Published: Aug 30, 2010 5:42 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 30, 2010 2:42 PM EDT

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - The parents of six deceased U.S. soldiers accuse Prudential Financial of paying paltry interest on military life insurance benefits and keeping more generous interest earnings for itself.

Five plaintiffs joined the original plaintiff Monday in a lawsuit that was filed in July in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mass.

They say Prudential paid them 0.5 to 1.5 percent interest on payouts it held if the beneficiaries did not cash them out after the soldiers' deaths. But they say the company made 5 to 6 percent interest on that money.

The Newark, N.J.-based insurer defends its handling of the money. Spokesman Bob DeFillippo says it is kept in easily accessible accounts for which the interest rate is separate from long-term investments that bring the higher returns.