Chairman & President’s Message
As your Association approaches its 70th anniversary, it has never been as financially strong or better prepared to support you and your family. With our low-cost life insurance coverage, underwritten by 5Star Life Insurance Company, unique features like no combat or terrorism exclusions, and an emergency death benefit of up to $15,000, we are here when you need us.
As we reflect on our upcoming anniversary, we are proud to be a part of an organization whose noble mission of serving those who serve this great nation has not changed in 70 years, and we’re confident we’ll be here to serve many future generations of AFBA members.
From workplace to war zone, we stand behind you.
Recently, our senior staff, Board of Directors, and I took an opportunity to formally express our organization’s value proposition. We believe the language below reflects our heritage and captures what makes us a vibrant organization for today’s members while also guiding us into the future. We hope you feel proud, as we do, to be a part of this organization.
Expressing the value we provide to our members:
We are a mission-driven enterprise founded in 1947 with the support of General Eisenhower to protect military families. While we have grown considerably from our first offices in the basement of the Pentagon, we will never be too large to forget that we are here to serve with integrity by offering flexible, customized insurance solutions. Today, it is our privilege to serve those who serve our great nation in the armed forces, as well as first responders, federal government and department of defense employees, and all citizens of this great nation.
Our Value Proposition:
- We offer the best of a member focused, not for profit association with life insurance expertise, providing security and peace of mind to our members and policyholders through much needed, low cost, easily underwritten life insurance protection.
- Because there are no limits to the sacrifices our members and policyholders may be called upon to make, we do not exclude any occupation, duty assignment, deployment or hazard from our protection, at any time. Ever.
- Unlike anyone else in our industry, we offer a no cost scholarship benefit to the survivors of those whose deaths occur as a result of combat, terrorism or participation in responding to an emergency.
- From workplace to war zone, we stand behind our insured families, ready to deliver on our promise to pay claims quickly and compassionately. We lean forward to do just that.
We want to express our gratitude to all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. AFBA salutes and thanks all veterans. Our office will be closed in observance of Veterans Day on Friday, November 11.
Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary
December 7th marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Our association will be paying its respects in a special publication “Pearl Harbor: 75th Anniversary – Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future” that will chronicle this historic moment and examine the lessons learned plus the military and technology tactics which emerged as a result. We’re happy that AFBA is a part of this historic and patriotic effort.
As you read through the newsletter, you will see detailed updates, including how we support our members, our recent sponsorship of a special program, 9/11 Inside the Pentagon, highlights of our enhanced Member Portal, and an article on cyber security and terms with which you should be familiar. As always, we have included additional information on valuable member benefits.
Thank you for your support of AFBA. We hope you enjoy your Fall Newsletter. On behalf of all AFBA staff, have a safe and happy holiday season.
General Ralph E. "Ed" Eberhart, USAF (Ret.) Chairman & President
Our number one mission is to serve our members. That can mean different things depending on the day – it means showing we care in the midst of a disaster or delivering new processes to make it easier to do business with us. This year, we have had many opportunities to do both.
Here When You Need Us
We have seen extreme weather hit parts of the country causing extensive damage to property and major disruptions to people’s lives. It’s at times like these that we can show our members that we care by providing some relief in the midst of disaster. Due to flooding disasters in WV, MD, LA, IN, IA, and SC we suspended termination of life insurance policies for a period of time, giving people more time to submit their payments without fear of losing coverage. When disaster strikes, we don’t want you to worry about losing your valuable life insurance coverage with so much else on your mind. These important messages are posted on our website at www.afba.com.
Enhanced Member Portal
In mid-October we launched the newly updated and redesigned Member Portal, a secure, online platform which gives you 24/7 access to important policy information. In addition to improved layout and design, you will notice we have also added new functionality. We are working on adding new features in the coming few months and will share those updates in our next newsletter.
- Consolidated Account Access. Once you log in, you have access to all your active policies on a single, personalized screen. You can easily set up a one-time online bill payment, setup recurring payments, manage your profile, and download policy related forms.
- Mobile-Friendly Design. You now have full access to all of the site's features from any device, including your desktop computer, smart phone, tablet or any other mobile device. The responsive design of the new portal presents all site features in a user friendly and elegant format.
Paperless Billing Benefits
Using the online services of AFBA's website for paperless bill viewing and electronic bill payment not only has environmental benefits, it will save you money on postage and provides round the clock access to your billing status. To sign up, update your profile at www.afba.com or call
Thank You for Your Patience
We appreciate your patience and understanding in mid-September when our phone lines were down due to a vendor hardware issue. Our IT team worked with our vendor around the clock to address the problem, and our customer service representatives implemented an ingenious back up plan to answer your calls on their cell phones until the issue was resolved. Again, we thank you for your patience during that time.
