Outrage as Sears Cancels Life Insurance Benefits for Up to 90,000 Retirees

Sears revealed this month that a concealed portion of them having a hard time department shop chain’s 90,000 senior citizens would be losing their life insurance coverage advantages.

The retailer corresponded to the retired employees informing them that their life insurance would be axed since March 15, according to Ron Olbrysh, chairman of the National Association of Retired Sears Personnel (NARSE)– and some apparently didn’t get their letter until after that date had passed.

The dreaded news came simply a month after Sears chairman Eddie Lampert saved the department shop from bankruptcy by having a $5.2 billion quoted authorized, enabling about 40,000 current Sears staff members to keep their tasks.

Olbrysh does not know precisely how many of the 90,000 former staff members would be affected by the decision, however, current benefits report detailed that the business had paid about $16.6 million in premiums for eligible senior citizens in 2017, according to the Chicago Tribune. According to the notice, senior citizens have the choice to convert all or part of their group life insurance policies to individual whole life policies and pay the premiums.

One retired person, 76-year-old Tom Dowd of Delaware, had worked with the company for thirty years when he retired as a human resources supervisor in 1998. “I invested my adult life there,” he told the Chicago Tribune, “and if absolutely nothing else, that needs a bit of self-respect as opposed to a letter saying your benefits are gone, and here’s just how much you can pay to get them back.”

Tips of the drastic relocation emerged in October when Sears asked for bankruptcy security. At the time, the Pension Advantage Warranty Corp. (PBGC) won a lawsuit to take control of retirees’ 2 pensions from the retailer. Life insurance was the last advantage retired people had with Sears, which provided its employees a sought after advantages package in its heyday.

The first cuts to life insurance policies started occurring back in 1997. Since 2019, Sears was still covering policies worth at least $5,000 for qualified retired people, and a lot of policies varied from $8,000 to $10,000. The majority of individuals affected by the loss remain in their 80s and 90s, according to CBS News.

But Olbrysh said Sears’s decision to rescind life insurance coverage is more than simply a significant blow to previous staff members– he claims it’s also a violation of a 2001 settlement agreement that stated senior citizens’ life insurance could just be taken away if the outlet store chain liquidated and failed. Since of this contract, Olbrysh and NARSE had not been expecting the policies to be dropped, so they’re thinking about taking legal action– however, they’re not sure it makes sense to take legal action against “a business that is passing away.”

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