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{ts '2009-03-11 00:00:00.000'}

Automatic Increase is Rare Option for Workplace Policies


NEW YORK, March 11, 2009 — Despite the current slowdown in U.S. economic growth, most economic forecasters agree that inflation continues to be a long-term threat. As a result, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), a leading provider of employee and voluntary benefits to small and midsize business owners, today announced the introduction of an automatic benefit increase option designed to protect life insurance beneficiaries from inflation.


Guardian also announced an automatic re-enrollment feature designed to make it easier for employees to increase their life insurance coverage.
Inflation protection, common on individual life policies, is not widely available on voluntary (employee-paid) group life insurance plans. Guardian's automatic increase feature helps protect beneficiaries against inflation by offering a five percent contribution increase option, or cost of living adjustment (COLA), for five years after the first year of participation in the plan.
"Data from LIMRA's 2005 Trends in Life Insurance report shows that the workplace serves as the primary source of life insurance protection for millions of families in the United States," said Barry Petruzzi, 2nd vice president, Group Benefits, Guardian. "Inadequate life insurance protection is an ongoing problem in the U.S. - particularly so in these difficult economic times. And life insurance protection can be reduced significantly by inflation. Thus Guardian believes it is important that inflation protection features common on individual policies are also made available through the workplace," Petruzzi said.
For example, with Guardian's automatic increase feature, a base coverage amount of $100,000 would become $127,628 in five years. The increased amount would be payable at the time of a claim.
Petruzzi said that through buy-up features, "Guardian continues to make it easier for employees to increase their benefits through buy-up programs and other voluntary offerings. The development of these enhancements is part of Guardian's ongoing commitment to help small and midsize employers attract and retain the best talent with high-quality, affordable benefits that help provide employees with protection and peace of mind."
Buy-up features that allow employees to increase their life insurance above the basic coverage offered by their employers are more important than ever as employees rely more heavily on the workplace as their primary source of life insurance protection. Guardian's auto re-enrollment option offers employees the opportunity to gradually increase life insurance coverage each year -- without a medical exam -- if they re-enroll in Guardian's plan.
This attractive new option is available up to the plans overall guarantee issue amount.
For example, if the plan life insurance coverage levels are $25,000, $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000 -- and the guarantee issue amount is $75,000 -- employees would be eligible to buy:
Year2$50,000(employee can buy up without a medical exam)
Year3$75,000(employee can buy without a medical exam)
Year4$100,000(evidence of insurability required and valid for two years)
About Guardian
Founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the United States. As of December 31, 2007, Guardian and its subsidiaries had $41.3 billion in assets (on a consolidated statutory basis). With close to 3,000 financial representatives and 80 agencies nationwide, Guardian and its subsidiaries protect individuals, small business owners, and their employees with life, disability, health, long-term care, critical illness and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities, and other financial products and trust services. Specializing in the small to mid-size business market, Guardian's Group business unit serves more than 120,000 employers, 6 million employees, and their families.
For more information about Guardian, please visit: http://www.GuardianLife.com.
SOURCE:The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America


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