as this, protected by people who genuinely sympathised with her situation and wanted to help her as much as they could. Age UK uses the same logic that the rest of the insurance industry use, that it’s the buyer’s responsibility to check the small print. If something negative comes about due to your lack of interest in the small details, it’s the buyer’s fault. However, this doesn’t really hold up when it comes to a charity, a company set up to help the aged and vulnerable.

Any profits earned by Age UK Enterprises always end up back in the hands of the charity. It pulled in £37.5 million from ‘insurance and other commissions’ between 2012 and 2013. Chris believes that families need to start reading the small print for any policies that are given to any of their family members or provided by a charity organisation. It’s important for everyone to know what they’re receiving, for how much – and that insurance providers will take as much money as possible.

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