Chairman — President’s Message
AFBA is proud of its commitment to serve our members and their families in their time of need. Over our 67 year history, AFBA has paid in excess of $1.6 billion in life insurance claims. For each claim there is a family or individual going through a stressful time and enduring a period of grief and possibly confusion. Our entire staff, specifically our member service department which includes the claims unit, is dedicated to assisting our members however possible.
AFBA’s mission will always include taking care of the U.S. servicemembers and veterans. That said, we are increasingly providing peace of mind for the country’s first responders and federal employees. Clearly these ranks include many individuals who put themselves in harm’s way and AFBA is here to provide protection for their families.
Team Spotlight: Member Service Department
AFBA recognizes the hard work demonstrated by our Member Service Representatives (MSRs). From addressing the simplest of questions, to assisting bereaved family members, our personable MSRs remain friendly, professional, considerate, empathetic, and caring.
Click here to learn more about the voices on the other end of the line in our Team Spotlight.
Here is how our members feel about our service:
“Dear Mr. Mendelson – Thank you very much for your kind words. My father was a great man and his loss will indeed be deeply felt by those who knew him. He was fiercely proud of his military service and I appreciate your words of comfort and support…” – Mrs. L from Ohio
“I would like to thank you for the speedy care and uncomplicated processing for fulfilling the paperwork on the insurance claim. I would recommend your insurance company to anyone. Thank you so very much!” − Mrs. C from Virginia
Keeping Up With Technology
Earlier this year, AFBA completed a telephone system upgrade which provides the convenience of making life insurance payments over the phone with your credit card. Click here to read more.
The election following our Spring Newsletter resulted in two new board members: SMA Kenneth O. Preston, USA (Ret.) and CMSAF James A. Roy, USAF (Ret.). We have a Board of Directors any Fortune 500 company would envy. We value this leadership, experience and dedication. They ensure we always keep you – our members and their families – as our number one priority. For more information on the Board of Directors, please check out their bios.
Member Benefits and Services — Assets In Order
When tragedy strikes, and a family member suddenly passes away, loved ones are left to try and piece together that person’s assets and final wishes while coping with their own shock, heartache and sense of loss. To assist families while going through such heartache, AFBA is proud to offer our members Assets In Order’s Legacy Lockbox, an easy-to-use, affordable online solution that enables individuals to plan ahead. Legacy Lockbox allows members to store, organize and update a wide range of personal information and documentation in a single, secure place for future access by loved ones. The online service is protected by 256-bit encryption, equal to security levels used by banks and major financial institutions. The good news is that you can try it out for free. Click here to find out more.
AFBA continues to provide alliances with like-minded organizations to better serve our members. The Association has engaged Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) to offer competitive auto loans and an excellent auto buying service. Emergency Air Plus (EA+) offers a first rate air ambulance service to our members who travel. We’re also proud to continue our relationships with the GEICO auto insurance program, ASI’s TRICARE supplement program, and John Hancock’s Long Term Care Insurance.
Estate Planning & Survivor Checklist
Sometimes the greatest hurdle in estate planning is determining what documents need to be obtained and stored. In direct response to member suggestions, AFBA has put together two helpful checklists, one for getting your estate planning affairs in order, and one for survivors navigating the procedures following the death of a loved one.
Keeping Fit When You Become a Veteran
The transition period after completing active-duty can be fraught with changes like finding a permanent home, job-hunting and navigating veterans benefits. It may be tempting to kick back and relax amid all these stressors, but you can’t let your physical fitness fall by the wayside. Find out fun ways to keep fit with friends and family in our most recent infographic.
Salute to Veterans
We are reminded by the upcoming Veterans Day holiday to express our gratitude to all the men and women who have served. AFBA salutes all veterans. Our office will be closed in observance of Veterans Day on November 11th.
Thank you for serving and please have a safe and joyful upcoming holiday season.
From Armistice to Veterans Day
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 U.S. Armed Forces.
November 11, 1918 – At 11 AM, the armistice ending “The Great War” is declared by the Allied Forces.
