Area event gives chance at free life insurance


Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2006 at 11:36 p.m.
Eligibility screenings for free life insurance will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multi-Purpose Center today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event, which is a part of King Week 2006 festivities, will also feature free food and games for children.
The 15-minute screenings are a part of the LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program sponsored by the MassMutual Financial Group.
MassMutual is issuing 20,000 term life insurance policies each worth $50,000 to parents nationwide who annually make between $10,000 to $40,000.
"The goal of the event is to get at least 1,000 people screened for free life insurance through the LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program," said Alachua County Commissioner Rodney J. Long.
MassMutual has limited the program to $1 billion worth of policies, or 20,000, in the nation. But it hasn't yet limited the amount of policies or the money it will spend in Gainesville.
"We'd like to give away as much free life insurance as we can," said Roger Dominey, MassMutual North Florida and eastern Georgia general agent.
Policies will pay $50,000 per family in the event of a parent's death. The money is designated solely for education and is put in a trust for the child.
If families have more than one child, the money will be divided between them and placed in separate trusts.
The money doesn't have to necessarily go to college expenses, said Karen Bricklemyer, United Way of North Central Florida president and CEO. It could pay for private school, vocational or other schools the child wishes to attend, as well as the cost of books, room and board.
The money would be put in a trust and given directly to the educational institution the child is attending.
Participants must meet certain criteria, including being a currently employed permanent U.S. resident in good health between the ages of 19 and 42 and caring for a dependent child under 18.
"MassMutual is trying to help working families give their children the benefits of an education that they might not have been able to provide them, especially in the event of a death," Bricklemyer said.
The United Way of North Central Florida and M & S Bank is helping MassMutual with local connections.
"I think that they've found that when they don't have community contacts, it's more difficult to be successful," Bricklemyer said. "So they contacted M & S Bank for help, who came to us for help."
MassMutual is asking potential participants to bring a copy of their last 1040 or 1040A Tax Form, last pay stub, social security numbers of their dependents under 18 and a valid identification card.
Janine Sikes can be reached at (352) 337-0327 or sikesj@gvillesun.com

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