Military personnel to benefit from insurance settlement - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Military personnel to benefit from insurance settlement

August 4, 2006
Press Release from the Insurance Commissioner's Office

Atlanta - Georgia Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine, Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced today multi-state and federal settlements regarding the improper sale of insurance and investment products to U.S. military personnel.         

Oxendine said approximately 57,000 current and former service members will receive cash refunds and modifications to their existing insurance policies, if active.  An additional 13,000 service members and 22,000 civilians will receive increased cash surrender benefits for a total of 92,000 policyholders who will benefit from this settlement.  More than 6,000 consumers who purchased their policies in Georgia will be covered under the agreement.         

The American-Amicable Life Insurance Company of Waco, Texas and its affiliates will be required to provide immediate cash refunds and increased policy benefits totaling $70 million.        

In addition, the companies will be banned from military bases for five years, and not to use any military personnel membership listings for sales or solicitation purposes, as well as other restrictions on sales and contact with military personnel.        

The settlement alleges that the American-Amicable companies violated insurance and consumer protection statutes in the sale and marketing of certain life insurance products to U.S. Service members. The term life policies were sold primarily to military personnel, and were often represented as investment products.        

The affected companies include American-Amicable Life Insurance Company of Texas, Pioneer American Insurance Company, and Pioneer Security Life Insurance Company.   

"This settlement is historic in that it includes not only state insurance regulators, but federal agencies including the U. S. Department of Justice and the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission," Oxendine said. "This agreement shows that regulators, both national and state, are united in protecting our military personnel, many of whom are young and financially inexperienced, from deceptive or unfair sales practices."

Under the settlement, the companies will be required to:

  • To make cash payments to former and current service members who were issued a "Horizon Life" policy from January 1, 2000 through July 28, 2006. Approximately 57,000 service members, including 5,000 who purchased in Georgia, are eligible to receive this relief.
  • To increase the cash surrender value for all in-force "Horizon Life" and "Wealth Builder" policies regardless of when the policy was issued or military status. Approximately 53,000 current policyholders will receive this benefit.

 In addition to economic relief, the companies will also be required, among other things, to:

  • Stop soliciting or selling any insurance product on any military installation for five years.
  • Stop selling the Horizon Life product after December 1, 2006.
  • Immediately terminate any agent discovered selling company products on a military installation.
  • Not accept any insurance application for Army enlisted personnel with the rank of E-1 through E-3 without proof the applicant has been counseled by a superior officer as required by Army Regulations.
  • Not possess, complete, submit, or process or assist in the submission or processing of any DD Form 2558 (Authorization to Start, Stop of Change Allotment).
  • Not establish any account or fictitious account in the name of its applicant/insured service member at a depository institution for the purpose of receiving funds for the payment of premium or use Treasury Form 1199A (Direct Deposit Sign Up).
  • Not offer any gift with a value greater than $5.00 to any individual who has direct command authority over service members who rank between E-1 and E-4.
  • Not participate in or assist with any class, seminar, or other training for service members regarding personal finance when such class, seminar, or other training occurs on a military base, installation, or reservation.

The settlement agreement can be found at www.gainsurance.org.  Consumers who have questions regarding the settlement can call the companies' consumer service center at 1-800-736-7311.

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