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Retirement Fund offering Voluntary Term Life Insurance Plan to its members

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government has notified its directors and agency heads that there is now a Voluntary Term Life Insurance Plan for all of the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Fund members, which by definition would include all ASG workers who are ASGERF members as well as Fono workers and members — faipule and senators.

The memorandum is dated November 13, 2023, and says that “as the territory’s largest employer,” the ASG is “always looking for opportunities that provide benefit to or improve the lives of its employees. It then points to the ASGERF, announcing that it has “leveraged its membership in the National Conference on Public Employees Retirement Systems (CPERS) to be able to offer NCPERS Group Voluntary Term Life Insurance” to all active members of the government retirement fund. (This means you must still be working for the government and contributing to the fund.)

It explains that “NCPERS is a non-profit organization providing education and support to public employee retirement systems and the largest trade association for public pensions in the US and Canada.”

ASGERF, working with NCPERS, has made this insurance now available for purchase by its members.

Gov. Lemanu P.S. Mauga encourages the Dept. of Human Resources, semi-autonomous authorities and all government agencies “to make this information available to all of their employees who are ASGERF members,” and further notes that this opportunity is also extended “to the Fono and Judiciary for the benefit of all their ASGERF member-employees.”

Document are attached to the memo identifying the plan as being administered by Member Benefits and Gallagher Benefit Services, who are not affiliates of the company offering the insurance, which is The Prudential Insurance Company of America (Prudential).

According to NCPERS, the Public Employee Financial Protection Plan is set up to give “your family extra financial security when they need it most; when you’re no longer there to help provide for them .

“It’s a guaranteed issue, which means there are no medical questions or exams.

“You can never lose coverage because of a change in your age or health.”

Part of the list of benefits of plan includes two member premium payment options: “payroll/ pension deduction or direct payment.”

The American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) is currently the only known government entity that has insurance for its workers, including management. Samoa News understands it includes health coverage.

In the past, lawmakers of both chambers have asked ASPA how the government could become part of their insurance plan, with no direct response known to date of the possibility of inclusion.

Of note, the NCPERS plan does not offer health insurance.

Instead, it “provides up to $325,000 in additional life insurance protection for family,” according to the NCPERS information sheet. It automatically includes spouse and dependent child benefits “at no added cost or medical exam.” Coverage can be carried into retirement, it states.

Samoa News recently asked several government employees, including a lawmaker — all contribute to the ASGERF — if they have been notified of the availability of this insurance. They said, “no”.

One ASG worker told Samoa News that they themselves would have to go their department’s or agency’s Human Resources and ask the question. It’s usually the only way they get such information. He was excited about the possibility of such coverage.