Life Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

If I become ineligible to participate in the University Plan or Optional Plan, do I lose my life insurance?

You do not lose your life insurance entirely if you become ineligible.  Your insurance will terminate if:

  • You become ineligible for the insurance;

  • You discontinue your contributions;

  • Your employment terminates; or

  • Either the University Plan or the Optional Plan is terminated by the university.

However, if your coverage terminates for any reason, your University Plan and Optional Plan life insurance benefits will be paid in the event your death occurs during the next 31 days after one of the events above or during the remainder of the period for which you have already paid the premium - whichever occurs later. See Option to Convert for more information on obtaining an individual life insurance policy.

What if I take a leave of absence or I am temporarily laid off?
  • If you are granted an official leave of absence by the university, your insurance can be continued for the duration of the leave, provided you make arrangements with the Benefits Office prior to the start of your leave to pay the premiums during your leave.

  • If you are temporarily laid off for any reason, your insurance can be continued during the layoff for up to 12 months, provided you make arrangements prior to the layoff with the Benefits Office for the payment of premiums. If you request and qualify for "extended layoff," coverage can be continued an additional six months.

  • If you choose not to continue coverage during a leave of absence or layoff, and you return to work at the university with an eligible appointment, your coverage will be reinstated at the same level you were enrolled for prior to your leave or layoff. You must contact the Benefits Office within 60 days of your return to work if you need to make allowable changes to your coverage.

Consult the University of Michigan Standard Practice Guide (SPG) for the most up-to-date rules regarding leaves (SPG Sections 201.30-0 and 201.30-1) and layoffs (SPG Sections 201.72-0 and 201.72-1).

How will changes in salary or age affect my cost for the Optional Plan?
If you selected a multiple of your salary for your Optional Plan coverage, the amount of coverage selected and its cost will increase automatically when your salary increases. Your cost will increase similarly when you move into the next higher age bracket.
What if I terminate my employment at the university?
If you are enrolled in either life insurance plan and your employment terminates for any reason, your life insurance coverage will cease 31 days from the last day of the month in which you leave the university. See Option to Convert for information on obtaining an individual life insurance policy.
What happens if I become totally disabled?
If you become disabled, you are in the university's Long-Term Disability Plan, and you are approved for benefits, your life insurance will remain in force, paid for by the university.
What happens to my life insurance when I die?
If you die while your insurance is in force, regardless of how, when, or where death occurs, the full amount of your insurance will be paid to your beneficiaries when MetLife receives written proof of your death. A certified copy of the death certificate is required.
How will the insurance proceeds be paid?

The beneficiary may choose a lump-sum payment. Beneficiaries of active university employees can open an interest-bearing checking account immediately when the claim is processed, in lieu of a lump-sum distribution.

If you do not designate a beneficiary, or if none of the beneficiaries you name survives you, death benefits will be paid to the first of the following:

  • Your surviving spouse/OQA;

  • Surviving children in equal shares;

  • Surviving parents in equal shares;

  • Surviving siblings in equal shares;

  • Estate

When will payment be made to my beneficiary?

Payment to your beneficiary will be made within five (5) business days after all documentation is received by MetLife. Whenever there is a claim, your family, beneficiary, or other designated person should notify the SSC Contact Center immediately.

The Benefits Office keeps all the individual insurance records and handles all details of your University Plan and Optional Plan Life Insurance. Not only does this facilitate the payment of claims, but any adjustments, such as increases in the amount of your insurance, are handled more quickly.

Does the plan offer an accelerated payment of death benefits or "Living Needs Benefit" option and how does it work?

The accelerated payment of death benefit or "Living Needs Benefit" option is an advance payment of life insurance proceeds for terminally ill persons, and is available under this plan. Under this option, a plan participant whose life expectancy is 12 months or less may receive, in advance, up to 80% of life insurance benefits that would otherwise be payable only at death (with a maximum $24,000 for the University Plan and $650,000 for the Optional Plan). The amount of life insurance benefit that may be accelerated must equal or exceed $20,000.  A $20,000 policy, for example, would pay a benefit of $16,000.00. Faculty and staff members can choose to have the benefit paid out in one lump sum or six equal monthly payments. The money can be used at the discretion of the insured. Benefits not paid in advance remain payable to the named beneficiaries at the death of the insured.

The Living Needs Benefit is available on both the University Plan and the Optional Plan. Maximums apply to the combined level of the plans.

How do I file a claim?
Notify the SSC Contact Center promptly when you have a claim by calling 5-2000 from the Ann Arbor campus, (734) 615-2000 locally, or (866) 647-7657 toll free, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Written proof of death (a certified death certificate) must be furnished to MetLife before a claim can be paid. MetLife will process all claim forms.