Life Insurance Equals Peace Of Mind


 Life Insurance Equals Peace Of Mind

We all know the peace of mind that comes with knowing we are protected when loved ones are away from home. Life insurance can help make this happen and ensure you're protected if something were to happen unexpectedly. Some people believe life (or term) insurance is an expensive investment but a recent article by The Economist says it could be "the least likely of all investments to fail". Check out the article and be sure to contact your local broker about how life insurance can help decrease your risk factor.

What's more? A group of international students came up with a way to insure their lives in case anything happened while abroad. What's even better? They've made sure the insurance is affordable to students and is accessible without breaking the bank. In fact, it only costs $20 a year (the cost of an international phone call) and has a term of 10 years.

These students have come up with a way to insure themselves in case they are killed or injured while traveling abroad. The idea came about when three students from the University of Maine were killed in 2010 when their plane crashed in Italy. It inspired their team to start the "International Student Life Insurance Association" (ISLA) after seeing how many American college kids travel the world on vacations that are affordable by others but not them. These students have come up with a way to insure their lives in case anything happened while abroad. What's even better? They've made sure the insurance is affordable to students and is accessible without breaking the bank. In fact, it only costs $20 a year (the cost of an international phone call) and has a term of 10 years.

"ISLA is an insurance product offered exclusively to international students studying abroad," said Alec Torelli, president of ISLA. "It is a whole life policy that works on a cash value basis versus traditional term policies that are used domestically." He continued, "As opposed to buying traditional term life insurance policies for $250-500 per year, our policy only covers $20 per year. So we are providing an affordable protection policy for international students. We're trying to make sure that our members are protected in case something unfortunate would happen."

ISLA originated in 2010 and has spread to 128 schools around the world where there are approximately 15,000 international students. Members pay $20 per year and have access to a free grant of up to $10,000 in funeral arrangements or hospital bills. In addition, members can elect a free term life insurance policy up to $100,000. This is one major attraction of ISLA in that students can access this type of insurance without paying a premium price normally associated with it.

"It's a great alternative for students who cannot get American term life insurance, especially in light of the recent rule changes that have eliminated discounts for international students," said Torelli. "We have worked hard to develop a unique product that provides the best coverage on the market at an affordable price. We want to ensure that our members are protected in case they are injured or die not only while studying abroad, but while traveling in Europe or South America."

So how does it work? To explain exactly what ISLA is like, Torelli sent an email out to all of its members outlining their experiences and benefits of such an insurance plan. He began by explaining every aspect of the plan and how it works.

In the beginning of 2010, our team was hit with the tragic loss of our chief executives and CFO. These young men had just graduated college and were going to start careers in investment banking. Their families had always wanted them to get life insurance first before starting a career, but they didn't realize how affordable it really was until it happened to them. Workers compensation quickly put their families through a financial squeeze, and as a result they quickly realized that in order to keep their families from losing everything, they needed to get some kind of life insurance. The tragedy brought us together and helped spur the creation of our idea for an affordable product exclusively for international students studying abroad.

Beyond the tragic situation, we knew that there was a need for something like this in the international student community. All three of our founders are international students who traveled to the US to study abroad, and we all realized how vulnerable we were when traveling in a foreign country. It could have happened to any of us at any time. After discussing our ideas with a lawyer in Maine, we came up with a plan and started writing it up as an insurance policy. We finally had what we considered an awesome product when we released it to our members through online forums. It got great reviews and many people said that it was the best thing they had ever done for themselves when studying abroad.

We were finally ready to set our plan in motion. We formed the International Student Life Insurance Association, became a registered insurance company in the state of Maine, and began writing policies. We have plans to spread our coverage to many other schools in the United States as well as overseas. Our goal is to eventually help cover 50% of all international students studying on American campuses.

Our members are eligible for free insurance up to $10,000 if they are injured or killed while abroad. They also have access to a term life insurance policy that can be written up to $100,000 at no cost (except for any tax implications).

Our members are also eligible for FREE funeral arrangements and hospital bills in case of a death or injury. They get their own burial plot at the end of 10 years when they leave the country.

Using life insurance while abroad is not an easy endeavor. You have to be careful about what you're doing so that you're not considered a risk to the school if something should happen during your time away from home base. The best way to keep on the right side of this is by looking into things like health insurance or accident coverage plans that are offered through your school, employer, family and other community resources. These can help you avoid any huge expenses if something were to happen while you're away from home base.

When I heard about ISLA it became clear that this insurance plan was specifically designed for international students. This was very much the case when I spoke with Torelli. He told me that they had spent a great deal of time working on the plan and making sure that every detail was considered. They spent a lot of time looking into issues like physical insurance coverage, funeral coverages, living expenses and death in foreign countries. The real beauty of their system is that it covers a lot without a huge cost to the student, as opposed to traditional life insurance options which can be thousands more than what this plan is set up for. This product allows some protection in all costs without making it too expensive to use it while abroad.


International students are exposed to new risks and experiences while studying abroad that could not be properly prepared for. The best way to protect yourself is by examining previous studies as well as the insurance options that are offered through your school, employer or student organization. Torelli says that his team has spent a great deal of time in developing its product and making sure it is the best one possible for international students. He also said ISLA's goal is to make sure international students studying away have access to as many benefits as possible in a way that makes sense.

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