Human Resources

Survivor Benefits Program

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Policy Information
  • Issue Date: September 1, 1997
  • Primary Contact: Director of Human Resources
  • Responsible Member of Directorate: President and Director
  • Responsible Office: Human Resources
Policy Information

I. General

The Institution makes available three survivor benefits programs to all Regular employees . These coverages
consist of Group Term Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance, and a Burial benefit.
For someone with a life-threatening condition, there is also the option of applying for a viatical settlement.

II. Group Term Life Insurance

A. Coverage is provided in the form of non-contributory group Basic Life insurance in an amount equal to the annual base salary rounded to the next $1,000. An eligible employee may elect the lesser of $50,000 or 1 times annual salary. The maximum coverage is $400,000. The amount of Basic Life Insurance that applies to you is reduced beginning at age 65 based upon the published schedule in the Certificate of Coverage. 

An eligible employee may purchase additional Supplemental Life insurance in an amount equal to 1, 2, 3, or 4 times the annual base salary, rounded to the next $1,000. The cost is based upon an age-related premium, established on January 1 of each year. 

In the event of death, benefits are payable to the employee's designated beneficiary. 

B. An eligible employee may purchase Dependent Life insurance for his/her spouse and/or children. Coverage for the spouse is available in increments of $5,000, subject to a maximum of $30,000 ($70,000 with satisfactory evidence of good health). The cost is based upon an age-related premium.

Each and every eligible child over age 14 days old may be covered for either $2,000 or $5,000. The cost is based upon a per capita fixed rate for each level of coverage.

In the event of death of any covered dependent, the employee is the beneficiary. 

C.Waiver of Premium

If an employee suffers Total Disability (as defined by the Plan), a Waiver of Premium on her/his Life Insurance will continue the coverage if:

1.the employee is less than 60 years old; and 

2.proof of disability is furnished to the carrier as specified in the Plan.

The Waiver of Premium will cease at the earliest of:
1.conversion of Life Insurance; 

2.failure to furnish proof of Total Disability; 

3.employee no longer suffers from Total Disability; or 

4.attainment of age 65.

Waiver of Life Insurance premium applies to only the employee's Life Insurance coverage. This does not apply to Dependent Life or Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.

D. Continuation of Coverage

If an employee is absent from regular employment due to one of the following reasons, the insurance may be continued up to the maximum period of time stated in the Plan.

1.Injury or illness: until the end of 12 consecutive months beginning on the date of first absence from work due to the injury or illness.

2.Temporary layoff due to lack of work: until the end of the month in which the layoff commenced.

3.Approved leave of absence (other than Family or Medical Leave): until the end of the month following the month in which the leave of absence commenced.

E. Termination of Coverage

Coverage ceases upon termination of employment, transfer to an employment status not entitled to coverage, the last day of the period for which the last required premium is paid retirement, or a Dependent no longer meets the definition of a Dependent. Once coverage has ceased, the individual may convert any or all of her/his coverage to an individual policy. Such conversion must be made by making application and the first premium payment, within 31 days of the date the group coverage terminates. The individual policy will be issued at the insurance company's regular rates. No proof of insurability is required.

F. For details about eligibility, enrollment, changes in coverage, and benefits, refer to the Summary Plan Description.

III. Group Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)
A. Under this policy an eligible employee may purchase coverage at any time for themself alone (Individual Plan) or for themself and their spouse/child(ren) (Family Plan), providing coverage remains in effect for at least one year. In order for children to be eligible, they must be dependent upon the employee for support and under the age of 20, full-time students up to age 24, or disabled beyond age 24.

B. The Accidental Death and Dismemberment portion of the policy covers the employee and dependent(s) for injuries which result in death or dismemberment within one year from the date of accident. The Permanent Total Disability portion of the policy covers employees only for injuries which result in total and permanent disability within 180 days of accident. An Education Benefit provides additional financial assistance to a dependent child who is an enrolled full-time, post-high school student on the date of the injury which results in the employee's death and/or for a spouse who enrolls in a professional or trade training program within 30 months of the employee's death in order to obtain an independent source of support.

C. An employee may purchase coverage in multiples of $10,000 up to $500,000. Amounts in excess of $200,000 may not exceed ten times base annual pay. The cost for the employee alone is $.18 per $10,000/pay period; for Family coverage the cost is $.27 per $10,000/pay period.

D. If enrolled in the Family Plan, dependents are insured as follows:

Dependent  % of Employee's Coverage
Spouse (no Children) 60%
Spouse (with children) 50%
Child (no spouse) 20%
Child (with spouse) 15%

E. In the event of an employee's death while insured under the Family Plan, the Family Plan coverage will remain in effect for 90 days following the last premium payment at no cost to the family.

F. In the event of death from a common accident of both the employee and the insured spouse within 30 days of each other, the spouse's benefit amount will be increased to equal that of the employee.

G. Exclusions: Coverage is not provided for losses resulting from:

1.War or act of war or accident occurring while in the military, except if in active duty for a period of less than 60 days in the Reserves or National Guard;

2.Flying in any aircraft leased, owned or operated by the Institution, or riding in, boarding or alighting from any aircraft except while a passenger on a previously tried, tested and approved civilian aircraft being used for the transportation of passengers;

3.A loss to which sickness or disease is a contributing factor. 

H. Benefits are paid to the designated beneficiary in the event of the employee's death, to the employee in the event of the employee's dismemberment or disability, or to the employee in the event of a loss by an insured family member.

I. For provisions concerning change in status, including leaves of absence, see Definitions/Types of Employment

IV. Burial Benefits
A. In addition to enrollment in the Group Term Life and AD&D insured plans, regular employees are covered for Burial Benefits. This coverage is also provided to employees who retired under the Institutions Retirement Plan on or after their Normal Retirement Date with at least 10 years of service or on their Early Retirement Date with at least 20 years of service. Employees who retired prior to July 1, 1982, are not covered by this benefit.

B. The Institution's Burial Benefit is in the amount of $2,500 and is payable to the designated beneficiary of the deceased. If no beneficiary has been designated, based upon the individual circumstances, the Institution will determine to whom the benefit will be paid. According to tax law, this benefit must be recognized as taxable income by the recipient.

C. When notified of the death of a covered individual, the Human Resources Office will prepare a letter of condolence to the spouse or next of kin. Whenever practical and appropriate, this letter, along with the $2,500 check, will be hand-carried to the recipient by either the employee's supervisor or a member of the Human Resources Office.

V. Viatical Settlement

For an employee facing a life-threatening illness, s/he an option to apply for a viatical settlement. A "viatical
settlement" is a financial resource obtained by selling one's group and/or individual life insurance policy. Application or information is obtained by contacting Viaticus, Inc. at 1-888-200-5204. (Viaticus is a subsidiary of CNA Insurance Companies.)

A. This is a confidential service between the employee and Viaticus. No one at WHOI needs to know or be involved in the process.

B. The proceeds of the "sale" of the life insurance policy are generally from 50 to 85 percent of the face value. No further premium payments are made by the applicant/employee.

C. Virtually any life insurance policy may qualify.

D. The settlement is an option for an individual with a life expectancy up to five years.

Should you require assistance in the interpretation  of this procedure, please contact your Human Resources Representative.

Last updated: December 29, 2016