A life insurance advertisement on Facebook caused shockwaves by showing an image of a child with a black eye, leading a watchdog group to have the ad banned on the social media website.
The ad was for insurance company BestLifeProtect and was titled “The biggest mistake parents can make?”
Along with the picture of the child, the text said, “If you have a child that depends on you, you need to read about this before it may be too late…”, followed by a link to a website offering life insurance policies.
Insurance companies often consider a variety of aspects of a person’s life to quote rates for premiums. For example, they may consider the age of drivers in a home, especially if anyone is under 25 or over 70.
But using advertising showing an abused child was dishonest, according the Advertising Standards Authority in the U.K. The agency received eight complaints about the ad.
The ASA said that the ad implies that parents need to buy life insurance, so their children aren’t harmed or neglected if parents pass away.
“We considered that the the ad played on parents’ fears of their children being harmed to promote a product,” said the ASA. “We considered that a number of consumers would find the reference to child abuse, and in particular the image of a young boy with a black eye, upsetting.”
The ASA banned the ad, saying that an image of an abused child would likely cause “unjustifiable stress,” which violates the country’s advertising code. Facebook also removed the ad for violating its guidelines concerning advertising.
This isn’t the first time that insurance companies have been scrutinized over their advertising or sales practices.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is targeting annuities companies that offer brokers a number of lavish perks to get them to sell their investments.
Among the incentives were items such as diamond-encrusted rings, iPads, stock options and cruises.
The Massachusetts senator’s office sent letters to 15 of the largest insurance providers in the U.S. at the end of April in an effort to find out if the brokers are putting their own personal interests ahead of those of their clients.
“I am concerned that these incentives present a conflict of interest for agents and financial advisers that could result in these agents providing inadequate advice about annuities to investors and selling products that may not meet the retirement investment needs of their buyers,” said Warren’s letter.
The companies that received letters included Prudential Plc’s Jackson National Life, American International Group Inc. and Lincoln National Corp, Allianz SE’s U.S. life division, TIAA-CREF, New York Life Insurance Co., Prudential Financial Inc., Aegon NV’s Transamerica, Axa SA’s U.S. unit, MetLife Inc., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Pacific Life Insurance Co., Forethought Financial Group Inc., Riversource Life Insurance Co. and Security Benefit Life Insurance Co.