1919 – President Wilson proclaims November 11 as Armistice Day, a day to “be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory…”
1921 – An unknown solider is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb has the words inscribed, “Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.” Soliders from World War II, The Korean War, and The Vietnam War also rest in the Tomb of the Unknowns.
1938 – Armistice Day becomes a federal holiday.
1954 – President Eisenhower signs a bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to include all U.S. veterans.
1968 – As part of the Uniform Holidays Bill, Congress changes the date of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October beginning in 1971. The purpose was to create three-day weekends throughout the year to encourage rest and travel for government workers.
1975 – Due to the negative reception from many who found the date of Veterans Day too historically significant to change, and the refusal of many states to move the holiday, President Ford changes the date of Veterans Day back to November 11 beginning in 1978.
Today, Veterans Day is observed on November 11, regardless of the day of the week 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.
Team Spotlight: Member Service Department
As AFBA’s front line to members and their families, our Member Service Representatives (MSRs) work hard to help everyone who calls – no matter the problem. From the simplest of questions, to dealing with challenging inquiries, and to assisting bereaved family members, our MSRs remain friendly, professional, considerate, empathetic, and caring.
The goal of our Member Service Department is to provide excellent service. Providing this high level of service requires three critical skills:
1. Strong Communication Skills
2. Superior Interpersonal Skills
3. Problem Solving and Customer Retention Skills
A simple and known fact is that people would rather talk to a person than an automated machine and this is especially true when it comes to life insurance. Our members want to have the assurance and confidence that everything regarding their coverage is correct and if something should happen to them, it will be handled correctly.
Providing a high level of member service can be quite challenging. Our MSRs perform the following tasks:
- Listen to questions, comments and concerns about coverage and provide accurate answers (e.g. coverage amount, beneficiary information).
- Advise on alternative options that may better suit their life insurance needs.
- Verify and update contact information.
- Explain bills, research and calculate the correct contribution and identify any errors that might be on the bill.
- Take phone payments and update pay modes for the member’s benefit.
- Assist with Housing/Medicare/SSN department regulations by filling out and sending forms.
- Efficiently handle all complaints.
Our MSRs have the training and the ability to respond to a variety of situations at a moment’s notice. All this contributes to the high level of customer loyalty and retention our enterprise enjoys.
Keeping Up With Technology
Pay Your AFBA Bill By Phone
We have recently upgraded our phone system to provide you self-service options. You can now access your account information, pay your bill, and order printed material using our interactive phone system. To access these features 24 hours a day, seven days a week, dial 1-800-776-2322 and follow the prompts.
You can pay your bill using MasterCard or Visa debit/credit cards.
Have the following information ready when calling:
- Social security number and date of birth to access your account
- 16-digit debit/credit card number, expiration date and security code to make phone payment
Manage your account anywhere, anytime.
Set up an account today on www.afba.com for instant access to the following:
- Make an online credit card payment (Visa/Mastercard) or change your card’s expiration date
- View account certificate/summary
- Update home address
Member Benefits and Services
Assets In Order
In October 2014, AIO (Assets in Order) and AFBA announced a new marketing alliance. Under the terms of this exciting agreement, AIO will be allowed to extend its Legacy Lockbox platform to AFBA members. As a compliment to AFBA life-insurance programs, the Legacy Lockbox is a secure online planning and storage service that organizes all of your documented and digital assets in one central location to be accessed by you or your loved ones when needed.
With your Legacy Lockbox, you can be sure that all of your digital assets and private information will be safe for coming generations. Family photos, videos, insurance documents, as well as final wishes and words of wisdom can be preserved for years to come.
How Does It Work?
Store Your Digital Assets and Asset Information
With your Legacy Lockbox, you can store various digital assets as well as asset information. From lists to files, we keep everything consolidated on a secure server.
Add friends and family that will be able to verify a death, in the event that one is reported.
Recipients are trusted individuals that will receive your asset information and carry out your final wishes when the time comes.
Friends and family can login to the system to report a death.
Automated Asset Information Notification
Once a death has been verified, Recipients are notified and given access to digital assets and asset information. They will receive their own password key to access the account.
