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How the ACS Member Insurance Program has adapted in unusual times

by G. Bryan Balazs, chair, Board of Trustees, ACS Member Insurance Program
May 22, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 19


G. Bryan Balazs.
Credit: Courtesy of G. Bryan Balazs

In my C&EN Comment last spring as the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Group Insurance Plans for American Chemical Society Members, I described how the Member Insurance Program (MIP) was a mechanism to provide peace of mind in stressful times. I also described how predictions about the future were difficult, especially in times of change. Little did I know how accurate those statements would be!T

he past 18 months have been anything but normal. Changes to employment, teaching environments, and remote work have prompted new questions and concerns from members. Below are some examples of how the MIP is responding to some of these questions and how we are adapting to meet members’ needs.

In an effort to make insurance available to members during the pandemic in a safe and convenient format, we implemented New York Life’s expedited issuance model for the annual renewable term life and level term life insurance plans at $250,000, and for the disability income insurance at $4,000. This model allows applicants to be underwritten without a medical exam or lab visit and for underwriters to accept electronic health records, historical exams, and lab data in place of an exam when needed.

We hope that with this addition, we will further meet the unique needs of chemistry educators and researchers in this challenging era of teaching.

In-person education was upended in 2020, especially in a field like chemistry, in which laboratory instruction is critical. Many educators had to determine how to safely conduct labs while still delivering meaningful content remotely. Members were looking for guidance on the best ways to teach their students and manage risks in a virtual teaching environment. In response to the surge in use of at-home kits for laboratory work and questions on professional liability pertaining to their use, the MIP, in conjunction with the insurance companies we work with, developed a remote laboratory activity enhancement for the chemical educators legal liability plan. We hope that with this addition, we will further meet the unique needs of chemistry educators and researchers in this challenging era of teaching.

Another change that we implemented to better serve our members was the introduction of text-message alerts for our life and disability insurance plans. It’s a convenient way for insured members to get vital information and reminders.

Also, there were some other operational changes. The Farmers Insurance® Group acquired the MetLife Auto & Home business from MetLife Inc. There are no immediate changes to MetLife Auto & Home customer policies, and customers will not need to take any action at this time. To learn more, please visit Unfortunately, many ACS members have seen changes in their employment in recent months. Though disruptions may cause gaps in employee coverage, the plans available through the MIP are portable and thus not tied to one’s employer. Plans available through ACS, provide continuous coverage as job situations change. Coverage remains available as long as the group policy is in effect, ACS membership is maintained and premium payments are made.

A new tool for assessing coverage

Early this year, finance research organization LIMRA conducted a study on the financial attitudes and behaviors of adult consumers in the US. The findings of this survey identified four common misconceptions about life insurance: insurance is too expensive, workplace insurance provides enough coverage, insurance is too difficult to buy, and it is not needed until you’re older. The MIP is here to help address all these concerns.

Insurance can be complicated, and with all the coverage types and benefits to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones are best for your circumstances. To address this, we will introduce a free, no-obligation insurance assessment tool this summer. When you take our insurance assessment, you’ll receive strength ratings in key coverage areas, helping you understand which areas you are properly protected in and which ones may require attention. You will be able to see your estimated monthly rate for each product presented and speak with a live representative who can help walk you through the rest of the process.

The MIP helps members protect their financial portfolio by offering insurance products covering nearly every stage of life. Whether you’re a college student, young professional, raising a family, starting a business, or nearing retirement, discover coverage options to help you build a portfolio that’s right for your unique needs. This assessment tool is one aspect of the value provided by the ACS MIP, and we welcome your suggestions of what else would be helpful as you analyze and optimize your insurance coverage.

For more information on the insurance plans available, please visit the ACS Member Insurance Program website at, call 800-227-5558, ext. 2119, or email We also welcome your feedback on what else we could do for our members and what other insurance products you might be interested in.

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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