Hundreds of retirees & beneficiaries enroll in life and accident insurance program
Starting April 1, 2005, retirees, surviving spouses and disabled workers who are presently receiving benefits from MISSA will no longer worry about the financial burden (i.e. funeral expenses) their families will bear upon their death or dismemberment.
The Individual Assurance Company (IAC) of Kansas City, USA, (represented by its general agent, Veronica Wase), which has provided group life insurance coverage to hundreds of employees of the RMI Government for several years now, has recently introduced a new group life insurance plan for all retirees, surviving spouses and disabled workers, regardless of age.
* Program profile
The Individual Assurance Company or IAC, a U.S. based life, health & accident insurance company, in coordination with the Marshall Islands Social Security Administration, provides a group basic life insurance coverage of $5,000 to enrollees at a cost of $30.33 per month, payable through allotment and deducted from the beneficiaries’ monthly benefit checks.
- basic life insurance benefit of $5,000 upon death of the enrollee;
- additional accidental death insurance benefit of $5,000, if enrollee dies in an accident before age 70, at no extra premium;
- Dismemberment insurance benefit of $5,000, if enrollee is dismembered before age 70, due to:
1. Loss of hands or feet
2. Loss of sight in both eyes
3. Loss of one hand and sight in one eye
4. Loss of one hand and one foot
5. Loss of one foot and sight in one eye
- Dismemberment insurance benefit of $2,500, if enrollee is dismembered before age 70, due to:
1. Loss of one hand or one foot
2. Loss of sight in one eye
Those eligible to enroll in the program are existing retirees, surviving spouses and disabled workers currently receiving benefits from MISSA. There is no age limit upon enrollment. However, additional accidental death and dismemberment insurance benefits are limited only to those under age 70.
For those who would be eligible only in the future, they must be enrolled within 61 days after the date the retirement or survivor’s application was approved by MISSA. Otherwise, they will be considered late entrants and subject to medical underwriting.
As this is a voluntary insurance program, retirees who are not interested to join are not obliged to enroll or pay anything.
Enrollment has already started since March 2005 but insurance coverage takes effect only starting April 1, 2005. Those who will enroll on or before April 30, 2005 will be accepted regardless of his or her physical condition and will not be subject to a medical examination. Those who will enroll after April 30 will be considered late entrants and will be subject to medical underwriting.
* How to apply
Eligible retirees, survivors and disabled workers may get an application form from MISSA offices in Majuro and Ebeye during office hours. Completed application forms may be submitted to any of MISSA’s Customer Service Representatives.
* Local program administration
IAC has appointed Mrs. Veronica “Nika” Wase as its General Agent in the Marshall Islands. For further inquiries, she may be reached at (692)625-0389. However, retirees are advised to report to MISSA first, as eligibility requirements have to be checked by MISSA personnel before enrollment is accepted.
* Premium administration
The monthly premium of $30.33 is to be deducted on a monthly basis from the enrollee’s benefit check.
Upon enrollment, the applicant must complete an allotment form in favor of IAC. If the net benefit amount is less than $30.33 prior to the premium allotment being made, another allotment form must be completed (subject to MISSA’s approval) to reduce an existing allotment by $30.33 or the difference between the net benefit amount and $30.33, as applicable.
A Claimant must complete the IAC Claim Processing Report and submit it to MISSA, together with a copy of the death certificate signed by a doctor (or its equivalent). Copies of the two most recent payments showing premium paid for the deceased will help facilitate the process.
MISSA shall assist all claimants in completing the necessary paperwork and documentation until the claim is approved and released to the beneficiaries. In case there is a delay in the release of the payment by IAC, MISSA shall likewise assist in making follow-ups.
Claims will be processed by IAC within 48 hours upon receipt of all necessary documentation.
IAC has opened an account with one local bank in the Marshall Islands and payments shall then be made by that bank (in the form of cashier’s check) upon approval and notification by IAC.
* Frequently asked questions
Q: Can the insurance coverage be increased (i.e. from $5,000 to $10,000 or $15,000), if the enrollee agrees to pay an additional premium?
A: No. The maximum coverage is only $5,000.
Q: Is the insurance program limited only to those residing in the Marshall Islands?
A: No. Any eligible retiree, surviving spouse or disabled worker residing temporarily or permanently in any part of the globe may be enrolled.
Q: Can children of retirees enroll in the program?
A: No. This insurance program is limited only to the retirees themselves, surviving spouses of deceased retirees and disabled workers currently receiving social security benefits from MISSA.
Q: A 69 year old retiree has submitted his application form to MISSA on April 1, 2005. Two days later, he died in a vehicular accident. He has not yet paid the first premium of $30.33, as it will only be deducted from his April benefit check, which is normally processed at the end of each month. Can his beneficiaries make a claim?
A: Yes.In an internal agreement with MISSA, IAC shall consider an applicant as “enrolled already” at the time MISSA receives the application form, even though the premium is not yet paid to IAC. The premium will just be deducted by IAC from the proceeds of the insurance benefit.
In this case, the beneficiaries shall receive $4,969.67 as basic life insurance benefit, and an additional $5,000 as accidental death benefit.
Q: A 71 year old surviving spouse afflicted with terminal cancer wishes to enroll in the program. Will IAC accept her application?
A: Yes, provided that she enrolls not later than April 30, 2005 to avail of the “open enrollment”, regardless of her present health condition. If she will apply after April 30, 2005, she will be required to submit an “Evidence of Insurability” and will be subject to medical underwriting. Due to her ailment (cancer), it is almost certain that IAC will not accept her application (after April 30).
Q: Assuming that the abovementioned 71 year survivor has enrolled before April 30, 2005 but died a year later in an accident (not due to cancer), is she entitled to the additional $5,000 accidental death benefit?
A: No, because accidental death benefits cover only those under age 70. In this case, her beneficiaries will get $5,000 basic life insurance only.
Q: For those who are interested to enroll in the insurance program but are residing off-island, how should they apply?
A: They may send their request for application forms by phone, mail, fax or E-mail to the numbers and addresses indicated below. Upon receipt of the request, MISSA shall immediately send them the forms ( if they are eligible).
Q: If an enrollee dies, how would the beneficiaries make a claim for insurance benefit?
A: The claimant must immediately bring a copy of the death certificate to MISSA offices in Majuro or Ebeye. A MISSA staff will assist him/her in filling up the IAC Claim Processing Report and providing IAC with the necessary documents to facilitate approval and release of the insurance benefits. In case of delay, MISSA shall also assist in making follow-up until the money is released to the beneficiary.