Take Stock of Life Insurance Coverage During Life Insurance Awareness Month

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Leading Supplemental Insurance Provider Stresses Importance of Assessing Life Insurance Needs

That is why, whether they have yet to purchase life insurance coverage, purchased coverage years ago, or are looking to augment existing protection to meet changing circumstances, it's important for consumers to make sure both their current and future needs are met

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. Combined Insurance, a leading provider of supplemental insurance, encourages consumers to review their life insurance coverage this month and set aside time to thoroughly assess any coverage gaps.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the February 2006 Employee Compensation Review given to Congressional Requesters, revealed that employer spending on benefits has grown faster than wages due largely to rising costs for health insurance and retirement benefits. It's easy to see why, in today's challenging economy, employers have begun cutting back on benefits, with life insurance often being one of the first benefits to go.

"That is why, whether they have yet to purchase life insurance coverage, purchased coverage years ago, or are looking to augment existing protection to meet changing circumstances, it's important for consumers to make sure both their current and future needs are met," stresses Steve Saurs, Appointed Vice President of Life and Health Marketing at Combined Insurance. "Life Insurance Awareness Month is the perfect time for consumers to better plan for the unexpected."

Consider Supplemental Life Insurance

After assessing current needs, and any existing life insurance policies, consumers may feel they need a bit more protection. This is where supplemental coverage provides a great benefit. Supplemental life insurance coverage offers additional cash to beneficiaries following a loved one's death. It can be purchased in addition to other life insurance a consumer may already have through work, or have owned for many years; or it can be the only coverage a consumer has.

Supplemental life helps ensure an immediate financial burden is not placed on grieving family members. Ideally, supplemental protection should provide enough money to cover six months' to two years' of cash expenditures following a death. Expenditures like:

Final expenses. Supplemental life can help with costs related to unpaid medical bills, attorney fees, credit balances, taxes and funeral expenses (e.g. visitation and/or funeral services, transportation or limousine services, floral arrangements or probate expenses).

Housing expenses. The loss of a loved one's income poses a significant shock and challenge to a surviving family. Supplemental coverage can help replace some of those lost dollars by providing additional cash, which a family can use to continue making mortgage or rent payments for a period of time.

Avoid Rash Decisions

"Whether it's a supplemental life insurance policy, or another type of life insurance, once a person has coverage it's vital for them to think long and hard before opting to reduce or eliminate coverage," emphasizes Saurs. Some important points to keep in mind:

Drop Policy, Lose Rate

Life insurance rates are based on a number of factors, including age. If a consumer cancels coverage, then decides to repurchase later, he or she will likely pay more for the same amount of coverage

Healthy Now…But Healthy Later?

Health status, like age, determines life insurance premiums and coverage. If a consumer cancels coverage while healthy, there is no guarantee he or she will qualify again down the road.

Employer Health Plans Often Change

If a consumer drops existing supplemental life insurance and his/her employer subsequently changes or reduces benefits, he or she might not be able to purchase coverage through the company.

"It's important to continually reassess your life insurance coverage to determine whether it still meets your needs," continues Saurs. "Individual needs change, as does the economic climate; periodically reevaluating life insurance coverage helps ensure you have the right level of protection for your particular needs. Proactive planning saves time and money, and adds to your peace of mind."

Turn to an Insurance Professional

How do consumers begin the process of evaluating whether supplemental life insurance is right for them? A good first step is to look for an insurer with a rating of "A" or better from AM Best. Also, look for a company with local agents in the area. Find a provider that offers one-on-one attention - a company with agents who can come to the consumer and sit down to assess needs and explain coverage in terms that are easy to understand. Consumers should take time this September to evaluate whether their life insurance can truly offer a cushion of protection to help defend against the "what-ifs" that life holds.

About Combined Insurance Company Combined Insurance (http://www.combinedinsurance.com ) is a leading provider of supplemental accident, health and life insurance products and is a member of the ACE Group of Companies. With a field sales force and corporate staff in excess of 10,000 people worldwide, Combined meets the growing coverage needs of policyholders around the globe. For more information, call 1-800-490-1322 or visit http://www.combinedinsurance.com .

About ACE The ACE Group of Companies is a global leader in insurance and reinsurance serving a diverse group of clients. Headed by ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE), the ACE Group of Companies conducts its business on a worldwide basis with operating subsidiaries in more than 50 countries. Additional information can be found at http://www.acelimited.com .

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Amy Perry
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