GAO Probe Sought On Unprocessed

Life Apps For Military Personnel

By

Washington

Members of Congress are seeking an investigation of reports that military personnel purchasing supplemental life insurance policies have not had their applications processed prior to going into combat and are uninsured.

In a letter to the United States General Accounting Office, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., along with 2 colleagues, ask for an examination of Defense Department policies and procedures for processing applications.

The letter says there are several concerns regarding the issue of supplemental life insurance.

“Specifically,” the letter says, “we have learned that hundreds of military personnel who purchased supplemental life insurance policies are, in fact, not covered by these policies because the Army allegedly failed to process the required paperwork.”

The letter says the problem appears to be most evident at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Lewis in Washington.

“We further understand that some of the servicemen and women who purchased these policies, believing they have insurance coverage, have been deployed to hot spots around the world,” the letter says.

In addition to Hunter and Davis, those signing the letter include Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.

Heather Eilers-Bowser, director of federal relations for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, notes that a proposal has been pending at the Defense Department that would prevent insurance agents from doing business on military bases.

NAIFA, she notes, has fought that proposal, arguing it would not only set a dangerous precedent for the insurance industry, but would also interfere with the rights of men and women in uniform to make informed personal financial decisions.

While the Defense Department has not taken any actions to implement the proposal, Eilers-Bowser says, there appear to be efforts by the military to prevent hundreds of commercial life insurance policies purchased by soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from being processed.

Some commanding officers, she says, seem to be putting themselves in the place of financial advisors even though they have a complete misunderstanding of financial services.

Some soldiers, Eilers-Bowser says, may have been forced to drop their supplement life insurance. If that is true, she says, it is unconscionable.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 9, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.