Membership Has Its Benefits
As an incentive to join, all AFBA members receive a complimentary Legacy Lockbox subscription until January 2015. Future renewals are discounted to $14.95 per year, a 25% savings and benefit for your membership in AFBA.
Call 888-840-1213 or click here to sign up online.
Get exclusive access to PenFed’s Car Buying Service and auto financing. The online Car Buying Service will give you the ability to research new and used vehicles, get safety information, see photos and videos of vehicles, read reviews, and receive negotiated price quotes on vehicles from dealers in your area.
In addition, PenFed’s auto lending program offers some of the lowest rates in the marketplace. You can benefit from a 1.74% APR on new vehicles. What are you waiting for? Get behind the wheel of a new or used car with PenFed today by visiting www.penfed.org.
Exclusive GEICO Discounts for AFBA Members
You can save even more on insurance from GEICO!
With GEICO you’ll enjoy:
Get a free quote: 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. One group discount applicable per policy. Coverage is individual. In New York a premium reduction may be available. Motorcycle coverage is underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Motorcycle insurance is not available in all states. Renters coverage is written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company,Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko image © 1999-2014. © 2014 GEICO
Three FAQs on TRICARE Supplement Every Military Retiree Should Know
Approximately 5.29 million military retirees and family members worldwide are eligible for TRICARE health insurance. Of these, 2.55 million retirees are using TRICARE, 950,000 of whom are using TRICARE Standard. While TRICARE Standard is a comprehensive insurance plan and allows for more flexible healthcare options, it does not cover every expense a military retiree may encounter.
TRICARE Supplement insurance is a worthwhile investment for TRICARE Standard holders who are seeking to reduce out of pocket costs that are not covered by TRICARE. Here are answers to three commonly asked questions that military retirees may have regarding TRICARE Supplement insurance:
1. Who can benefit from TRICARE Supplement?
TRICARE Supplement plans are particularly beneficial to military retirees and their families who utilize TRICARE Standard as their primary insurance plan. Since TRICARE Standard is a 75/25 plan, retirees with the Standard plan can tremendously benefit from a supplement.
In the event of an accident or serious illness, retirees with TRICARE Standard may be subject to unexpected out-of-pocket costs for specialists, surgeries, hospital stays, and more. A TRICARE supplement plan can alleviate these costly expenses and help buffer military retiree families from the high costs of unexpected health issues that may arise in the future.
Additionally, many find that TRICARE Standard is much more convenient than TRICARE Prime. A retiree with a supplement can have 100% coverage while enjoying the flexibility of a Standard plan.
2. What are some TRICARE Supplement benefits?
As TRICARE prescription copayments increase, the reimbursement amount with a supplement plan also increases to remove the burden of higher medical expenses. Some out-of-pocket cost shares are also paid for, depending on the type of TRICARE you hold. Doctor and hospital cost shares are alleviated as well. A TRICARE supplement plan provides holders with the flexibility of choosing any TRICARE authorized provider just about anywhere in the world.
3. Why is a TRICARE Supplement important?
Simply put, it’s better to be safe than sorry. TRICARE Supplement gives military retirees and their families the peace of mind that they are protected financially regardless of what type of health care costs they encounter in their lives. The financial risk associated with a serious accident or illness is high and can destroy a family’s financial security. TRICARE Supplement allows retirees to take control of their financial futures by preparing themselves for any medical obstacle or unforeseen change in their TRICARE plan that may come their way.
|Don’t pay more than you need to for health care. Enroll at https://www.AFBAtricare.com or call us at (855) 311-6858.
About the Author:
Ted Painter is a retired U.S. Army Officer and currently works with legislators and several national organizations to promote the interests of our retired U.S. military.
What Do You Know About Long-Term Care?
Do you know that 70% of people age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care in their lifetime, and 20% of those age 65 and over will need care for more than five years? Find out how LTC insurance can help pay for the cost of long-term care by taking our Long-Term Care Quiz.
For more information, members may call J. Patrick Murphy, CLU, at 703-450-7344 or email [email protected].
