More than 628 thousand soldiers have signed up for Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance through the SGLI Online Enrollment System since the system went live Oct. 1 of last year. Yet many more are needed, if the Army is to meet its goal of 100 percent enrollment by the end of this fiscal year.
The online enrollment system, or SOES as it is commonly referred to, replaced an outdated paper system. Soldiers now have one stop, self-service access to make initial or subsequent elections of coverage up to $400,000 for their SGLI or Family SGLI. SOES is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
"No one ever thinks they're going to be a casualty," said Lt. Col. Stacie Hatten, United States Army Human Resources Command, Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Branch chief. "You can't know what tomorrow might bring, but you can start to prepare for it by completing and keeping up to date documents such as your Record of Emergency Data and SGLI election form."
Currently, nearly 76 percent of the active component has signed up for coverage compared to just 50 and 55 percent for the National Guard and Army Reserve, respectfully.
"I am hopeful that with annual training happening over the next few months, we will start to see an increase in the Reserve and National Guard enrollment numbers," Hatten said.
As long as soldiers have made their SGLI elections for coverage known to the Army, and those deductions for premiums are being taken out of their pay, they will be covered should something happen.
"What comes into play," Hatten said, "is when there is a life changing event such as a marriage, divorce, or birth in a family and those beneficiaries have changed. Without recertifying in SOES and updating that information, the Army has no way of knowing the soldiers intentions."
While most technical issues have been worked out since the launch, there are a few improvements that will be made in the future such as recertification for declined coverages.
"Before we make any significant changes to SOES, we have to wait for implementation throughout all the services," she said. "The U.S. Coast Guard is the last scheduled to do that with a date of Dec. 31, 2018."
To manage coverage, 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 follow the instructions to make sure your coverage is up to date and accurate.