Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 04.15.04
Quebec City


Insurance fascists get control

I smoke a pipe.

As a consequence I cough more than I should, my clothes smell like a pipe and I pay more for life insurance.

The latter is understandable since, if the doctors can be believed, my life span will be shorter and I'm more likely, or should I say, my heirs are more likely to come knocking at Great Western's door some time in the future.

I don't mind. It's what I call "pobs." the price of being stupid.

So I was thrilled to read recently that the actuaries, those gnomes hidden in the basement of insurance companies all over the world, are thinking of applying the same rule to the obese.

Sort of a fat premium.

Makes sense. Why shouldn't the Twinkie and Big Mac set get dinged as well?

But then I began to wonder where it will all end.

As anyone who has ever had a claim knows, insurance companies don't like to pay out.

And if you do make a claim they immediately up your rates to get it all back before you buy the big one.

With smoking its easy. You either do or you don't.

But weight is another thing.

Take me for example. I've got two wardrobes. My thin clothes and my fat clothes.

My weight varies from season to season. Sometimes it varies from meal to meal.

Would we have to go into Sun Life's offices for regular weight checks?

Would your premiums be calculated on a quarterly basis? Or by average poundage over the year?

The possiblity of abuse is enormous.

Just like a boxer trying to make the weight just before a title bout, Canadians could go on a crash diet two weeks before the weigh-in.

Road work and water for a fortnight and then back to the brie and biscuits.

One can easily imagine the nightmare scenario.

Insurance company flying squads doing random weight tests just like the Olympic anti-drug squad.

Instead of filling a bottle, Canadians would be measured, weighed and outed for exceeding the ideal body mass index.

And what about body types.

Former Alouette running back Mike Pringle is about five foot nine and a hundred and ninety-five pounds.

Nobody in their right mind would tell him he was over weight - at least not to his face.

Nope. It sounds right. But once insurance companies hit the fatties, the drinkers wouldn't be far behind.

Then people with pit bulls, left handers, threshing machine operators, and anyone who shovels their own driveway . . you get the picture.