AFBA Members: Travel Confidently with Emergency Assistance Plus
Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) is a safety net that helps you pay for emergencies your health and travel insurance generally will not cover.
Any time you take a vacation or go on a business trip, if you have an accident or sudden illness, EA+’s Medical Support Team is ready to get you the help you need. At a time when speed is essential to your recovery, EA+ quickly intervenes.
Learn more about the Emergency Assistance Plus Program, available through AFBA: Call toll-free 1-855-352-3032 or visit online at www.emergencyassistanceplus.com/afba.
5Star Bank 1 Year CD Special Rate: 0.80% / 0.80% Annual Percentage Yield*
Whether you’re just starting to build your savings or are well on your way, a Certificate of Deposit (CD) from 5Star Bank is an excellent investment. Interest rates on 5Star Bank CDs are guaranteed for the term of the investment, regardless of the changing market conditions. Call 800-776-2265 or click here to open an account.
*1 year CD/IRA special effective 10/10/2014 and offered at the bank’s discretion, rate may change daily. Offer good for the initial term only. The CD is automatically renewed into a standard CD term at maturity. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) assumes principal and interest remain on deposit for the term of the certificate. CD specials have a $1,000.00 minimum opening deposits, up to a maximum of $249,999.99. For amounts of $250,000 or more, please contact a 5Star Bank New Account Representative 1-800-776-2265. FDIC insured to the maximum allowed by law. All other CD/ IRA terms apply; penalty will be imposed for early withdrawal. Not valid for brokered deposits.
Estate Planning & Survivor Checklist
AFBA has put together two helpful checklists. The Estate Planning Checklist is a guideline for organizing your estate affairs and communicating your final wishes to your family and friends. The Survivor Checklist is for survivors navigating the procedures following the death of a loved one. We hope you will find these documents useful.
Keeping Fit When You Become a Veteran
You’ve finally completed your service to our great nation. This transition period can be fraught with changes like finding a permanent home, job-hunting and navigating veterans benefits. It may be tempting to kick back and relax amid all these stressors, but you can’t let your physical fitness fall by the wayside. Luckily, you can stay healthy with some less strenuous activities that you can enjoy by yourself or with friends and family.
A healthy mind and body
According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of a normal, brisk walk can be tremendous. Regular walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of coronary artery disease and other heart illnesses, strengthen your bones and even improve your mood. The same goes for running and weight lifting. Those health benefits can increase if you go farther, travel faster and walk more frequently. If you want to improve your mood and stay active and healthy, consider a regular brisk walk around the block.
Then again, maybe you want to have fun while you stay in shape. There are dozens of recreational activities you can engage in to work up a sweat and stay healthy. According to NutriStrategy, you can burn hundreds of calories by playing a sport or tackling other pulse-pounding events such as:
- Bowling can burn around 200 calories
- Leisure bicycling can burn roughly 250 calories
- Running 3 miles will burn 200 – 300 calories, depending on your pace
- Backpacking or hiking can burn close to 450 calories
- Competitive basketball and touch football can burn in excess of 500 calories
- Active swimming can burn over 600 calories
- Just nine holes of golf will burn over 700 calories if you carry your bag
There are plenty of ways to stay fit and entertained. You don’t have to hit the gym constantly. You can shoot around with friends on the court, pass a ball or hit the beach for a swim to stay fit and healthy.
Tailor your diet
At the same time, you may want to hold back on binge eating pizza and unhealthy snack foods. Remember, everything in moderation. You can keep your diet and your health in check by eating healthier foods regularly, and you don’t have to sacrifice all your favorite meals to stay healthy. According to the Whole Grains Council, you can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, help maintain your weight and improve many other facets of health just by switching to whole-grain foods instead of refined-grain foods.
Focus on eating lean protein and getting a high dose of fruits and vegetables. Chicken and fish are great sources of lean protein. When it comes to eating healthy, it’s all about balance and portion sizes. If you’re determined to track your dietary habits, try using the services on the United States Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate website. You can use this free online tool to create a specialized meal plan to suit your lifestyle, and it even hosts current data about many different food items and exercises.