Trans World Assurance News

Trans World Assurance Corrects the Record: Compliance With New Military Regulation Was Prompt and Voluntary


SAN MATEO, CA - In response to a recent press release by the California Department of Insurance, Trans World Assurance Company issues the following statement:

“The recent press release by the California Department of Insurance regarding our company is inaccurate and misrepresents the result of an agreement that was reached between Trans World Assurance Company and the CA Department of Insurance. Trans World complied promptly with California’s new Military Insurance Sales Regulation; we voluntarily adjusted our policies, created a new life insurance product, and made refunds to all consumers that were affected by the legislation, prior to any enforcement. Trans World did this even though we believed the regulations to be unfair to those serving in the military—treating them differently than their civilian counterparts—and we felt that the changes could be harmful to those military individuals."

“The Military Insurance Sales Regulation adopted by various state insurance departments, including California, limits the types of policies that may be sold to members of the military. The same limitations do not apply to civilians. We do not think this is right."

“We have disputed whether the Military Insurance Sales Regulation is applicable to FDB. However, we voluntarily modified our FDB policies to comply with the Regulation, and developed a new universal life product. On December 21, 2010, the California Insurance Commissioner issued a press release about the recent settlement between Trans World and the California Department of Insurance. Unfortunately, the release is not accurate in material respects, and wrongly suggests that Trans World sold policies that took advantage of service members. That simply is not true. The automatic payment provision (where insurance premiums were automatically deducted from the accumulation fund part of the policy) protected the valuable insurance policies of many policyholders as they transitioned from the service into civilian life. However, Trans World voluntarily modified our procedures in all states—including California—by deleting the automatic payment provisions and modifying the interest computations of our policies. We advised the California Department of Insurance of our actions before it initiated its administrative proceedings. Long before the settlement, in which Trans World specifically did not admit to any wrongdoing, all of our policies were modified and all service members were reimbursed, in full compliance with the new Regulation.

“Trans World Assurance Company has provided the members of our military with safe, top-performing life insurance products for over 50 years. We have tens of thousands of satisfied policyholders who can attest to the value of our products and our commitment to honoring the trust they place in us. Trans World was among the first underwriters and continues to underwrite Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI). In short, Trans World supports the men and women who serve our country and believes that they should have the same rights as their civilian counterparts to consider and purchase financial products.”

Trans World Assurance Co., founded and run by experienced life insurance professionals, provides innovative products designed to meet the specialized needs of career military and municipality workers, as well as small businesses, throughout the United States and around the world. Established in 1962, TWA is headquartered in San Mateo California, and is licensed in 46 states and worldwide. For more information call (650) 348-2300 or visit www.transworldassuance.com.

Tags: military life insurance, lawsuit, Flexible Dollar Builder (FDB), California Department of Insurance, Military Insurance Sales Regulation

Open letter from former military commanders in support of access to responsible businesses offering reliable financial products and opportunities


We are writing to encourage your support for our men and women in uniform by ensuring their access to legitimate, reputable financial opportunities beyond those offered by the U.S. government.

Specifically, Trans World Assurance Company and American Fidelity Life Insurance Company have a long history of serving and supporting our military. Founded more than 45 years ago by WWII veteran Charles Woodbury, these companies served as a founding underwriter of the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, (SGLI) which continues to provide insurance to our military families today.

The Woodbury family remains deeply involved in the business, dedicated to the mission of supporting our military personnel. Based on many years of experience, each of us considers Barbara Woodbury – daughter of these companies’ founder – to be a true patriot. In both her personal and professional endeavors, Barbara works tirelessly in support of our troops and their families, and we hold her in the highest regard.

Read the full letter from former military commanders.

Tags: Trans World Assurance, military life insurance, Barbara Woodbury, Servicemen's Group Life Insurance (SGLI), military, Letter from military commanders, Charles Woodbury

Trans World Assurance Remains Focused on Compliance and Customer Satisfaction

With a focus on customer satisfaction and on compliance with military regulations, Trans World Assurance is committed to improving the overall customer experience.

