BB&T says the IncomeAssure product is the “nation’s only supplemental unemployment insurance offering.”
The premium begins at $10 a month, with the coverage allowing a displaced worker to regain 50 percent of his or her former income.
Here’s how it works: For a displaced worker who had made $700 a week and receives $275 in state jobless benefits, IncomeAssure would provide $75 to get them to $350, or back to 50 percent of their previous paycheck.
The product is available through the BB&T Insurance Services subsidiary.
Randy Screen, manager of the subsidiary’s marketing and sales unit, said the product “truly goes to the heart of what so many of our customers worry about on a daily basis.”
“IncomeAssure allows our clients to protect themselves from financial risk and allay anxiety during this difficult economy.”
IncomeAssure benefits are triggered by receiving state unemployment benefits, which last up to 24 weeks. The program does not continue supplemental benefits even if an individual’s state or federal government benefits are extended.
The subsidiary said that on average, premium costs are 1 percent of the individual’s annual income. However, the premium fee is halted whenever a customer is collecting benefits.
Rates and benefits can be customized and vary by state, industry and the level of benefits desired. There is a six-month waiting period before individuals become eligible for coverage. The premium payments can be made monthly, quarterly or annually.
Larry Parker, a spokesman for the N.C. Division of Employment Security, said he is not aware of another financial institution offering a supplemental unemployment insurance policy.
Tony Plath, a finance professor at UNC Charlotte, said that while supplemental unemployment insurance has been available from insurance carriers, “I’ve never seen it offered for sale by a commercial bank.”
“This is an important innovation in the financial services industry,” Plath said. “After all, retail banks have more regular contact with their customer base than insurance companies do, so this provides a unique marketing opportunity — and income stream — for BB&T.”
©2012 Winston-Salem Journal (Winston Salem, N.C.)
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