18 February 2020News

IAT to help employees pay off student debt

IAT Insurance Group, the North Carolina-based specialty property, casualty and surety insurer, has launched the IAT College Loan Assistance Support (CLAS) programme, to assist employees pay off student debt.

From Q3 2020, IAT, which has its reinsurance business based in Bermuda, will match 50 percent of an employee’s monthly college loan payment, up to a $300 monthly contribution by IAT, and a per employee lifetime cap of $30,000. IAT is working with Boston-based Gradifi, a US employee benefits company, to deliver the programme.

The IAT CLAS programme is available to employees repaying loans incurred while obtaining associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees. Participants will continue to make their monthly payments, with IAT sending its matching amount directly to the lender, which will be fully applied to reduce the principal of the loan.

The programme also provides debt counseling and refinancing services to all employees starting in March.

IAT already offers employees tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 per year if they are pursuing a college degree, a 7 percent dollar-for-dollar 401(k) company match and an additional discretionary retirement contribution of 3 percent annually.

Bill Cunningham, chief executive officer of IAT Insurance Group, said: “We believe that the investment in higher education is one of the best investments that most people make in their lifetime. However, with the high cost of secondary education we know that student loan debt can be a significant burden on our employees.”

Cunningham noted IAT’s announcement comes in Insurance Careers Month, an industry-wide effort to promote the benefits of a career in insurance. “In addition to retaining and developing our employees, we must compete for college students and recent graduates who may not have considered a career in insurance. Strong benefits help us do that,” he added.

Cunningham said he hoped other companies would follow its lead and offer a similar benefit.