A number of military regulations currently exist to ensure that representatives from commercial insurance companies give accurate advice to military members and market to them in a way that is clear and straightforward. Unfortunately, a recent report from the DOD Inspector General found that, within the military ranks of E-4 and below, insurance conduct violations still exist.

“It is a large industry with numerous and sometimes conflicting regulations. All companies must constantly work to ensure that all regulations are complied with,” stated a Trans World Assurance spokesperson.

The recent DOD Inspector General report recommended that Military Services "update financial training to increase Service members’ awareness."

“We applaud the military for educating its own population,” stated Trans World Assurance President Charles Royals. "At Trans World Assurance, we have dedicated a number of resources to educate and monitor our agents. We have implemented a number of preventative actions such as a needs assessment, internal education, additional follow-up with new customers, budget reviews, and more closely monitoring agents. A thorough understanding of military rules and regulations are required and are an important part of our fiber. These actions can go a long way in ensuring that infractions are avoided, but we have to look at doing more."

Trans World Assurance has made a number of major changes to help ensure compliance with new DOD and NAIC regulations. One major change was to develop and launch a new life insurance product that provided military members with a higher face amount of coverage at a low cost. The new "Universal Life" product was designed, according to each individual's circumstances, to meet the test of suitability for the servicemen.

“We are constantly working to provide great insurance solutions for military members. Military professionals, young or older, and especially those with families, need to have viable and affordable insurance options,” stated Mr. Royals.

In an article on Military.com entitled "Beyond SGLI," Mike McHugh discusses life insurance options for military members. Captain Mike McHugh graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, served in the Navy as a Submarine Officer, and retired after 30 years of service. In his article, Mike McHugh discusses how the Service Death Gratuity and Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) are temporary life insurance solutions, "Therefore, you are faced with losing $500,000 in financial protection for your family when you leave the service. Do not expect your new employer to replace it. To replace it with an individual life insurance plan, you will need to show proof of insurability. That means a medical questionnaire and a physical exam. Make sure you are insurable. The process takes time so start early."

McHugh goes on to say, "SGLI is not enough protection for a young growing family and it will terminate when you leave the service; long before you need it. For most non-tobacco using servicemembers, it costs you more per month than you should be paying. You would be well served to purchase individual coverage while you are young and healthy and can obtain the best rates. You will then own an insurance plan that will provide you with the increased coverage that you need and a plan that you will be able to take with you when you leave the service. And remember, do not expect a civilian employer to even come close in replacing your active duty survivor benefits -- It is your job for you to protect your family."

The average overall length of enlistment for U.S. military personnel is just under 15 years for all branches calculated together. The average service time for officers is less, averaging about 11 years. When members join the military, they are automatically enrolled in life insurance and premiums are automatically deducted from their military pay. This insurance is temporary and terminates 120 days after service.

“Our primary goal is to help military members supplement their current life insurance, if needed. In addition, we feel strongly that military members should have access to permanent life insurance solutions. Permanent life insurance can help an active duty military member lock in good rates and accumulate some cash for long term or unforeseen expenses, especially when the economy is as uncertain as it is right now,” stated Trans World Assurance President Charles Royals.

"Trans World Assurance is going to stay true to its core objectives of providing only the best cash advantage life insurance available. Our market is a special one and we have put many things in place to support the Inspector General's mandate that all sales be appropriate and done in a compliant way. At Trans World Assurance, we recognize that we can do better in all areas of business. Our customer satisfaction level is high, but we still need to focus on improving our systems and overall customer experience."

Tags: Trans World Assurance, military life insurance

Trans World Assurance Recommends that Military Members Complete a Life Insurance Needs Assessment Because of Conflicting Information

 

When military members research their insurance options, they can encounter conflicting information in the media, on military bases, among many chains of command, in financial training and from military support services like Family Support and Readiness Centers. In general, there seems to be two conflicting perspectives about what coverage military members need.


One perspective promotes the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) as the only necessary option. When members join the military, they are automatically enrolled in the SGLI for the maximum amount of coverage and premiums are automatically deducted from their military pay. From this perspective, many outlets view SGLI as the only life insurance that members need and insurance from private insurers is often criticized.


