Expert's View

Things are generally quiet on the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance front. But every once in a while, there’s a ripple in the pond that’s worth noting. On February 24, OPM issued a Benefits Administration Letter announcing the revision of two claims forms, the FE-6, Claim for Death Benefits and FE-6 DEP, Statement of Claim-Option C Family Life Insurance.

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The reason for these revisions is, in OPM’s words, to:

• Provide beneficiaries more information on the two payment options for life insurance proceeds.

• Give beneficiaries a choice to elect to receive the life insurance proceeds by check or MetLife Total Control Account (TCA), an interest bearing account set up in the beneficiary’s name, with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife).

If you elect to receive your benefit by check, it will be mailed to you. As for the account option, here’s how it’s explained:

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The MetLife TCA is a settlement option offered by MetLife for the payment of claims. A MetLife TCA is not a checking, savings, or money market account. Since your MetLife TCA is not a bank account, it is not insured by the FDIC or any government agency. Instead, MetLife guarantees the full amount in your MetLife TCA, including interest earned. MetLife’s guarantee limits vary from state to state and may change over time. If you choose a MetLife TCA, the relationship is between you and MetLife, not with the Federal government or any of its agencies.

The MetLife TCA offers you a minimum guaranteed annual effective interest rate, meaning that MetLife commits to pay you at least that specified rate of interest on the money in the account. You begin earning interest the day the MetLife TCA is created. Interest is earned daily, but is not credited until the last day of the month. The interest rate offered on the MetLife TCA may be better or worse than the prevailing market rate. The MetLife TCA is a product offered by MetLife on which the company may make a profit. You pay no maintenance fees on a MetLife TCA.”

Whether a check in the mail or a MetLife TCA is right for your beneficiary or beneficiaries of a policy on you, or you as the beneficiary of insurance on a family member, is a personal call. Now, as a result of these revisions, you and they will be in a better position to make an intelligent choice. You can see the fillable forms and read the entire text at www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/fe6.pdf and www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/fe6dep.pdf.