Hindsight is 2020: A Year in Review and Moving Forward With WAEPA

About this time last year, some 800,000 federal employees were undergoing the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. This meant they were not receiving their pay, which was considerably impacting many employees’ personal financial health.

“That was a month of income that somebody didn’t have to pay their mortgage, debts and other expenses,” said Shane Canfield, CEO of WAEPA, the Worldwide Assurance for Employees of Public Agencies, a provider of group term life insurance for civilian federal employees.

As the shutdown continued, the consequences on civilian employees’ finances led WAEPA to waive its premiums for its 46,000 members in January 2019.

“I got handwritten thank you letters from members,” Canfield said. “Some of them told their stories about how this helped them, and they were greatly appreciative. When you start getting handwritten letters with handwritten envelopes — that says a lot about what feds were going through.”

The shutdown was one of the unexpected hardships that federal employees had to adapt to, and WAEPA adjusted to it. As the workforce continues to experience changes, both gradual and drastic, organizations providing services to them may have to adapt as well.

For example, some feds may no longer be entering the government workforce with plans to stay their whole careers. When it comes to life insurance options, having the stability to keep a plan if they leave the federal workforce matters in the chance they might become uninsurable while applying for a new plan, Canfield said.

Within the last two years, WAEPA has made changes to produce a more robust and valuable service to its members, such as increasing their life benefit from $750,000 to $1.5 million and introducing a Chronic Illness Rider as an affordable offset of possible costs needed for long-term care.

This year, the organization is working to streamline the application process to receive life insurance by leveraging data that is available to them. That way, it can provide instant, online results for customers.

“Industry-wide research shows that applying for insurance is a tedious and long process,” Canfield said. “Our goal is to have something you can do in five minutes on your phone.”

By eschewing traditional underwriting methods, the process can be shorter and faster. The applicant can get their qualification result at the end of their online session, rather than scheduling a time for a paramedic to come to their home and conduct an interview and physical.

“Nobody likes doing traditional medical tests,” Canfield added. “With advancements in technology, there are now other more sophisticated and faster ways we can get to the same underwriting result.”

To learn more about WAEPA, visit: waepa.org

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