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When your life insurance gets sick

Some firms use complex financial manoeuvres to pay hefty shareholder dividends

Jo Ann Sparks, with her parents Sara and James Cook, who were forced to drop a life insurance policy they paid into for 25 years after massive premium increases.

New York

LIKE clockwork, Sara and James Cook paid US$452 a month for life insurance. That is, until a letter arrived last year telling the elderly Georgia couple the premiums on the policy they'd had for 25 years were rising sharply.

They held a universal life policy, a popular