MEMBERSHIP IS OPEN TO ALL REGULAR AND RESERVE ROYAL ENGINEER OFFICERS REGARDLESS OF RELATIONSHIP STATUS
MEMBERS SUBSCRIBE DURING SERVICE AND BEYOND UNTIL AGE 60 AND MEMBERSHIP CONTINUES TO DEATH
IMMEDIATE LUMP SUM CASH PAYMENT TO THE MEMBER’S REGISTERED SPOUSE OR PARTNER FOLLOWING DEATH (£4,400 per unit)
ANNUITY PAYMENTS FOR THE LIFETIME OF THE MEMBER’S SPOUSE OR PARTNER & EACH DEPENDENT CHILD UP TO AGE 21 (£495 per unit)
Membership of the Society is open to all Royal Engineer Officers, regardless of commission type and gender.
Since October 2020 the Society has been able to recognise all forms of enduring relationship, subject to conditions set out in the Rules.
Members pay subscriptions from the point of enrolment until their 60th birthday. The closer to commissioning that Members join the less they will pay during the course of their membership.
Very generous incentives are available for those joining during their Troop Commanders Course. Single members receive a 50% discount on subscriptions (plus a further 25% if joining during TCC).
Unlike most commercial life assurance policies, death benefits are available for as long as the spouse or partner lives and there is no small print regarding cause of death.
Each unit of membership provides the following benefits:
- An immediate lump sum cash payment to the member’s registered spouse or partner. (This lump sum payment will be divided equally between eligible children under the age of 21, should a spouse die before or at the same time as the member.)
- In the case of a single member a half rate lump sum cash payment is made to the deceased member’s estate.
- Annuity payments for the lifetime of the registered spouse or partner.
- Annuity payments for each dependant child up to his/her 21st birthday.
Benefits are reviewed every three years based as part of a wider actuarial review. All beneficiaries receive the benefits at the most current rate regardless of the level of subscriptions paid by the deceased member. This helps to maintain the market value of the benefits paid, important for beneficiaries in receipt of annuity payments over very long periods.
BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP
Features of the Society:
- Members pay in until 60 but are covered for life
- All forms of enduring relationship recognised (since October 2020)
- Very few strings attached (for example age, lifestyle, cause of death) unlike all commercial policies (less PAX)
- Number of dependent children does not impact subscription rates
- Benefits (currently £4,400 per unit tax free-lump sum and £495 per unit per annum lifetime payments – updated 1 January 2022) are reviewed periodically and increased when possible, but subscription rates are fixed to the original unit schedule signed up to
- Annuities paid for lifetime of registered spouse/partner and to 21st birthday for each dependent child
- Annuity payment benefits are relatively unusual and only apply to comparatively expensive commercial Whole of Life Insurance Policies
- Claims are honoured very swiftly and with minimal process
- Lady Grover’s Fund subscriptions paid for those beneficiaries who became members upon the death of their spouse/partner (see right)
- Membership supports The Samaritan Fund Charity which can provide assistance to the spouses or partners of any deceased RE officers
- The Society has members and beneficiaries worldwide serving as an informal network for serving and retired RE officers and their families
- Neither a pension fund nor an insurance company, the Society is able to minimise its overheads and maximise returns in investment portfolio
- Portfolio managed by an Investment Firm with both Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) and Socially Responsible Investment principles sitting at the heart of their investment analysis. Currently investments in firms with more than 10% income from tobacco, adult entertainment, alcohol and gambling have been excluded by the Council of Management..
A Major died in 2011 aged 35 owning 5 units. Married less than a year, he had paid in a total of £850 in subscriptions. His wife received a lump sum payment of £20,000 and, as of 2021, around £25,000 worth of annuity payments. A further £90,000 (at the 2022 rate, however the benefit rate will increase periodically) will be paid out assuming she lives to the statistical average for REOWS beneficiaries.
A Colonel died in 2013 aged 65 owning 5 units. He had taken out 4 extra units in 1996. His widow got an immediate payment of £20,000 and an annual pension of £2,250 for life.
A Lieutenant-Colonel died of cancer aged 50 in 1997. His widow is still in receipt of her annuity and his daughter received the same annuity for 11 years until she was 21.
A young unmarried Captain holding 5 units died in a car accident soon after returning from an operational tour in 2011. His estate received £10,000.
Following death the REOWS will cover subscriptions for widow(er)s whose spouses were Lady Grover’s Fund members. This is worth up to £8,000 per annum and covers unexpected nursing costs as a consequence of illness and injury.
“I really wish I had joined the Society before I’d turned 34 and taken out 10 units; it didn’t seem important back then but now, compared to commercial products out there, this makes total sense – after all, it WILL pay out!”
“blessings to Dad for setting this up for Mum so many years ago!”
Daughter of REOWS Beneficiary (in New Zealand) following her mum’s death aged 95, Dec 2020
Updates and publications from REOWS
REOWS Benefit Rates Increase
The Council is pleased to confirm that with effect 1 January 2022 REOWS benefit rates will increase by 10%. This increase will apply to both tax-free Lump Sums payable upon death and annuity payments to registered dependents (lifetime for spouse/partner and to the age of 21 for any dependent children). This means Lump Sums will increase from the current £4,000 per unit to £4,400 per unit and annuity payments from £450 per unit per annum to £495 per unit per annum. (The half lump sum payable to the estates of Members with no registered dependents will increase from £2,000 to £2,200 per unit). All Beneficiaries already in receipt of annuities will benefit from both this and all future increases. Subscription rates for new Members will not, at this stage, be increased. Those thinking about joining or increasing their unit holdings should therefore consider doing so over the next few months (and certainly before reaching their 34 and 43 year thresholds when new units become more expensive). Do please apply via the website or email the Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Switch to Direct Debit!
