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How different would ‘A Christmas Carol’ be if key characters had insurance?

How different would ‘A Christmas Carol’ be if key characters had insurance?

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most famous Christmas stories and has been told numerous times on stage, screen and even by the Muppets. Have you ever wondered however, how different the story might have turned out if some of the key characters had insurance? No? Well it’s a question the Protection Guru team have posed (because we’re geeks like that) and in this article we take a look at what types of insurance might have made a difference and how the story might have been quite different.

A case study for business protection?

So let’s start with Scrooge’s business. He owned a counting house and essentially made a prosperous living by loaning poor people money and charging interest on repayments. The business was set up as a partnership between Scrooge and Marley who at the start of the story had been dead for 7 years.

At the time of Marley’s death he was unmarried with no family and we can assume that his will was in order as the business was left to Scrooge so there was no real need for Shareholder Protection. Scrooge does not however replace Marley and we just wonder what might have happened if each partner had taken out key person cover on each other’s lives. A lump sum payment might have helped Scrooge expand his business further perhaps moving to lending money to higher net worth clients, making scrooge even richer!

In addition, some business protection plans also offer recruitment services. What might have happened if Scrooge was helped to find another partner or at least an employee that could have carried on Marley’s work. Would having a more friendly partner have helped Scrooge or (more likely) would he have been too greedy to share profits with another? One thing for sure is that his greed would certainly have welcomed a lump sum payment from such a policy.

Overcoming a troubled childhood

His business aside, we all know that Scrooge became a greedy, mean loner. His distain for others (and particularly the poor) was only matched by his love of money. The story does however, show us that he was not always like this and that certain events in his younger life may have left their mark and been a contributing cause to his character.

At a very young age, Scrooge was sent to boarding school where he had few friends and was particularly lonely. His father seems particularly uncaring as he leaves him in boarding school over Christmas. The only person he truly loves in the story is his sister Fan who in a premonition with the ghost of Christmas past, collects Scrooge from boarding school and brings him home. Unfortunately some time before the story starts Fan dies giving birth to Fred, for which Scrooge blames Fred.

Whilst this may not be the only reason why Scrooge is so miserly, it could be a leading cause, however if he had any form of protection this could have given him access to bereavement counselling. This may have helped Scrooge to come to terms with Fan’s death and enabled him to love again. If this happened, perhaps Scrooge would have actually married Belle to whom he was engaged and his whole outlook on life and others may have been different with no need for the ghosts to visit him.

Children’s Critical Illness for the Cratchit’s?

The Cratchit’s were extremely poor due to Scrooge not being the most generous of employers, however Tiny Tim is a fascinating children’s critical illness case study. Whilst the story does not explicitly state what is wrong with him, we do know that his illness has left him disabled. Rickets, tuberculosis and polio were all common ailments among poor children of the 1800’s and fit with Tiny Tim’s symptoms however these would not be covered within a critical illness plan. As such I am going to take a little bit of artistic license and suggest that Tiny Tim was suffering from either Cerebral Palsy or Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip.

Many of the more comprehensive children’s critical illness plans of today would cover Cerebral Palsy and this would give Bob Cratchit a lump sum to help pay for medical treatment and any other support that Tim might require. If Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip is the ailment then an AIG or Zurich (make sure you have added Pregnancy & Early Childhood Cover) critical illness plan would pay £5,000 and as their definition only needs diagnosis “requiring surgery followed by 6 months in a plaster cast or abduction brace”, Tim would hopefully meet this criteria and his father, Bob Cratchit could use the proceeds to pay for the treatment.

So how could insurance have changed the story of A Christmas Carol? For a start, Business Protection could helped Scrooge grow his business and made him even richer. Bereavement counselling could have changed his perspective on life, saved his engagement to Belle and made him a nicer person. A children’s critical illness could have helped Tiny Tim get the treatment he so badly needed.

Of course these changes to the story line wouldn’t have made such a compelling and timeless story. It does however highlight that in times of tragedy these policies can support clients in a way that few other products can.

From all of the team at Protection Guru, we wish you a wonderful christmas, a very happy new year and as Tiny Tim says “God bless us, everyone!”

About The Author

Adam Higgs

Adam leads Protection Guru's detailed protection research and benchmarking of both product and operation features provided by insurers and has a vast knowledge of the protection market. He has been instrumental in building the protection comparison service Quality Analyser and maintaining the data to enable adviser to quickly and easily compare protection products based on qualitative measures. He also works with adviser firms to help in panel reviews and with insurers to help them understand the shape of the market, their strengths and the areas that could be improved in their products. In his spare time and when not spending time with his wife and two children, Adam is a keen Arsenal fan and enjoys hacking his way around a golf course.

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