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Group or individual life insurance – what’s best for me? Group or individual life insurance – what’s best for me?

Once you agree you need life insurance—and you should agree since life insurance is an essential component of your family’s well-being—your next question should be obvious: Where do I get it?

You have two main sources for securing life insurance: on your own, through an agent or an individual offering through postal mail or email; and from a group such as your employer or association such as AOPA. This article will point out some of the differences between the two policy types to give you greater insight on which is the best path to take to maintain your loved ones’ well-being.

Affordability—For many people, this is the most important consideration. Four factors come into play:

  1. Generally, you pay less for coverage under a group policy than for individual coverage. This is because the insurance company bases group rates on the health risk of the group as a whole instead of you alone.

  2. Most group policies provide term life insurance, which is the most affordable type of coverage. Because there are no add-ons, such as investment options, you pay only for the coverage.

  3. You can’t be singled out for a rate increase because of changes to your health and lifestyle; your rate can change only if the insurance company changes it for the entire group, or a subset of that group. For example, if you’re age 35 paying a preferred, non-tobacco-user rate, that rate has to change for all members in that class, not just for you.

  4. Finally, the insurance company may determine that group members remain insurable for longer periods. This may result in wider age bands—or even no age bands—before rates change. Also, the insurance company may lower rates in some or all years, based on claims experience. 

Reliability—Association groups exist only as long as their members trust them. So invariably, they seek out insurers their members know. Group policy insurers must maintain stellar financial reliability and claims-paying ability, and received top ratings from financial watchdog agencies such as AM Best. Those insurers must also have invested in cyber-security to keep your information safer.

Flexibility—If you get a new job, get married or welcome a new child to your family, you may need to increase your insurance. Group coverage may allow you, without proving good health, to upgrade to certain amounts of benefits or cover a new spouse or child. Additionally, you may be able to take advantage of special enrollment periods when you can upgrade coverage without such a life-changing event.

Portability—Insurance through your workplace may be tied to your job: If you change employers, you lose coverage. But generally, you can keep coverage under the group policy—with the same rates and benefits—as long as you remain a member of that group, regardless of where you live or work.

Expandability—Group life coverage frequently give you the option of electing Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage in the amount of your life insurance. AD&D pays benefits if you suffer a covered injury, such as loss of a limb, in a covered accident, not just death benefits. So you can double your coverage for less than what it might cost to increase your life insurance.

For many years, AOPA members have been able to take advantage of reliable, affordable group coverage, underwritten by ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of Minneapolis, MN, and administered by Mercer Consumer. You are not excluded or charged higher rates because of your aviation activities. For details on how you and your loved ones can benefit from this group term life insurance coverage, call toll-free: 1-844-304-AOPA (2672) or visit us online.


Group Term Life Insurance is underwritten by ReliaStar Life Insurance Company (Minneapolis, MN).  


Program Administered by Mercer Health & Benefits Administration LLC

AR Insurance License #100102691 •  CA Insurance License #0G39709

In CA d/b/a Mercer Health & Benefits Insurance Services LLC


86914 Copyright 2019 Mercer LLC. All rights reserved.

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