NU Online News Service, July 12, 2004, 5:56 p.m. EDT

American-Amicable Life Insurance Company, Waco, Texas, says it will pay death claims to beneficiaries of some military personnel who technically do not have American-Amicable coverage.[@@]

American-Amicable and other private life insurers have faced battles with Pentagon officials over their marketing strategies. Military personnel sometimes obstruct service members’ efforts to pay private life premiums through payroll allotments, American-Amicable says.

American-Amicable is responding by providing death benefits for the beneficiaries of service men and women killed in the line of duty if the service members have taken steps to allot payroll for American-Amicable premium payments, even if they have not actually made their first payments.

“This good faith gesture has resulted in repeated payouts of death benefits to soldiers who, technically, do not possess life insurance coverage, but are awarded benefits on the basis of a perceived, reasonable intent to obtain coverage,” American-Amicable says.

American-Amicable reports that it already has paid $1.4 million in death benefits to the beneficiaries of 32 service members who have lost their lives in Iraq. Paid military death claims are up more than 60% from the total for the comparable period in 2003, the company says.

Most life insurers exclude coverage for deaths that occur while insureds are in war zones.

American-Amicable notes that it does not include any war clauses in its policies to protect itself against the risk that military personnel will buy coverage before they take war assignments and cancel the coverage once they return safely.