Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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House Passes Garamendi-Championed Bill to Improve Veterans Insurance

September 30, 2010
Press Release

Bill will provide enhanced disclosure, transparency,
 and counseling for military families

Washington, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and California's first elected Insurance Commissioner, applauds House passage of the SAVINGS Act, H.R. 5993, by a vote of 358-66. Congressman Garamendi was an early supporter of the SAVINGS Act, a bill that enables military families to have better information about their life insurance payments. This will empower these families to make the best possible financial decisions, so they can receive a just payment should their loved ones be killed in action.

As documented in a Bloomberg article over the summer, materials currently delivered to survivors do not clearly define the options available to them for the benefit. Survivors have criticized the program's lack of information, after finding that the benefit goes into a "retained asset account," which allows the administering insurance company to hold on to benefits in non-FDIC insured accounts while earning interest above what is given to beneficiaries. In a follow-up article in Bloomberg, Congressman Garamendi expanded upon the problems with these retained asset accounts.

"Military families endure tremendous hardships when their loved ones die for this country. Military families deserve every penny owed to them; instead, greedy insurance companies have found loopholes to pocket interest rates, sometimes years after a soldier's death,” Congressman Garamendi said. “This legislation will make it more difficult for the insurance companies to rip off military families in grief."

"Thousands of veterans, active service personnel, and their families make their homes in my district, which includes Travis Air Force Base, the largest American air force base in the world," Congressman Garamendi added. "I was proud to stand up for them with this vote, and I urge swift action from the Senate. Our highest duty is supporting our brave military men and women in uniform and their families."

The Securing America's Veterans Insurance Needs and Goals Act of 2010 (the SAVINGS Act), H.R. 5993, will now go to the Senate for consideration.