Thousands of pensioners face shock hikes to their life insurance bills this year.
Huge increases in premiums are being posted to many of the 270,000 people who bought ‘whole-of-life’ cover a decade ago.
Thousands more who were sold policies in the early Nineties face a sudden rise because the cost of providing the insurance has jumped.
Whole-of-life policies are a type of insurance which pays a set lump sum to your relatives when you die.
Many of the 4.5?million policies in existence were flogged by financial advisers or insurance company salesmen. Policyholders were told that for a small premium of £10 a month, their loved ones would get around £10,000.
This monthly fee would be split between an insurance policy, which was guaranteed to pay out £10,000, and an investment fund, which they were told would eventually pay out far more. However, many were never told that premiums would soar when they were reviewed, typically after ten years or at the age of 65, and then every five years after that.
A COUPLE who claim to have fallen foul of insurance scammers have spoken out about their ordeal as a warning to others.
Pensioners George and Ann Strange, who are 68 and 65, said they have been conned out of more than £300 by a company claiming to be able to help them claw back money from being mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance.
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is a policy borrowers can take out when applying for a loan or credit cards.
It is supposed to repay credit if their income drops because they fall ill or lose their jobs.
Banks have been found guilty of mis-selling the policies, meaning many customers have been able to claim back years of payments.
Hard up drivers in Northern Ireland have been dealt another financial blow with a dramatic increase in car parking charges being introduced. Motorists are already having to cope with rising fuel costs, tax and car insurance but will now have to find an extra 40p an hour for street parking in Belfast.
The rise of 20 per cent has seen charges increase from £1 to £1.20 for an hours parking, which has incensed the cities motorists, who will face a 10p an hour increase if they decide to use any car park operated by the Roads Service or a typical DRD car park, whose tariffs have risen from 60p to 70p.
The new charges will be rolled out across Northern Ireland in the coming weeks and have already been introduced in Belfast. Only six of the 132 government run car parks will be unaffected by the price hikes in Northern Ireland, whilst all of Belfast’s on-street parking has increased.
This is the first blanket increase of car-parking charges in seven years and they have alarmed business owners. Glyn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retails Traders Association (NIITRA) said, “We weren’t aware of the extent of the hikes, which sound a bit excessive. However, our main concern is to ensure that on-street parking charges will not be introduced in another 30 town centres across the province.”
A spokesperson from DRD revealed that the legislation to introduce the price increases had been approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly back in March 2011.