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Armed Forces: Life Insurance

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision he has made for personnel being deployed abroad to assist them in securing life insurance. (149677)

[holding answer 16 July 2007]: MOD already provides significant financial support for attributable death during service. This was improved under the 2005 Armed Forces Pension Scheme and the Compensation Scheme introduced on 6 April 2005.

As a matter of policy MOD leaves the decision whether to take out additional cover in the form of personal insurance to the individual as individual needs vary and personal insurance is a complex issue.

In the past, service personnel have sometimes encountered difficulties in obtaining affordable life insurance that provides cover for war risks such as chemical or biological attack.

One scheme currently available to all service personnel, including those deployed abroad is PAX which provides personal accident and life cover. PAX covers war risks, but has in the past imposed restrictions (such as closing the scheme or introducing war and terrorism risks) for new members.

In addition, MOD's Service Risks Insurance Premiums Refunds scheme currently contributes towards extra life insurance premiums incurred by personnel involved in certain high-risk activities such as flying. The compensation available is 90 per cent. of the extra premium up to a total sum assured, which is increased every year in line with service pay and is currently £157,000.

In addition, the MOD launched on 8 May a new life insurance scheme, aimed exclusively at service personnel, Service Life Insurance (SLI). The scheme is available to all service personnel—including those deployed abroad on operations—and guarantees affordable cover, including against the risks of war and terrorism throughout their service and civilian life. Premiums are comparable to those paid by civilians, with no premium loading for personnel deployed on operations—or those involved in high-risk activities.