Aug 13 2010

Sen. Shelby asks for hearing on payment of life insurance benefits to military families

Huntsville Times

Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, today called for a Senate committee hearing to look into how the Department of Veterans Affairs and insurance companies pay benefits to the families of fallen soldiers and other military personnel.

"Recent press reports have raised concerns about the manner in which family members of fallen service members receive life insurance benefits under the Department of Veterans Affairs' Service Members Group Life Insurance program," Shelby wrote in a letter to Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

Shelby is ranking Republican on the committee.

"Most seriously, the reports have suggested that life insurance companies may not be fairly handling the proceeds of these life insurance policies," Shelby wrote. "The Banking Committee should hold a hearing to examine these reports and determine if any unfair practices exist."

Bloomberg News reports that Shelby joins others in Congress who want a review of  life insurers' practices. Bloomberg Markets magazine reported last month that the industry holds about $28 billion in so-called retained-asset accounts.