Info

Jo Ann Sparks helps her mother, Sara Cook, down the stairs at Ms. Cook's home in Greenville, Ga., on Thursday, July 28, 2106. Also pictured is James Cook, Ms. Sparks' father and Ms. Cook's husband (who lives there with her). Ms. Cook, who is 86, suffers from dementia.

In 1990, Ms. Cook purchased a Transamerica life insurance policy with a value of $100,000. Late last year, after paying more than $55,000 in premiums, the couple received a letter saying that their premiums were going up 38 percent. When Ms. Sparks, who takes care of the couple, showed the letter to an insurance analyst, he said, "Please don't take this the wrong way and not to be morbid, but your mother needs to die." So the couple decided earlier this year to surrender the policy and collect $4,100 for it. That's enough, her mother figures, to cover the costs of her eventual funeral.

Photo by Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

Add to Lightbox Download
Filename
160728_nyt_insurance_0308.jpg
Copyright
Kevin D. Liles
Image Size
5760x3840 / 1.9MB
Contained in galleries
Jo Ann Sparks helps her mother, Sara Cook, down the stairs at Ms. Cook's home in Greenville, Ga., on Thursday, July 28, 2106. Also pictured is James Cook, Ms. Sparks' father and Ms. Cook's husband (who lives there with her). Ms. Cook, who is 86, suffers from dementia.<br />
<br />
In 1990, Ms. Cook purchased a Transamerica life insurance policy with a value of $100,000. Late last year, after paying more than $55,000 in premiums, the couple received a letter saying that their premiums were going up 38 percent. When Ms. Sparks, who takes care of the couple, showed the letter to an insurance analyst, he said, "Please don't take this the wrong way and not to be morbid, but your mother needs to die." So the couple decided earlier this year to surrender the policy and collect $4,100 for it. That's enough, her mother figures, to cover the costs of her eventual funeral.<br />
<br />
Photo by Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times