Help Us Better Serve You
We continually seek new ways to improve our products, member benefits, and member services. The best way to do this is to ask the experts – you, our members. Please
click here to complete a quick survey. Upon completion of the survey, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 gift card. We appreciate your participation and value your feedback. We hope this survey will help us meet your expectations and improve our overall service to our members and their families.
Do you follow AFBA on Facebook and Twitter? If not, you’re missing out on interesting articles, videos, and infographics on a variety of topics. We focus on matters important to our members, particularly, veterans and first responders, but there are also general-interest posts on resume writing and life insurance education. Friend us, connect with us, follow us!
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Since its inception following World War I, Veterans Day has evolved over the years in name, date and traditions, but the purpose of the holiday has always been to honor the men and women, living and dead, who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Veterans Day is observed on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls. November 11 marked the end of World War I and its significance helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and friends. While most people in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving as a day at home with family, thousands of military personnel and first responders are on duty. We are especially thankful for their willingness to make this and many other sacrifices to keep our country safe at home and abroad.
Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary
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National Guard Association of South Carolina on Board
In July, we welcomed the National Guard Association of South Carolina to our insurance programs. The onboarding has gone smoothly and we are proud to welcome the NGASC members and dependents as part of the AFBA family.
9/11 Inside the Pentagon
In September, we were a proud sponsor of a PBS special program “9/11 Inside the Pentagon”. Marking the 15th anniversary, the broadcast told the rarely seen story of the attack in which 184 people died. Much of the media coverage at the time focused on New York City and United flight 93, so some of the details of the attack that took place on the Pentagon had rarely been heard publicly until now. If you missed the program, it’s still available at http://www.weta.org/tv/program/911-inside-pentagon.
National Guard Association of the United States
One of the largest conferences we sponsor and attend is the NGAUS annual conference. NGAUS is The National Guard Association of the United States and lobbies on behalf of its 45,000 members. Attended by more than 5,000 current and former members of the National Guard, the 138th Conference and Exhibition took place September 9-12 in Baltimore, MD.
Consolidated Assurance's First Responders Training — Focus on Leadership
On October 13-16 we hosted our top insurance agents in the First Responder market. For 3 days, our top agents trained on leadership, self-assessment and motivation. This home office visit gave these producers an opportunity to tour the home office, meet with key department heads and get deeper understanding of how their business gets processed and members are supported. AFBA board member, Sal Cassano, retired Commissioner, FDNY, spoke to the group and delivered a well-received message about the attacks of 9-11 and the leadership required in the rebuilding efforts that followed. General Eberhart spoke on a topic he has lived and constantly reflects, the traits of a good leader.
Children’s Protect – Launched in August
Your young children or grandchildren mean the world to you. And you want nothing more than their happiness, safety, and well-being. There is an important thing you can do today to protect them for years to come. You can provide life insurance protection and guarantee their insurability regardless of future health changes. Our updated product launched August 1. $50,000 of life insurance is available for $8 per month until age 44.
For active duty military, retirees, and separates, you can provide the protection and peace of mind your loved ones deserve at affordable rates with the Better Alternative term life insurance. With no war or terrorism exclusions, you can secure as much as $400,000 worth of coverage. If you’re under age 50 and don’t use tobacco, you can get $100,000 worth of coverage for $8 per month with no medical exam.
Call 800-776-2322 or go to www.afba.com for more information on any of these products.
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Understanding Common Cybersecurity Terms
Sometimes information security can be confusing. Even some of the terms themselves can easily be misunderstood. To help, this is a list in alphabetical order, of the most commonly used information security awareness terms and what they mean in every day terms.
A security program that can run on a computer or mobile device and protects you by identifying and stopping the spread of malware on your system. Anti-virus cannot detect all malware (see definition further down), so even if it is active, your system might still get infected. Anti-virus can also be used at the organizational level. For example, email servers may have anti-virus integrated with it to scan incoming or outgoing email. Sometimes anti-virus tools are called 'anti-malware', because these products are designed to defend against various types of malicious software.
These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in your browser or its plugins and helper applications when you simply surf to an attacker-controlled website. Some computer attackers set up their own evil websites that are designed to automatically attack and exploit anyone that visits the website. Other attackers compromise trusted websites such as ecommerce sites and deploy their exploit software there. Often these attacks occur without the victims realizing that they are under attack.
Code that is designed to take advantage of a vulnerability. An exploit is designed to give an attacker the ability to execute additional malicious programs on the compromised system or to provide unauthorized access to affected data or application.
A security program that filters inbound and outbound network connections. In some ways you can think of firewalls as a virtual traffic cop, determining which traffic can go through the firewall. Almost all computers today come with firewall software installed. In addition, firewalls can be implemented as network devices to filter traffic that traverses through them.
