UK/IRAQ - Insurance companies have assured schemes that death benefits will be paid on reservists killed after being called up for a war against Iraq.
But lawyers believe schemes should still ask insurers whether reservist members will be covered in the event of death on active duty.
The Association of British Insurers issued the payout pledge amid growing concern that a potential conflict in Iraq could result in mass casualties abroad.
ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling said any life insurance contract would be honoured as long as the insurer had been told that the member was a reservist when the contract was signed.
And he added that many reservist members would still be covered “even if this fact had been withheld”.
The government has advised employers to tell their life insurance companies about reservist members, while law firm Hammonds believes schemes should ask insurers whether reservists will be covered in the event of death on active duty.
Solicitor Chris Jackson said: “Insurance policies may contain exclusions which apply if someone is killed in a war.”
A number of reservists have been called up from the £625m Securicor Pension Fund.
The security group keeps all reservists within its fund while they are on active service and has taken up the Ministry of Defence offer to have member contributions deducted from their armed forces pay.
Securicor group pensions manager Sok Wah Lee said the MoD will pay both the employer and employee contributions.
She added that the fund’s insurance company has confirmed that reservist members are covered for death-in-service benefits as long as they remain in the scheme.
*The government is calling up approximately 6000 reservists in the military build-up to Iraq.
Any reservist who is called up is entitled to remain a member of his or her occupational pension scheme under government regulations.
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