WASHINGTON -- The Army launched its Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Online Enrollment System, or SOES, Oct. 1, providing a one-stop shop for SGLI coverage.

"So far enrollment numbers have just about been on track to what we projected," said Lt. Col. Stacie Hatten, U.S. Army Human Resources Command Casualty and Mortuary Affairs branch chief. "As of mid-October nearly 49,000 Soldiers from across the service have taken advantage of the new online system."

With SOES, Soldiers have the ability to enroll in, or make changes to, their SGLV Form 8286 (Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Election and Certificate) all from the comfort of their own homes, whenever they choose. All that is needed is a personal computer and a Common Access Card or D/S Logon account.

"There really is no downside to SOES," said Hatten.

"Soldiers no longer have to go through their unit's HR professionals to update their coverage and with SOES there isn't a need for a paper trail," she said. "SOES stores the SGLV 8286 right within the system."

As a backup, technicians are currently working on an interface so that once the SGLV Form 8286 is completed in SOES it will automatically export a copy of that form to the Soldier's Personnel Electronic Records Management file (iPERMS) within a 24-hour time frame. While that portion of SOES is expected to be finished soon, there is no official date for its completion.

With the new system there is an added convenience to the process, but Soldiers need not panic if they haven't had the opportunity to sit down and plan their coverage.

"Soldiers who have not yet taken advantage of the SOES system are still covered under the old paper system as long as they have an election and certificate form on file within iPERMS," Hatten added. "But this new SOES system is so quick and easy to use, there really is no need to procrastinate."

To utilize SOES, sign into milCONNECT at http://go.usa.gov/xnCyr. Click on the link that says "Life Insurance (SOES - SGLI Online Enrollment System)" under the "Benefits" tab along the top of the page. When the SOES screen pops up, click 'continue' at the bottom of the page and start updating your coverage.