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Life Insurance Settlement Information

Sun Life and Affiliates

On November 13, 2014, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Florida Department of Financial Services and the Florida Office of the Attorney General announced a $3.2 million life claim settlement agreement with the Sun Life Companies, which includes the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Delaware Life Insurance Company, Independence Life and Annuity Company, Professional Insurance Company, Sun Life & Health Insurance Company, and Delaware Life Insurance Company of New York.

The settlement agreement with Sun Life and other insurers focuses on the companies’ use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) to stop paying a deceased person’s annuity, but not use the same information to find and begin paying the deceased’s family or other beneficiaries for life insurance policies. Sun Life has agreedto implement business reforms correcting this practice and to make a payment, which will be disbursed among the participating states. Florida’s allocation of the $3.2 million payment is expected to be more than $227,000. The multi-state examination was conducted by Florida, which served as the lead state, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

The settlement agreement requires Sun Life to implement the following business practices and reform measures: compare all company records against the DMF Update File every month and against the complete DMF file at least annually to identify matches for potential unclaimed death benefits; provide quarterly reports to the lead states about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the agreement for 36 months following its conclusion; agree to a follow-up examination by the Office of Insurance Regulation to determine compliance 39 months following the conclusion of the agreement.

For more information, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s Life Claim Settlement Practices webpage.

If you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

USAA Group and Affiliates

On February 10, 2014 Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced the release of the Multistate Targeted Market Conduct Examination Report for United Services Automobile Association Group and its affiliated companies, excluding USAA Life Insurance Company of New York, collectively referred to as “USAA.”

The examination of USAA began in December 2012 and was managed by New Hampshire as part of the ongoing market conduct examination effort being guided and coordinated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life/Annuities Claim Settlement Practices Task Force, which is chaired by Commissioner McCarty.

The Task Force is focused on investigating how life and annuity insurers have utilized the Social Security Death Master File (DMF) to identify deceased life insurance policyholders and annuitants and the efforts these insurers have undertaken to either pay beneficiaries or report and remit unclaimed property to the appropriate agencies.
During the examination of USAA, it was discovered that the company began using the DMF in the late 1990’s to validate its marketing mailing lists and began conducting regular matches between the DMF and its complete “member database” soon thereafter. In 2007, the company transitioned into a weekly matching process to determine if benefits were owed to policyholders represented on the DMF. The report findings concluded that USAA used the DMF symmetrically across product lines negating the need for a multistate regulatory settlement agreement.

To date, state insurance regulators have either reached settlements or concluded the investigation of 15 of the top 40 companies constituting 60% of the total market. The efforts of the Task Force continue to be focused on the examination of the remaining top 25 insurers.

For more information, visit the Office’s Life Claim Settlement Practices webpage.

Genworth and Affiliates

On January 21, 2014 Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced a $1.9 million life claim settlement agreement has been reached with three companies (Genworth Life Insurance Company, Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, and Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York) who are collectively referred to as “Genworth.”

The settlement agreement with Genworth and other similar insurers focuses primarily on the asymmetrical use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) to cease making annuity payments, but not to search for beneficiaries of a life insurance policy who may be due benefits. Genworth has agreed to implement business reforms correcting this practice and to make a payment, which will be disbursed among the participating states. Florida’s allocation of the $1.9 million payment is expected to be more than $161,033.

The multi-state examination was conducted by the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), the Florida Office of the Attorney General (AG), the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) and other lead states.

The settlement agreement requires Genworth to implement business practices and reform measures to compare all company records against the Death Master File Update File every month and against the complete DMF file at least annually. The company is required to provide quarterly reports to the lead states about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the Agreement for 36 months following its conclusion. A follow-up examination to determine compliance will be conducted 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website at Life Claim Settlement Agreements.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

Lincoln and Affiliates

On December 10, 2013 Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced a $13.2 million life claim settlement agreement has been reached with Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Lincoln Life and Annuity Company of New York and First Penn Pacific Life Insurance Company (collectively referred to as “Lincoln”).

The settlement agreement with Lincoln and other similar insurers focuses primarily on the asymmetrical use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) to cease making annuity payments, but not to search for beneficiaries of a life insurance policy who may be due benefits. Lincoln has agreed to implement business reforms correcting this practice and to make a multi-million dollar payment, which will be disbursed among the participating states. Florida’s allocation of the $13.2 million payment is expected to be more than $1 million.

The multi-state examination was conducted by the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), the Florida Office of the Attorney General (AG), the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) and other lead states.

The settlement agreement requires Lincoln to implement business practices and reform measures to compare all company records against the Death Master File Update File every month and against the complete DMF file at least annually. The company is required to provide quarterly reports to the lead states about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the Agreement for 36 months following its conclusion. A follow-up examination to determine compliance will be conducted 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website at Life Claim Settlement Agreements.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

Midland and its affiliates

On November 25, 2013 Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced a $3.3 million life claim settlement agreement has been reached with two companies (Midland National Life Insurance Company and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance) who are collectively referred to as “Midland.”

