Former Academy Life Insurance Policyholders May Be Eligible for Payments
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2003 The Academy Life Insurance Co. seeks immediate contact with an estimated 110,000 current and former service members who may be eligible to receive payments from a fund established as part of a settlement it reached with the Justice Department Dec. 19, 2002.
Col. Steve Strong, director of legal policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, said the insurance company will mail notices and payment applications to the last address it has for thousands of former policyholders it believes are eligible. Notices will be mailed by Feb. 24, he added.
Eligible persons have until June 24 to file, he said. After that deadline, applications won't be considered, Strong emphasized.
The payments of up to $200 per policy are part of a $160 million settlement reached after the Justice Department filed a civil complaint against Academy Life for defrauding service members from 1991 to 1998. The complaint alleged the insurers sold more than 92,000 policies of a particular life insurance plan to service members and their families between 1993 and 1998 and reaped more than $200 million in premiums. Academy Life has not admitted to any improper act.
As part of the settlement the company will pay more than $2.7 million to persons who purchased their policies from 1991 to 1998.
Academy Life also agreed in the settlement to never again sell another insurance policy in the United States or ask DoD for permission to conduct business on U.S. military installations. The Defense Department in 1998 barred the company from doing business on military installations for three years.
Strong said former policyholders must meet all the following conditions to be eligible for payment from the settlement fund:
- The person was the last owner of a Genesis Series policy issued from Jan. 1, 1991, through Dec. 31, 1998.
- The policy terminated prior to Sept. 30, 2002.
- No death benefit was paid under the policy.
- The person was living on Sept. 30, 2002.
- The person accurately completes an application for payment and mails it to Academy Life by June 24.
- Academy Life verifies eligibility.
For more information on eligibility requirements or a notice and application, Strong said call Academy Life at toll free (800) 523-5625.