Benefits Plans - Group Life Insurance

The university offers three group term life insurance plans to benefits eligible faculty and staff:

  • University Plan - $30,000 of coverage for you paid for by the University.
  • Optional Plan - your choice of coverage in amounts of $5,000, $50,000, or one to six times your annual salary (maximum of $1 million), paid for by you; and
  • Dependent Plan - coverage for your spouse or other qualified adult or your dependent children, paid for by you.

Retired university faculty and staff who were participating in the University Plan on the date of their retirement are eligible for Retiree Group Term Life Insurance.

All plans are administered by MetLife (1-800-523-2894).

Plan Summary

  • The University Plan and the Optional Plan offer coverage for you only. The Dependent Plan offers coverage for your spouse or other qualified adult and/or dependent children.
  • Enrollment is not automatic for the Optional Plan. You must enroll to participate.
  • New hires and newly eligible staff members hired after January 1, 2001 will be enrolled automatically in the $30,000 University-paid plan.
  • If your salary results in your coverage increasing above $500,000, you are capped at a flat $500,000 until you furnish evidence of insurability (health statement) that is satisfactory to MetLife.
  • Both the University Plan and the Optional Plan have a "Living Needs Benefits" option—or accelerated payment of death benefits—which is an advance payment of life insurance proceeds when you are terminally ill and have a life expectancy of six months or less.
  • These term plans have neither cash value nor provisions for loans, which means you must be enrolled when you die in order for your beneficiary to receive benefits.
  • The Optional Plan gives you the flexibility of setting your own level of coverage. There is a $1 million maximum of coverage available. You must be enrolled in the University Plan to enroll in the Optional Plan. If you are a nonsmoker, you get a discount on the Optional premium. A nonsmoker is defined as a person who has not smoked for 12 months. If you do not indicate your nonsmoker status on the application, you will be defaulted to the smoker rate.
  • Under the Optional Plan, the amount of coverage you choose and its cost will increase when your salary increases if your coverage is based on your salary. Your cost will increase similarly when you move into the next higher age bracket.
  • If you are enrolled in the Optional Plan, MetLife fully covers the legal fees associated with the preparation or updating of a will by one of the Hyatt Legal Plan attorneys. Contact Hyatt at 800-821-6400 for additional information.


The University, Optional, and Dependent Life Insurance plans offer coverage to regular, nonbargained-for university faculty and staff members who:

  • have at least a 50% appointment, and
  • have departmental funding for a minimum of four continuous months
  • Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs) who have at least a 25% appointment and funding for a minimum of four continuous months during fall and winter terms, or for two continuous months during spring or summer terms.
  • Graduate Student Research Assistants (GSRAs) who have at least a 25% appointment and funding for a minimum of four continuous months in any term.
  • Research Fellows and Postdoctoral Scholars who have University funding and an appointment greater than 0% for a minimum of four continuous months.

And regular, bargained-for University staff members who are members of:

  • the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA);
  • the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM);
  • the University of Michigan Skilled Trades (Trades);
  • the House Officers Association (HOA);
  • the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); or
  • the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Temporary hourly wage staff are not eligible.


Enrollment in the University Plan is automatic for new hires or newly eligible faculty and staff members hired after January 1, 2001. View the Optional Life Insurance and Dependent Life Insurance Plan sections for information on enrolling in those plans.

Benefits on Death

If you should die while your insurance is in force, regardless of how, when or where death occurs, the full amount of your insurance will be paid to your beneficiaries when the Benefits Office receives written proof of your death. If you do not designate a beneficiary, or if none of the beneficiaries you name survives you, death benefits will be paid to the first of the following:

  • Your surviving spouse/OQA;
  • Surviving children in equal shares;
  • Surviving parents in equal shares;
  • Surviving siblings in equal shares;
  • Estate

Be sure to review your beneficiaries periodically and make appropriate updates when circumstances change, for example when you get married, obtain a divorce, or adopt a child. See Beneficiaries for information on changing your beneficiary designations.

The University of Michigan in its sole discretion may modify, amend, or terminate the benefits provided with respect to any individual receiving benefits, including active employees, retirees, and their dependents. Although the university has elected to provide these benefits this year, no individual has a vested right to any of the benefits provided. Nothing in these materials gives any individual the right to continued benefits beyond the time the university modifies, amends, or terminates the benefit. Anyone seeking or accepting any of the benefits provided will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the benefits programs and the university's right to modify, amend or terminate them.