Malware - Virus, Worm, Trojan, Spyware
Malware stands for 'malicious software'. It is any type of code or program cyber attackers use to perform malicious actions. Traditionally there have been different types of malware based on their capabilities and means of propagation, as we have listed below. However these technical distinctions are no longer relevant as modern malware combines the characteristics from each of these in a single program.
- Virus: A type of malware that spreads by infecting other files, rather than existing in a standalone manner. Viruses often, though not always, usually spread through human interaction, such as opening an infected file or application.
- Worm: A type of malware that can propagate automatically, typically without requiring any human interaction for it to spread. Worms often spread across networks, though can also infect systems through other means, such as USB keys. An example of a worm is Conficker, which infected millions of computer systems starting in 2008 and is still active today.
- Trojan: A shortened form of "Trojan Horse", this type of malware appears to have a legitimate or at least benign use, but masks a hidden sinister function. For example, you may download and install a free screensaver which actually works well as a screensaver. But that software could also be malicious, it will infect your computer once you install it.
- Spyware: A type of malware that is designed to spy on the victim's activities, capturing sensitive data such as the person's passwords, online shopping, and screen contents. One popular type of spyware, a keylogger, is optimized for logging the victim's keyboard activity and transmitting the captured information to the remote attacker.
A patch is an update to a vulnerable program or system. A common practice to keep your computer and mobile devices secure is installing the latest vendor's patches in a timely fashion. Some vendors release patches on a monthly or quarterly basis. Therefore, having a computer that is unpatched for even a few weeks could leave it vulnerable.
Phishing is a social engineering technique where cyber attackers attempt to fool you into taking an action in response to an email. Phishing was a term originally used to describe a specific attack scenario. Attackers would send out emails pretending to be a trusted bank or financial institution, their goal was to fool victims into clicking on a link in the email. Once clicked, victims were taken to a website that pretended to be the bank, but was really created and controlled by the attacker. If the victim attempted to login thinking they were at their bank, their login and password would then be stolen by the attacker. The term has evolved and often means not just attacks designed to steal your password, but emails designed to send you to websites that hack into your browser, or even emails with infected attachments.
A psychological attack used by cyber attackers to deceive their victims into taking an action that will place the victim at risk. For example, cyber attackers may trick you into revealing your password or fool you into installing malicious software on your computer. They often do this by pretending to be someone you know or trust, such as a bank, company or even a friend.
Unwanted or unsolicited emails, typically sent to numerous recipients with the hope of enticing people to read the embedded advertisements, click on a link or open an attachment. Spam is often used to convince recipients to purchase illegal or questionable products and services, such as pharmaceuticals from fake companies. Spam is also often used to distribute malware to potential victims.
Spear phishing describes a type of phishing attacks that target to specific victims. But instead of sending out an email to millions of email addresses, cyber attackers send out a very small number of crafted emails to very specific individuals, usually all at the same organization. Because of the targeted nature of this attack, spear phishing attacks are often harder to detect and usually more effective at fooling the victims.
This is any weakness that attackers or their malicious programs may be able to exploit. For example it can be a bug in a computer program or a misconfigured webserver. An attacker or malware may be able to take advantage of the vulnerability to gain unauthorized access to the affected system. However, vulnerabilities can also be a weakness in people or organizational processes.
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Since 2004, the Charles C. Blanton scholarship has been available to candidates for use towards an undergraduate degree at an accredited college of up to $10,000 per family per year for a maximum benefit of $40,000 for college tuition and fees. The scholarship is provided to the surviving spouse or children of an insured AFBA member who dies as a result of combat or a first responder who dies while involved in operations at the scene of an incident. 124 families are now eligible for this program.
Consider Long Term Care Insurance
Put off by the complexity of this type of planning? Experience the AFBA Long Term Care Insurance Program. We selected LTCI Partners, LLC, to help members with this planning. In a simple conversation they can help personalize a plan so you own meaningful benefits that fit your budget. They shop and compare rates with numerous leading companies – including plans with special AFBA member pricing. Read more>>
LTCI Partners will find the plan that helps deliver the best results for you. They can also provide comparisons to other programs targeted to veterans and won’t hesitate to recommend another program if it better serves your needs.
Call 855-581-6647 or go to www.ltcipartners.com/afba for more information.
Special Discounts for AFBA Members from GEICO
Save even more on insurance from GEICO!
- Savings for multi-car policies, good student, safety features, and more.
- 24/7 support, online or by phone, for claims bill paying, policy changes, and more.
- Great policy rates for renters, motorcycles, and much more.
- Storage protection plans with reduced premiums.
- More than 75 years of service to the military.
Get a free quote: http://www.geico.com/mil/afba or call 800-368-2734.
Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Discount amount varies in some states.
