USAA is my favorite bank and the company my wife and I use to insure our home and autos. I have been a happy USAA customer for about 7 or 8 years now, and I don’t think I will ever leave them.
I’ve had discussions with some of their other members and one thing there is always some misconception about is the Subscriber Savings Account belonging to each USAA member with a property and casualty policy.
USAA recently sent out SSA notices to their account holders, so I decided to take this opportunity to explain what they are.
Subscriber Savings Accounts
SSAs are a byproduct of the legal structure of USAA. One of the interesting features about USAA is that it is not a publicly owned company, USAA is actually member owned. This is important because it gives USAA different options for raising capital.
Publicly owned companies sell stock to raise capital; USAA holds its capital in member-owned SSAs. These funds are held in reserve for USAA to satisfy legal requirements and pay for catastrophic losses.
It’s your money, but it is held by USAA. An SSA is your money, but it isn’t a bank account. The money held is in an SSA under each member’s name, and remains there in the event USAA needs to use the money to pay insurance settlements or claims. Members are not able to make withdrawals or deposits to or from their SSA.
SSA Balance. Money allocated to your SSA depends on several factors, including a percentage of the member’s property and casualty premiums, USAA’s investment portfolio and performance, the member’s SSA balance (sometimes distributions are made on a percentage basis), longevity as a USAA member and more.
SSA Distributions. USAA board members have the option to make financial distributions to its members based on how well USAA’s investments performed, how much money each person has in their SSA, and a multitude of other factors.
How to get your SSA money back. There is no way to get your SSA funds back unless you close all of your property and casualty policies. Your SSA will be paid out about six months later. When my wife and I consolidated our policies after we got married, I received the balance of my SSA after closing my account – about $160. The good news is receiving your SSA funds is not generally taxable because it is considered a return on premiums. Be sure to check with a tax adviser for more details.
Distributions are not guaranteed. USAA has a track record of giving their members distributions, but it is important to note they are not guaranteed.
USAA membership is a privilege earned by those in uniform — and it’s a privilege that can be handed down to their children. Those eligible to join the association include:
- Active-duty officers and enlisted military personnel;
- Former spouses and adult children of USAA members;
- National Guard and selected Reserve officers and enlisted personnel; and
- Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS).
If you think you may be eligible for membership, I highly recommend looking into it!