In a recent CNN article entitled "Report: Private firms still selling unsuitable insurance to troops," CNN Senior Producer Charles Keyes discusses a new report by the Inspector General. The report describes the state of life insurance sales to military personnel five years after new laws were instituted to restrict the ability of private insurers to sell insurance in the military market. According to the article, the Inspector General found that insurance agents persuaded personnel "to buy insurance they may not need or be able to afford." The article recognizes that "All military personnel are automatically enrolled in a life insurance policy administered by the Veterans Administration from their first day of training or active duty."


On the other hand, another perspective recognizes that the SGLI may not be enough insurance coverage for some military members. Proponents of this perspective also highlight the fact that the SGLI is not a permanent insurance solution. SGLI terminates 120 days after service at which point members can convert their SGLI to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI), which can be very expensive and increases in cost over time. Another option is for members to find insurance from a private insurer.


In an article on Military.com entitled "Beyond SGLI," Mike McHugh discusses the limitations of the SGLI and suggests that members should also research other options offered by private insurers. Captain Mike McHugh graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, served in the Navy as a Submarine Officer, and retired after 30 years of service. In his article, when describing the SGLI, Mike McHugh said, "SGLI is not enough protection for a young growing family and it will terminate when you leave the service; long before you need it." He goes on to describe members options after leaving the military. "SGLI is very generous in providing you with coverage for free for 120 days after you leave active duty, but then it is gone. You do have an opportunity to convert over to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) when you separate or retire from active duty. However, if you are healthy, you will find the VGLI premiums to be very expensive and they increase every five years."


Because of the abundance of conflicting information, Trans World Assurance recommends that all military members complete a life insurance needs assessment.


Trans World Assurance President Charles Royals states, "Military members may be overwhelmed and confused when researching life insurance decisions. Each member's individual circumstances and needs are unique. The first step in making these decisions is to do a life insurance needs assessment. The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs provides a Life Insurance Needs Calculator on its website to help guide military members. This calculator can be a helpful guide, but ultimately, members should seek the advice of an insurance or financial planning professional to determine their individual needs. If military members are near retirement or close to separation, the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs website also lists a number of private companies that military members can use to convert their SGLI into a permanent form of life insurance."

Tags: Trans World Assurance, military life insurance, life insurance needs assessment

Trans World Assurance's Flexible Dollar Builder Reaches 50-year Milestone

 

In the competitive and ever changing life insurance industry, many insurance companies, to stay competitive, replace old products with new ones or change existing products to stay ahead of the competition, but as the Flexible Dollar Builder (FDB) by Trans World Assurance reaches the 50-year milestone, it has remained virtually unchanged.


In the beginning, the product was designed to provide military members with life insurance and an accumulation fund to build cash for retirement. Back then, there was no Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and many military members had no insurance and little retirement. Today, the policy still serves the military and continues to gain new audiences. The Flexible Dollar Builder is now used as a retirement and employee benefit plan for teachers, municipalities, civilian government employees and individuals looking to gain protection and accumulate cash.


The program appeals to a wide audience because of its easy to understand structure and variety of beneficial features. The flexibility of the program as well as its interest paying track record also make it very attractive. Because the program includes permanent life protection and also access to accumulation funds, it can be used for a number of life changing events. For this reason, families are using the cash accumulation feature of the Flexible Dollar Builder for things such as a college fund, retirement plan, supplement to employee benefits, emergency fund, home purchase and military discharge relocation.**


The Flexible Dollar Builder Life Insurance plan includes, a tax-deferred, interest-bearing Accumulation Fund. The interest rate on the fund has averaged 10.2 percent over the last 32 years.* It is currently guaranteed by Trans World Assurance to be at least 4 percent. The current rate of 5 percent will remain the same for the rest of the year. In conjunction with their life insurance premium, policyholders can contribute additional funds each year to the Accumulation Fund. The money in the fund grows tax-deferred and policyholders can withdraw accumulation fund values at anytime.**


"We are proud to offer innovative products like the Flexible Dollar Builder that have stood the test of time," stated Trans World Assurance president Charles B. Royals.

