South Park is coming to the end of its 23-season run, with the series finale scheduled for later this year.
(It may come as a shocker to many, including myself, that it’s still going strong).
Since 1997, we’ve watched the characters in the South Park universe reflect human nature, which means they face the same situations and questionable life choices that people do.
Although South Park demonstrates what we shouldn’t do as humans more than it demonstrates what we should do, the fictional show can serve as a platform to teach your clients about real-world topics, including life insurance.
As South Park comes to a close, let’s reflect on some of the prominent characters and what would happen if they were to apply for a life insurance policy.
Estimated Age: 30s
Occupation: Vice principal
Beneficiaries: Five strong children
Strong Woman makes it her mission to be a role model for girls everywhere. After a romantic affair with PC Principal, she recently gave birth to five children — but she is raising these children as a single parent, making it especially important for her to protect her kids in the event of her untimely death. And in the South Park universe, where random characters sometimes spontaneously combust, anything can happen. Strong Woman should seek a term life insurance policy, meaning she’d pay a fixed amount for a fixed period of time. If anything happens to her during that time, her five children won’t suffer financially.
Key Takeaway: If you have debt, children, a spouse, or loved ones who would experience financial hardship as a result of your death, you need life insurance. Term-life insurance isn’t an investment. The straightforward nature of the policy means that it is good for only one thing, and that’s providing a death benefit to your loved ones in the event of your death.
2. Heidi Turner
Estimated Age: 10
Occupation: 4th-grade student
Anyone dating the crazy Eric Cartman is automatically taking a risk. Heidi started as a sweet, social, intelligent character, but she underwent a complete lifestyle change while dating Cartman — adopting some unhealthy lifestyle choices and becoming unexpectedly violent. However, she finally ended the toxic relationship and went back to leading a positive, active lifestyle. Considering Heidi is young and now healthy again, she’d qualify for an extraordinarily cheap policy, but, at age, she probably wouldn’t need it.
Key Takeaway: Being young and healthy will ensure a solid term life insurance policy at a very low cost. Although 10 years old is too young to purchase a policy, it’s only a few years away from young adulthood when it’s worth looking into — particularly for anyone who plans to take out student loans for college. Read up on why young people are more interested in life insurance than ever today.
3. Randy Marsh
Estimated Age: 45
Occupation: Geologist and secretly Lorde
Beneficiaries: Stan and Shelly (kids)
Randy appears to be in a permanent midlife crisis, putting him at risk for terrible decision-making. He has a family to think about, but this doesn’t stop him from getting involved in problematic activities, from his penchant for binge drinking to his fighting with other dads at Stan’s little league games. While he has multiple income streams, including an impressive musical career and a Blockbuster store, he should get a life insurance policy to ensure his kids have a financial safety net — especially if he plans to continue his ludicrous schemes like attempting to get cancer on purpose. With all that said, Randy is going to need to pay up to get a sufficient policy, and success at schemes like getting cancer on purpose could lead to problems with the beneficiaries collecting on a claim.
Key Takeaway: Bad health means a low chance of getting approved, and if you are approved, your policy will come at a cost. It’s important to consider purchasing a policy while you’re healthy, and not risk waiting until after your health has gone awry. .
Estimated Age: 10
Occupation: 4th-grade student
Kenny has died approximately 126 times over the course of all 21 seasons. Yet he always comes back for the next episode, so, even though we know he’s the most accident-prone character, he is also the most invincible (and the only 10-year-old who should probably have a policy). He’d benefit from a return-of-premium rider — a policy add-on that returns the premiums paid if the insured outlives the term of the policy.
Key takeaway: If you die during the “term” of the policy, your beneficiary gets the money. If you outlive your policy, it simply expires — or in some cases, you have the option to pay more to ensure premiums are paid back.
5. Mr. Mackey
Estimated Age: 48
Occupation: School counselor
Mr. Mackey is the average, non-threatening school counselor known best for instructing his students — and the Internet — that drugs are bad (mkay?). As he says, “Just try and stay positive, and stay away from drugs and alcohol.” Mr. Mackey is an example to the other South Park residents, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and educating others in making good choices. While we don’t know much about his personal life, we do know that he’s had romantic relationships, and it’s possible he has beneficiaries that he would need to protect. Mr. Mackey may lead a healthy lifestyle, but he’ll need to make sure any potential candidates for beneficiaries have an insurable interest in his life before applying for coverage.
Key takeaway: In most cases, beneficiaries are required to have an insurable interest in the life of the insured. This means that the beneficiaries would need to demonstrate that they incur a financial loss (like sharing a mortgage) should the insured die prematurely.
If your clients live in the South Park universe (or the real universe), chances are they’ll need life insurance. At Ethos, we believe that buying term life insurance would be the best option for most South Park characters, and most of your clients, because it’s the most cost-effective, simple and straightforward type of life insurance.
Note: All pricing and assumptions are based on the general population of South Park.
Phil Murphy is vice president of insurance at Ethos, a digital life insurance company. He previously was the vice president of underwriting at Munich Re.