• Sweden edition
 

Uproar over 'obese' girl's insurance snub

Published: 25 Jun 2011 11:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Jun 2011 11:35 GMT+02:00

A five-year-old girl from Orust, an island off the west coast of Sweden, has been refused insurance from giant Folksam, on the grounds of her weight putting her into a “high risk” category, according to a report in daily Aftonbladet.

The case came to light when the girl’s mother applied to renew her insurance policies after moving house. She received a letter from the company telling her that her application had been denied.

"The reason for our decision is serious overweight/obesity” said the letter.

The girl’s mother said that at first she thought it was joke, because her daughter is apparently a normal healthy happy child. She then realised that it was in fact serious.

“I was shocked and upset. This is totally unreal. The risk analysis team explained that we were welcome to apply for a new insurance policy in a year’s time, if my daughter's weight then is the same as it is now,” said Zarah Samuelsson.

Freya, who will be six this summer, is 120 cm tall and her weight tends to hover between 24 and 25 kilograms. According to the BMI (Body mass index) table for children, a girl of her age and height would be considered normal if she weighs 24-24.5 kilos. Anything over 25 kilos is termed “overweight”.

Child health experts were equally critical.

“Even if this girl was a borderline case, there is no proof that it poses any potential danger before a child reaches the age of ten," said Carl-Erik Flodmark, head of Child Obesity in Malmö to the paper.

Andreas Jerat, head of the information department at Folksam, says that the insurance company denies a few cases every year due to the child's BMI, but would not comment on this specific case.

“We purchased the service from an external reinsurance company with experience of risk factors in children. We follow their guidelines,” he told Aftonbladet.

As a result of the furore, the newspaper is calling for readers to boycott the insurance giant.

The Local/gm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:48 June 26, 2011 by Grokh
Maybe the girl and the parents should see it as a wake up call ?

a 5 year old is not really guilty of being overweight just bad parents maybe they should allert social workers to bitch slap her parents for being morons.
11:05 June 26, 2011 by johnny1939
It is really a sad situation when a 6* year old has to be turned down for insurance because she is too heavy. I agree w/ above Grokh that this ought to be a wake up call for the parents w/ less "godis" and ice cream. She really is on the heavy side.

*I read she is 6 in some other papers.
11:19 June 26, 2011 by N18h7m4r3
what the heck!!

First of all TheLocal has messed it all up.....Its her BMI rather than her weight which is between 24-25 kilos....else this would put her in underweight category....

"Freya, who will be six this summer, is 120 cm tall and her weight tends to hover between 24 and 25 kilograms. According to the BMI (Body mass index) table for children, a girl of her age and height would be considered normal if she weighs 24-24.5 kilos. Anything over 25 kilos is termed "overweight"."

@Grokh @johnny1939

Its not always the parents that are responsible for overweight kids.....sometimes its a disease which results in increased weight.
12:11 June 26, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
I think it is very possible that @Grokh is right. Even if it is some disease process, it could be addressed if the parents cared to be involved with their girl's good health -- I vote they did not.
14:11 June 26, 2011 by RobinHood
An insurance company can choose to insure, or not insure, anyone they choose. That is their right!

Whatever the cause of the little girl's poor health, (if she is in poor health), is an issue for her parents, her school, and the social services. Not an insurance company.
15:00 June 26, 2011 by Blanc
In other newspapers, it is said that she is about 0,5 kg overweight - according to BMI standard. In reality tho, a girl of her age can weigh 5 kg more and not be at all overweight. If you see a picture of the girl, she is obviously as normal as can be.
18:47 June 26, 2011 by jamesblish
Yeah, blame the parents because a major insurance company could never be wrong.
18:56 June 26, 2011 by Puffin
@ grokh

..... and maybe you should stop making idiotic comments about a child with a BMI if 17.4 - however according to the tables used by the insurance company her BMI should be 17.36

BMI is not a great way to measure kids weight as an active child with more muscle can be falsley labelled as overweight - if you check out the photos of the child in Aftonbladet she is not overweight at all

How stupid to give the child a complex about her weight over this tiny amount - 1lb
02:56 June 27, 2011 by soultraveler3
Puffin makes a good point about BMI. Children and even adults that are physically active and muscular because of it often get higher than normal BMI readings.

I'm short and have always been around a size 2-4 depending on the brand. Due to gymnastics as a child and karate and yoga as an adult my BMI is always in the slightly overweight (should lose a few pounds) category.

BMI needs to be taken with a grain of salt because there are so many variables that aren't taken into account when calculating it.

That this insurance company is making a fuss over a pound is unbelievable.
04:34 June 27, 2011 by nordblut
There are actually clowns defending this insurance company? That means like these corporate parasites, you also believe money is more important than health.
12:09 June 28, 2011 by Pedant
Silly question - why does a 5 - or 6 - year old child need insurance?
22:49 June 28, 2011 by DAVID T
My dog weighs 27 kilo and he is a fat bastard
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