"We are also proud that Trans World Assurance remains strong and stable even in these uncertain economic times. Our conservative approach of investing in sound assets, such as U.S. treasury bonds, has kept us strong and financially stable."


Even in the most challenging economy the United States has seen in recent history, Trans World Assurance remains strong and stable. The company's A.M. Best financial strength rating has been B++ (Good) or higher for the last 45 years. A.M. Best Company is a credit rating organization that serves the financial and health care service industries. It is an independent third party and neither endorses nor is affiliated with any of the companies it rates.


*Past performance is not an indicator of future results.
**There may be a 5% charge on amounts withdrawn in the first 10 years.

Tags: Trans World Assurance, military life insurance, Flexible Dollar Builder (FDB), 50 year anniversary

Future First Universal Life by Trans World Assurance Emerges as a Clear Leader in the Military Market

Since its introduction in 2009 by Trans World Assurance, the Future First Universal Life Insurance policy has seized an overwhelming amount of the company's new business with a majority of that business coming from Military members. Agents of Trans World Assurance, many of whom are Military veterans, recognize the popularity of the Future First product and have also expressed their preference for it.

"The response that I've received from Military members in regards to Future First is exciting," said Peter Gilbertson, a long-time agent of Trans World Assurance. "As an Air Force veteran, I understand why they like this product so much. It was designed for them and addresses their needs as members of the Military."

When designing the Future First policy, Trans World Assurance consulted with a panel of agents, who were former military members, to determine how to best meet the specific needs of this highly complex and specialized market. The initial Future First Universal Life Insurance policy they created contained the following features:

  • No "war clause" 
  • Portability allowing both career and short-term enlisted service members to take the policy with them wherever they go 
  • Cash accumulation within the policy that grows tax deferred 
  • Current rate of return that is very competitive along with a guaranteed minimum rate of return of 3% 
  • Tax free access to cash values through policy loans 
  • Income tax free death benefits for beneficiaries 

Recognizing the quickly growing popularity of the product, executives at Trans World Assurance decided to further enhance the Future First policy making it even more appealing to the Military life insurance market. They've added the following features to the initial product:

  • Bonus interest rate of 6.5% for all policies reaching $100,000 in cash value 
  • Charitable Benefit Rider provides an additional 1% death benefit above the base policy face amount without adding any additional cost to the policy. This allows Military members to support charities that they deem important, such as the USO or the Wounded Warrior Project. 
  • Accelerated Benefit Rider provides enhanced security and access to funds if the insured becomes seriously ill. 

"As a founding member and continuing underwriter of Serviceman's Group Life Insurance (SGLI), we realize that all servicemen already have some level of SGLI," stated a Trans World Assurance Executive. "But establishing an additional permanent plan while they are in the military helps provide a solid foundation as they transition to civilian life. We are excited about this product and the important need it fills for the families of those that serve our country." 

Tags: FutureFirst Universal Life, interest rate, military life insurance, military, Charitable Benefit Rider, Accelerated Benefit Rider

Trans World Assurance Launches Online Customer Service Initiative for Military Members


In a continuing effort to provide military members with better and more convenient service, Trans World Assurance is pleased to announce the launch of a new online customer service initiative. The company recognizes that its military policyholders need the ability to easily access information and communicate with Trans World Assurance from all over the world.

Details of the new customer service initiative include:

- Optimizing the Trans World Assurance website for mobile and touch screen devices. This gives military members who do not have access to computers and the Internet the ability to connect to the website.

- Publishing a new monthly email newsletter and a Trans World Assurance Blog. With these new ways of communicating, Trans World Assurance can provide members with valuable information on a variety of topics.

- Providing online account access for policyholders. With access to accounts through the website, policyholders can obtain information about life insurance policies, change contact information, download forms, and much more.

This initiative is part of an ongoing effort by Trans World Assurance to better serve military members. The company continues to stay true to the vision of its founder by sticking to the principle of giving outstanding service and unwavering support for those that serve our country.

