Update Beneficiaries FAQs

Description and General Information

1. What is the ‘Update My Beneficiaries’ page used for?

2. Who can I add as a beneficiary?

3. Why can’t I change my life insurance coverage?

Logging In and Using the Page

4. How do I access the ‘Update My Beneficiaries’ page?

5. How do I update or add beneficiaries?

6. How do I designate and allocate beneficiaries?

7. You may allocate using two methods: percent or amount.

8. Why aren’t my contingent beneficiaries displayed?

9. If I select the flat amount method of allocation and I have distributed the correct amount, why do I have to indicate who receives the left over money?

10. How do I know if my beneficiaries were changed?

Updating Current Beneficiaries

11. What happens if my designated beneficiaries pass away, before I do?

12. My ex-spouse is still listed as my ‘spouse’ in FASIS so I am unable to add my current spouse as a beneficiary. How do I fix this?

13. What if I want to permanently remove a beneficiary?

Beneficiaries for Other Benefit Plans

14. How do I update my Spouse and Dependent Child Life Insurance beneficiaries?

15. Can I update the beneficiary information for my retirement plans on the same page?

16. How do I update my Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D) beneficiaries?

Addition Information About Life Insurance

17. How can I get more information about Northwestern University employer sponsored life insurance plans?

Further Assistance and Help

18. How can I update my NMFF life insurance beneficiaries?

19. What do I do if I am unable to update my beneficiaries online?  

  1. What is the 'Update My Beneficiaries' page used for?

    Employees who are currently benefits eligible and enrolled in the Northwestern University sponsored Basic Life and/or Supplemental Life insurance plan(s) may use the Self Service Portal to:

    • Review life insurance coverage and beneficiaries
    • Add new individuals or legal trusts as beneficiaries
    • Change and update current beneficiary information
    • Change beneficiary allocation methods and/or amounts

    This online process replaces all previous paper and online designations of beneficiaries.

  2. Who can I add as a beneficiary?

    You may allocate life insurance benefits to either an individual or a legal trust.

  3. Why can’t I change my life insurance coverage?

    You will only see the plans in which you have previously enrolled. You will be able to enroll, drop or change coverage levels during the next Open Enrollment period.

  4. How do I access the 'Update My Beneficiaries' page?

    Use your NetID and password to log in to the Self Service Portal and click the purple "My Benefits" menu on the left; then click Update My Beneficiaries.

  5. How do I update or add beneficiaries?

    Follow the directions on each page; instructions are included on the screen.

  6. How do I designate and allocate beneficiaries?

    You may designate each beneficiary as either primary or contingent.

    For more information please view the glossary of terms.

    Contingent beneficiaries receive benefits only if all primary beneficiaries are deceased. It is not mandatory to designate a contingent beneficiary, but it is advised.

  7. You may allocate using two methods: percent or amount.
    • If you select the percent method for allocating benefits, then all percentages for primary beneficiary allocations must total 100. If you elect to assign contingent beneficiaries, then the total allocated benefit of all contingent beneficiaries must also total 100.
    • If you select the flat dollar amount method for either primary or contingent allocations, then you will be prompted to identify a beneficiary who will receive any remaining money

    While in Self Service you may be prompted to correct your entries so that they reflect the correct total amount of coverage.

  8. Why aren't my contingent beneficiaries displayed?

    You may have previously identified a contingent beneficiary, but if you did not allocate a specific flat amount or percent of the benefit payment to this individual or trust, then they will not display in Self Service. In order to correctly designate and view a contingent beneficiary online, select the applicable life insurance plan and check the box next to the beneficiary you wish to act as a contingent beneficiary. Then select the allocation method (percent or amount) and then provide the percent or flat dollar amount which should be allocated to the contingent beneficiary(s).

  9. If I select the flat amount method of allocation and I have distributed the correct amount, why do I have to indicate who receives the left over money?

    This field is required in the event that a salary increase occurs which may make you eligible for an increased benefit amount.

  10. How do I know if my beneficiaries were changed?

    After successfully completing your beneficiary updates in the Self Service Portal, you may print the final confirmation page for your records. You may also access Self Service and review the beneficiaries for a given date. In addition, after successfully changing your beneficiaries, you will be sent an automatic email to your campus email address, indicating that you have changed your life insurance beneficiaries. You do not need to respond to this message.

  11. What happens if my designated beneficiaries pass away before I do?

    If a person you have designated as a primary beneficiary dies before you do, the money that was allocated to them will be redistributed to the other primary beneficiaries. If all of your primary beneficiaries are deceased, then the benefit will be distributed to the designated contingent beneficiaries. It is recommended that you use Self Service to update your beneficiaries if one of them is deceased.

  12. My ex-spouse is still listed as my 'spouse' in Self Service so I am unable to add my current spouse as a beneficiary. How do I fix this?

    In order to add your current spouse, the relationship of your ex-spouse must be changed to reflect the correct status. This can only be done by contacting the University's Benefits Division by email at beneficiaryassistance@northwestern.edu with your employee ID number, the name of your ex-spouse and the date of the divorce. Someone from the Benefits Division will contact you once the change has been made and let you know that you may proceed to add your current spouse as a beneficiary using the Self Service Portal.

  13. What if I want to permanently remove a beneficiary?

    You can’t delete the name of someone who is on your beneficiary list. This can only be done by contacting the University’s Benefits Division by email at beneficiaryassistance@northwestern.edu with your employee ID number and name of beneficiary.

  14. How do I update my Spouse and Dependent Child Life Insurance beneficiaries?

    No update is required. You (the employee), are the designated beneficiary for these plans.

  15. Can I update the beneficiary information for my retirement plans on the same page?

    No, you must change your beneficiaries for your retirement plans using the website for your retirement plan investment company. You will find links to your investment company in the Self Service Portal by navigating to: My Benefits > Update My Retirement Elections.

    Additional information may also be obtained on the Benefits Division's website.

  16. How do I update my Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D) beneficiaries?

    No update is required. AD&D beneficiaries are the same as those designated for the Basic Life insurance plan.

  17. How can I get more information about Northwestern University employer sponsored life insurance plans?

    Additional information about life insurance plans may be found at the Benefit Division’s website.

  18. How can I update my NMFF life insurance beneficiaries?

    If you are an employee of Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation you may contact the NMFF Benefits Department at (312) 695-2405 for information.

  19. What do I do if I am unable to update my beneficiaries online?
    • To have your NETID password reset, call the IT HELP desk at (847)491-4357.
    • If you are having difficulties logging on to the Self Service Portal, contact the FASIS Help Desk at (847)467-4800.
    • If you have received an error message while using Self Service, please follow the directions provided in the error message. Questions related to these messages may be directed to the Benefits Division at (847) 491-7513 or by email to beneficiaryassistance@northwestern.edu.