A reminder that the Society is migrating to subscription collection via Direct Debit (rather than via Standing Order) which places the onus on the Society rather than the Member to ensure your subscriptions are accurate. So – if you haven’t already done so – please complete a mandate now here and the Secretary will take care of the rest. It takes two minutes! Ensure you cancel your existing standing order with your bank unless you plan on donating to the REOWS Samaritan Fund!
Ensure your Long Term Relationship is Registered
Following adoption of the new Articles several Members have already registered their Long Term Partners in order to ensure they are covered in the event of death. The burden of proof rests with the Member and is based upon a relationship enduring for over 365 days with demonstrable shared parental responsibilities and/or financial interdependence. Please use the form here together with the requisite evidence to get registered.
2021 REOWS Chair’s Newsletter
An update from the outgoing Chair has been sent to all members by either email or post – do please take 2 minutes to read. Link here.
The REOWS Samaritan Fund £12,000 Support to RE Officer Dependents
This week saw the REOWS Samaritan Fund provide a six-monthly grant of just over £12,000 to dependents of deceased RE officers across the world. Thirteen recipients living in the UK, Zimbabwe, Spain, Australia and France received their biannual payment of around £1,000 each to relieve hardship . The Samaritan Fund is a registered charity which falls under the trusteeship of the REOWS Council of Management and is designed to assist those dependents whose souse or partner may not have been a member of the REOWS. The Samaritan Fund disburses around £30,000 each year in conjunction with a number of other service charities including the REA, Officers’ Association and the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League.
Lady Grover’s Fund Membership
Did you know that following death the REOWS will cover subscriptions for dependents whose late spouses/partners were Lady Grover’s Fund members? Do consider joining the LGF – subscription is only £50.75 for under 50s; and you must join before beneficiaries (your dependents) reach the age of 65. You can join during or post-Service. This is worth up to £8,000 per annum and covers unexpected nursing costs as a consequence of illness and injury. See https://www.ladygrover.org.uk/ This week this resulted in an REOWS beneficiary (already in receipt of annuity payments) living in South Africa being put in touch with the LGF in order to cover care costs. Scale of Benefits: (a) Nursing Home or Hospital Accommodation. The expense of temporary residence (including food and nursing care) in a hospital or nursing home. Up to £1694 per week (£242 per day). (b) Home Nursing. The expense of the temporary employment of a qualified nurse or carer. Up to £346.50 per week (£49.50 per day). (c) Convalescence. The expense of convalescence (including travelling expenses) under medical advice in an accepted establishment. Up to £346.50 per week (£49.50 per day). (d) Home Help. The expense of the temporary employment of domestic help. Up to £196.00 per week (£28 per day). Maximum Duration and Amount of Claims. A member is entitled to receive nursing benefits (a), (b) and (c) above in respect of up to eight weeks of illness (whether consecutive or otherwise) in any period of twelve months. However, in the case of Home Help, the maximum duration in a period of twelve months can be up to fifteen weeks, provided that the. claim does not exceed a maximum of £2,352.00. The maximum settlement payable to a member cannot exceed £8,000 in any period of twelve months
New Articles & Rules!
New Articles of Association were adopted unanimously at the AGM on 15th October and the new Rules are now in place. The most significant change is that the Society will recognise all forms of enduring relationship. In line with the MoD’s application process for SFA, new and existing Members are now able to apply to have their partners and children covered having demonstrated when their relationship was formalised through the submission of appropriate evidence – for example, joint mortgage, bank accounts or, where applicable, children’s birth certificates and so on. The relevant form is available from the Secretary – please email him on email@example.com. The two documents are available here: https://www.reows.co.uk/rules/
ABOUT THE SOCIETY
The Society was formed in 1785 by all 68 Officers of the Corps serving at the time. Over the years since then the Society has used the income generated by the subscriptions of Officer members to provide help for their families when they have died in combat or from other causes.
Today, the Society has some 800 members and there are nearly 100 beneficiary dependents receiving annuity payments in receipt of benefits. The Society’s Annuity fund has assets of around £7 million and the charitable Samaritan Fund has a further £0.5M.
The Society is managed by a Council, elected by members, consisting of serving and retired Royal Engineer Officers who receive no remuneration.
THE REOWS SAMARITAN FUND
The Council of Management of the Society are also Trustees of a separate Samaritan Fund, a registered Charity (No. 264432). This fund, which has assets of £500,000, exists to provide help for dependents of deceased RE officers who are in need, hardship or distress.
Working in conjunction with the Officers’ Association the Samaritan Fund currently provides regular support to some fifteen beneficiaries.
Over the years the Fund has benefited from legacies as well as from donations from Members and Widows. It is this Sapper generosity which enables the Trustees to continue with this aspect of the Society’s very valuable charitable work. You can donate here.
Please address all correspondence and enquiries to the Society Secretary by using this form.
Secretary: Lt Col (Retd) Nick Mifsud
Tel: 01634 409110
Address: Braeside Farm, Peat Inn, Cupar, Fife, KY15 5LH
The Royal Engineers Officers’ Widows Society
c/o Regimental Headquarters Royal Engineers
Chatham, Kent ME4 4UG
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