"We want to give members convenient online access to Trans World Assurance as they travel abroad," said a company spokesman. "With thousands of members of the military and their families as customers, our mission is to give them the tools and control to manage their important information anytime, anywhere."

Trans World Assurance was founded 50 years ago by Charles P. Woodbury, a decorated Marine aviator and has grown into one of the most solid and safe insurance companies in America. The company has emphasized ultra safe investments and has weathered the financial storms to which other companies have fallen victim. Trans World Assurance is a proud founding member of Serviceman's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and continues as an underwriter of the SGLI.

Tags: Trans World Assurance, military life insurance, military, Trans World Assurance Blog

Trans World Assurance Company Announces 2011 Interest Rate


One of the country’s top private insurers of military personnel, small groups and municipalities, Trans World Assurance proudly announces its 2011 interest rates. Both the Accumulation Fund as well as the Future First Universal Life Policy will each receive 5%. For the Accumulation Fund, this represents a 10.21% average over the last 32 years.

A company spokesman stated, "We are extremely pleased to have this history of excellent returns over such a long time while maintaining a very conservative investment philosophy. The stock market has gone up and down, and real estate has gone up and down, delivering losses to many Americans. Our primary investment vehicle over the years has been United States treasury notes, as well as highly rated corporate bonds. The safety of our customers’ money, the steadfast payments of our interest, and our long track record make our products a very attractive option for building a sound financial foundation. As we enter our 50th year of service to those in the military serving our country, small group businesses, and individuals of all walks of life, we are proud to say that no one has ever lost a penny with Trans World Assurance Company.”

Trans World Assurance Co., founded and run by experienced life insurance professionals, provides innovative products designed to meet the specialized needs of career military and municipality workers, as well as small businesses, throughout the United States and around the world. Established in 1962, TWA is headquartered in San Mateo California, and is licensed in 46 states and worldwide. For more information call (650) 348-2300 or visit www.transworldassurance.com

Tags: FutureFirst Universal Life, Flexible life insurance, interest rate, military life insurance, Accumulation Fund

Trans World Assurance Enters 50th Year of Service to Military


SAN MATEO, CA - 
Trans World Assurance Company is proud to announce that it is entering its 50th year serving those in the Armed Services. The California-based company was founded in 1962 and has grown over the years to be one of the most solid and financially sound insurance companies in America.

Board Chairman Earl Bartlett, USAF retired, states, “We continue to emphasize the safety of the policyholders’ funds above all else. We believe that we are one of the few companies in America that can say that for every dollar in our policyholder funds, we have more than a dollar invested in United States treasury obligations. In today's world of falling stock prices and falling real estate prices, we offer an extremely safe environment for those who have purchased our policies.

We salute those in the military who have served both historically and today. The policies that they have purchased from us while serving provide a financial foundation as they transition from the military to civilian life. Also, we are proud to be one of the providers of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and also act as a conversion company to Veterans’ Group Life.”

Trans World Assurance Co., founded and run by experienced life insurance professionals, provides innovative products designed to meet the specialized needs of career military and municipality workers, as well as small businesses, throughout the United States and around the world. Established in 1962, TWA is headquartered in San Mateo California, and is licensed in 46 states and worldwide. For more information call (650) 348-2300 or visit www.transworldassuance.com.

Tags: Trans World Assurance, military life insurance, Servicemen's Group Life Insurance (SGLI), 50 year anniversary

Trans World Assurance Company announces bonus interest rate


In yet another exciting addition to its FUTURE FIRST UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE policy, Trans World Assurance Company announces a 6 1/2% bonus interest rate for all policies reaching $100,000 in cash value. This bonus interest rate will be applied to the entire cash value of the policy as long as it remains above $100,000.

This bonus interest rate will greatly reward those individuals who have faithfully paid into their policy over the years, and provide both them and their beneficiaries a truly superior product. This bonus interest rate is in addition to the Charitable Benefit Rider and Early Distribution Rider that are also available on this policy.

Tags: FutureFirst Universal Life, Flexible life insurance, interest rate, military life insurance