08 October 2010

Prudential and The Class Action Lawsuit

When you enlist in the armed services, one of the first sets of paperwork you'll fill in during training is for the Servicemember's Group Life Insurance (SGLI). It is still optional and sadly, many young enlistees opt out of it - to their families' detriment later down the line.

I, however, did not. I carried the highest premium I could (which effectively made me worth a whole lot more dead than alive) and I even carried the SGLI Spouse policy (therefore making my husband worth far more dead than alive too - call it mutually assured continued existence if you will). (I kid!!!)

I had no idea, however, what games Prudential has been playing with our money. And I also had no idea that once the company was contacted to pay out, the beneficiary could also opt for lump sum payment or payment over time, as this rather less than objective article states. It turns out that the plaintiffs in this case were allowed to choose for themselves even though the form has never changed and we, the servicemember's, make that selection when we fill it in.

I don't know how I feel about this. For one thing, I didn't even know that Prudential was the insurer. It was just the SGLI and I paid 37 bucks a month to have it. I wanted to know that my family would be very well kept if the worst should happen during a deployment, a training accident, or, for that matter, any accident.

I suppose I do feel like we're being used as a money market for this company if these allegations are true. We're a profit maker. And I loathe the idea that my money has earned them money that my family could certainly use and would most certainly never see if the worst happened. The average age of the policy holder is probably around 22 or 23. Healthy kids, too. There is some risk here yes, but it seems to me that the risk is nominal compared to the rewards this company appears to be reaping.

I also feel like I should have known about this when I elected to carry the SGLI. It may have made me think harder about it and perhaps even made me shop around way back when I first elected to carry it (I carry life insurance through work as well and it does NOT cost me 37 dollars a month for a nearly identical pay out - that just dawned on me actually...). Something stinks here and I hate feeling like I've been had simply by virtue of my profession and my concern for my family's financial well-being if they lost the primary income earner.

I suppose it will be interesting to see how this all plays out - and another lesson to be added to the ever expanding Box of Lessons to Pass Along to My Offspring.


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