September 14, 2010
VA Takes a Hard Look at SGLI/VGLI Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reviewed the account administered by Prudential that includes Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) programs to ensure beneficiaries are protected, being treated fairly, and accorded the utmost care and respect. VA is also ensuring that benefits are delivered in a transparent way that clearly outlines all available options.
Since 1965, VA has successfully delivered life insurance benefits to survivors of our Nation’s Servicemembers and Veterans.
“The most important thing we can do is ensure that beneficiaries have options that are clear, competitive, and come at no personal cost during a time of emotional stress,” said Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff John R. Gingrich. “Providing clear and concise options for the beneficiary is a top priority.”
VA will continue to provide a full explanation of terms up-front, increase clarity of options and more actively promote current financial counseling to assist in decision making. These efforts will further enhance the transparency that will continue to ensure confidence in this important program.
The department will provide better clarity of payment options by using new documents that ask the beneficiary to choose one payment option, including a lump sum check, or a lump sum Alliance Account (retained asset account) that allows beneficiaries the option to immediately write a check for the entire payment or any lesser amount. VA will also continue to offer the option for payment in 36 monthly installments.
VA worked with beneficiaries, regulators, and subject matter experts to determine appropriate improvements to provide beneficiaries all benefits due under current life insurance programs to include Alliance Accounts in a secure and timely manner.
“Prudential has agreed to implement these adjustments, and the department will continue to carefully monitor this program to ensure that Servicemembers’ and Veterans’ beneficiaries are well-protected,” said Gingrich.
VA is also taking the following actions:
· All SGLI/VGLI related information, including frequently asked questions, website information and handbooks will be modified to clearly and completely explain all aspects of the Alliance Account and all options available to the beneficiary.
· VA will require Prudential to conduct a follow up contact with beneficiaries whose accounts remains open after six months to confirm the beneficiary understands the terms of the account.
· VA will clearly designate the source of correspondence by removing the SGLI seal from all checks, forms, and correspondence and replacing it to show that it is from Prudential, with the subtitle of “Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance”.
· VA will identify additional opportunities to encourage beneficiaries to use the free financial counseling service.
· VA will, in coordination with the Department of Defense (DoD), improve support to Casualty Assistant Officers and Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Personnel by helping to prepare additional training materials and instruction.
SGLI provides group life insurance for the Uniformed Services, such as Servicemembers on active duty, ready reservists, and members of the National Guard, among others. More information on the SGLI/VGLI program is also available at http://www.insurance.va.gov/sglisite/sgli/sgli.htm.
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