The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to a program for funding employee and retiree benefits.

Spring Consultant Group L.L.C., Boston, obtained the patent on a computerized benefits funding program that combines a trust account owned by an employer or employee with at least one life insurance contract or non-cancelable accident and health insurance contract obtained from a captive insurance company.

Trust account assets pay for the life or accident contract, and the captive is at least partly owned by the employer.

Either the employer or the trust can pay claims, and, if the employer pays a claim, the trust can reimburse the employer,

The patent, U.S. Patent Number 7,761,352, is the first that covers an alternative benefits funding mechanism, Spring says.

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