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ACS Member Insurance: Insurance For Life

by Thomas H. Lane, ACS President and chair, board of trustees, group insurance plans for ACS members
April 20, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 16

Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

THIS YEAR, one of my most important, although least visible, roles is serving as chair of the Board of Trustees, Group Insurance Plans for ACS Members. During this time of economic unrest, rising unemployment, and troubled insurance companies, the board of trustees wants you to know that the ACS member insurance plans stand on sound financial footing and that the staff and insurance professionals stand ready to serve all members.

The board of trustees, composed of nine ACS member volunteers chosen for their diverse backgrounds and interests, reviews the insurance and financial security products offered to members as well as the companies that offer those products. In choosing New York Life Insurance as the underwriter for the ACS Group Insurance Plans, the board has placed the group insurance plans with a mutual company that continues to have a very strong and positive financial outlook even during these tough financial times. New York Life's liquidity is strong. Rating agencies such as A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's have affirmed New York Life's financial strength—particularly its strong capital position and the strength of its investment and risk-management practices.

We all know that ACS membership gives us access to world-class technical benefits to help us thrive and advance in our careers. I urge you not to overlook the personal value of the other, nontechnical member-only benefits such as the insurance plans. This valuable benefit helps members safeguard their personal assets and protect their families in good times and bad. The board of trustees looks out for the interests of ACS members and seeks to construct the most stable and beneficial insurance program for all of us.

Unlike employer-provided insurance, your ACS insurance plans stay with you as long as they remain in effect and as long as you remain an ACS member and pay your premiums on time. They stay with you even if you change jobs or retire sooner than expected. Unemployed participants may defer term life insurance premiums for up to two years. These benefits may be of increasing importance as companies seek ways to curb expenses.

So how can the ACS Member Insurance Program help you now? The portfolio of plans includes life and health insurance, auto and homeowners/renters insurance, and professional liability insurance. In addition, the board of trustees has negotiated with Bank of America to provide checking and savings programs including certificates of deposit, and individual retirement accounts at competitive rates for ACS members and student members. I encourage you to call the ACS Member Insurance Program staff at (800) 227-5558 ext. 8911 if you'd like to discuss any of these programs. You can also find information online at

ACS members and their families want to plan their financial futures with certainty.

If you are seeking basic medical insurance, a variety of plans are available through the ACS Health Insurance Brokerage Service. This service, run by the ACS plan administrator, Pearl Insurance, in Peoria Heights, Ill., is available in most states; its licensed insurance agents are ready to help you choose from more than 100 plan features to construct the plan that works best for you.

If you are between jobs or have just graduated from school, ACS's short-term medical insurance is an affordable way to get coverage for up to a year. The ACS disability income insurance plan is designed to help protect your income if a disabling accident or illness prevents you from working. And because so many members are working past the traditional retirement age of 65, the board of trustees has negotiated an extension of the coverage period up to age 70. If you are interested in any of these plans and want to speak directly with a licensed insurance agent, you need only call the ACS plan administrator at (800) 752-0179.

IN 2008, the board of trustees spent a lot of time listening to members. A survey reaffirmed that the members who participate in the insurance plans are glad they do. They were particularly impressed that the ACS Member Insurance Program is affordable (the number one reason members participate is price), portable (no need to worry if you change jobs or are unemployed—these plans stay with you), and reliable (the plans are underwritten only by solid financial institutions that the trustees approved). We also found that members would like a more expansive health-related portfolio such as Medicare supplemental insurance, dental, and vision plans; we are now evaluating plans and providers that can offer ACS members insurance plans with value-added benefits that can't be found in the open marketplace.

We know that ACS members and their families want to plan their financial futures with certainty. In these uncertain and challenging economic times, the ACS Member Insurance Program may offer the peace of mind that comes from having a secure foundation for your family's financial future. Please let us know how we can better serve you by calling (800) 227-5558 ext. 8911, or send e-mail to



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