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The Standard introduces a debit card for disability payments

Taking its cue from the stored-value cards that are popular in the retail industry, The Standard insurance company has launched its own card as an alternative to traditional disability payment methods.

Disabled employees who choose this option will have their monthly long term disability payments automatically credited to their SecureCards.

The Standard SecureCard carries the VISA logo and works like a debit card that is negotiable in stores and at ATMs nationwide. The card — which is available in all states except New York — will be offered to the company's eligible disability policyholders who bought their policies on or after Jan. 1, 2001. According to The Standard's Assistant Vice President Mike Skiens, the card is the first and only option of its kind in group disability insurance.

Disabled employees who choose this option will have their monthly long term disability payments automatically credited to their SecureCards on their regular benefit payment date. They may then use the card to make retail purchases or they may use a special customer-service telephone number to transfer funds as needed from their card to their checking or savings accounts.

"The Standard SecureCard represents the latest example of our commitment to provide technology-driven and customer-focused service innovations," says Skiens. "From a claimant's perspective, this makes life much easier, particularly if they're bedridden due to something like a car wreck or skiing accident."

Skiens says the company expects strong consumer interest in the card because it eliminates worries about late, lost or stolen checks, and minimizes paperwork and trips to the bank. As The Standard SecureCard program develops, the company plans to negotiate consumer discounts for goods and services at an increasing number of selected retailers.

The Standard, a subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Group Inc., is headquartered in Portland, OR, and serves more than 33,000 employer groups representing more than 4.9 million employees. The company has more than 12,000 long term disability plans in force, covering more than 1.6 million employees nationwide.

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