GEICO contracts with various membership entities and other organizations, but these entities do not underwrite the offered insurance products. Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Discount amount varies in some states. One group discount applicable per policy. Coverage is individual. In New York a premium reduction may be available. GEICO may not be involved in a formal relationship with each organization; however, you still may qualify for a special discount based on your membership, employment or affiliation with those organizations. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, One GEICO Plaza, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko image © 1999-2016.
PenFed Mortgages: Helping AFBA Members Do Better
Whether you are in the market to purchase a new home, need an equity line of credit, or want to refinance your mortgage, PenFed's mortgage lending programs will match your needs and budget.
Consider a Fixed Rate Mortgage with PenFed. Competitively priced rates, combined with our easy online application and our free 60 day rate lock on home purchases with a ratified sales contract and refinances, make these programs an attractive choice for doing better financially.
PenFed's Adjustable Rate Mortgages [ARM] are straightforward programs that get frequent industry recognition. Our adjustable rate mortgages are available for home purchases and refinances.
Take a look at what PenFed offers and decide which program is right for you. Visit PenFed.org/AFBA or call 800-247-5626 to learn more.
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AFBA Members are Invited to Apply for Auto Loans from PenFed
PenFed's Auto Lending programs provide the flexibility and all the extras you seek as you try to do better with your finances:
- New car financing available up to 110% of MSRP - including taxes, title and tags
Used car loans available up to 110% of NADA Avg. retail value
No down payment required
Convenient online application process
Various lending terms available
If you're thinking about buying a car, why wait? To get behind the wheel of a new or used car with PenFed, visit PenFed.org/AFBA today.
Emergency Assistance Plus Provides a Crucial Safety Net
Any time you have an accident or sudden illness while traveling away from home Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+), offered through AFBA, provides a crucial safety net that helps pay for emergency medical transportation expenses your health or travel insurance generally will NOT cover. With more than 20 assistance benefits, EA+ steps in to provide Medical Evacuation, Medical Assistance, Travel Assistance, and Assistance for Companions.
Now EA+ is better than ever with the addition of the Rescue Nurse benefit, which can save members between $5,000 and $10,000. Read the below testimonial from a member to see EA+ in action:
"My wife and I were in Arizona for the winter when she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. We needed to return home so I purchased airline tickets. We were told we would be unable to travel because of my wife’s condition and need for therapy. After much frustration, I contacted EA+. They sent a nurse, who could look after my wife’s medical needs during our transportation home. They also booked the flights for me! The nurse provided much relief. We are so thankful we had EA+. You were great and the help we received was very professional and friendly. I have recommended EA+ to my friends.
For more information, visit www.emergencyassistanceplus.com/afba or call toll free 855-352-3032.
Discounted, Convenient Health Screenings Offered to AFBA Members
AFBA members receive a discount off of a package of four important preventive health screenings through our partnership with Life Line Screening. It is proactive and smart to take care of your cardiovascular health and stay healthy and active. AFBA and Life Line Screening have partnered since 2010.
Life Line Screening data shows that seventy percent of people aged fifty-five and older have at least two risk factors for cardiovascular disease and may not even know it.
By special arrangement, our members can get four screenings for only $129:
* Carotid Artery/Stroke
* Abdominal Aorta
* Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
* Peripheral Arterial Disease
Other screenings are available as well at an additional cost, including"
* HDL and LDL Cholesterol levels
* Diabetes risk
* Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
* Kidney and thyroid function, and more
The package of four screenings is discounted for our members, so take advantage of this important preventive health program today. If other screenings are recommended for you based on your age and risk factors, consultants will work with you to create a package that is right for you.
Call 866-895-3365 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/afba.
Save with the AFBA TRICARE Supplement Plan
Enroll in the TRICARE Supplement Plan and receive reimbursement for:
- Inpatient and outpatient cost shares
- Prescription drug co-pays
- Excess charges up to the TRICARE legal limit
What does this mean for you?
Choosing the TRICARE Supplement Plan will provide you with worldwide coverage that wraps around your TRICARE benefit plan giving you the protection you need and want for you and your family.
We offer supplement programs for:
- TRICARE Standard
With the uncertainty of our health care system and yearly increases in premiums, rest assured that you will have stability with the AFBA TRICARE Supplement Plans.
Don’t pay more than you need to for health care. Enroll at www.AFBA-tricare.com or call us at 855-311-1478.
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Thank you for being a member of AFBA. We are honored and privileged to support those who serve this great nation. AFBA reaches out to support all of those brave men and women who may go into harm’s way. It is because of you, our loyal members, that we able to enter our 70th year stronger than ever and ready to support future generations.
Referrals are the greatest compliment. Please send your interested friends and family to www.afba.com or ask them call us at 800-776-2322.