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MassMutual to give away 20,000 life insurance policies to low-income parents

The MassMutual Financial Group will give away $1 billion worth of term life insurance policies over the next five years to low-income people with dependent children. The company's LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program is designed to help children who might otherwise be deprived of an education if a parent dies.

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"We decided if we believe in our product that fervently, then maybe we should give it away."

MassMutual Chief Executive Officer Robert J. O'Connell says the initiative is in direct response to a 1999 survey by the American Council of Life Insurers that finds fewer than 18 percent of American workers at or below the poverty level have life insurance.

"We asked ourselves if we could help with that problem," O'Connell says. "We decided if we believe in our product that fervently, then maybe we should give it away."

MassMutual will pay the premiums for all 20,000 policies issued under the LifeBridge program. Each policy has a $50,000 death benefit and if an insured parent dies during the 10-year term of the policy, the death benefit will be applied solely toward the education of the parent's eligible children to help cover school expenses, including books and tuition. Benefits will be paid into a trust established by MassMutual for the benefit of the children named by the insured parent.

Initially the program will be administered by the Urban League, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, YWCA, and Big Brothers Big Sisters and is being piloted in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina through the end of 2002. Residents in these states who are interested in learning whether they qualify should contact these organizations directly for more information.

Eligibility

You are eligible to participate in MassMutual's LifeBridge program if you are between the ages of 19 and 39 and are:

  • The legal guardian of one or more dependent children under the age of 18.
  • The primary provider in a household and eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Employed with a steady work history (two or more years).
  • In good health as determined by MassMutual's underwriting guidelines.

Eligibility forms can be obtained from the program administrators listed above or by visiting MassMutual's Web site.

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