The settlement agreement with Midland and other similar insurers focuses primarily on the asymmetrical use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) to cease making annuity payments, but not to search for beneficiaries of a life insurance policy who may be due benefits. Midland has agreedto implement business reforms correcting this practice and to make a multi-million dollar payment, which will be disbursed among the participating states. Florida’s allocation of the $3.3 million payment is expected to be more than $282,761.

The multi-state examination includes the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), the Florida Office of the Attorney General (AG), the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) and other lead states.

The settlement agreement requires Midland to implement business practices and reform measures to compare all company records against the Death Master File Update File every month and against the complete DMF file at least annually. The company is required to provide quarterly reports to the lead states about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the Agreement for 36 months following its conclusion. A follow-up examination to determine compliance will be conducted 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website at Life Claim Settlement Agreements.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

Aviva Life & Annuity Company and its affiliates

On November 21, 2013 Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced that a $4 million life claim settlement agreement has been reached with two companies (Aviva Life & Annuity Company and Aviva Life & Annuity Company of New York) who are collectively referred to as “Aviva.”

The settlement agreement with Aviva and other similar insurers focuses primarily on the asymmetrical use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) to cease making annuity payments, but not to search for beneficiaries of a life insurance policy who may be due benefits. Aviva has agreed to implement business reforms correcting this practice and to make a multi-million dollar payment, which will be disbursed among the participating states. Florida’s allocation of the $4 million payment is expected to be over $342,000.

This agreement represents the tenth in Florida to resolve life claim settlement practices. The multi-state examination includes the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), the Office of the Attorney General (AG), the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) and other lead states.

The settlement agreement requires Aviva to implement business practices and reform measures to compare all company records against the Death Master File Update File every month and against the complete DMF file at least annually from the Agreement effective date. The company is required to provide quarterly reports to the lead states about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the Agreement for 36 months following its conclusion. A follow-up examination to determine compliance will be conducted 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website at Life Claim Settlement Agreements.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

New York Life Insurance Company and its affiliates

On October 24, 2013 Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced that a multi-million dollar settlement agreement has been reached with New York Life Insurance Company (New York Life) and its affiliates. The New York Life settlement represents the ninth life claim settlement agreement for Florida. The agreement is between the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), overseen by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, the Florida Office of the Attorney General (AG), overseen by Attorney General Pam Bondi, and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) and the other lead states.

One major focus of these settlements is the company’s asymmetrical use of the U.S. Social Security Death Master File (DMF) and the insurers’ practice of using it to stop paying annuities, but not to search for beneficiaries of a life insurance policy to determine if benefits are due. As part of the settlement agreements, insurers are now required to use the DMF in locating beneficiaries and must promptly remit payment to the unclaimed property division of each state for beneficiaries that cannot be located. New York Life has demonstrated that it has been using the DMF symmetrically with quarterly DMF runs since regulators commenced examinations in 2011.

As part of the agreement, New York Life agreed to compare all company records against the DMF Update File every month and against the Complete DMF file at least annually from the Agreement effective date. In addition, New York Life has agreed to provide the lead states with quarterly reports about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the Agreement for 36 months following its conclusion. A follow-up examination to determine compliance will be conducted 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website at Life Claim Settlement Agreements.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

Transamerica Life Insurance Company and affiliates

On September 11, 2013, The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) along with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Office of the Attorney General (AG) announced a multi-million dollar settlement agreement with Transamerica Life Insurance Company (Transamerica) and its affiliates, which will allow the DFS to recover unclaimed insurance benefits owed to Floridians.

The settlement with Transamerica is the eighth life claim settlement agreement reached for Florida and stems from the industry’s practice of using the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) to discontinue a recipient’s annuity payments, but not using the same file to determine that death benefits are owed after the deaths of insured individuals.

Transamerica agreed to compare all company records against the DMF Update File every month and against the Complete DMF file at least annually from the Agreement effective date. In addition, Transamerica has agreed to provide quarterly reports about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the Agreement for 36 months following its conclusion. A follow-up examination to determine compliance will be conducted 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website at Life Claim Settlement Agreements.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

MassMutual Financial Group and affiliates

On August 20, 2013 Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced the release of the Multistate Targeted Market Conduct Examination of MassMutual Financial Group (MassMutual).

The examination of USAA began in December 2012 and was managed by New Hampshire as part of the ongoing market conduct examination effort being guided and coordinated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life/Annuities Claim Settlement Practices Task Force, which is chaired by Commissioner McCarty.

The Task Force is focused on investigating how life and annuity insurers have utilized the Social Security Death Master File (DMF) to identify deceased life insurance policyholders and annuitants and the efforts these insurers have undertaken to either pay beneficiaries or report and remit unclaimed property to the appropriate agencies.

The examination of MassMutual, one of the largest insurers in the United States, found that it used information from the DMF to both make payments to beneficiaries of life insurance policies as well as to stop annuity payments. As a result of this positive examination report outcome, a multistate regulatory settlement agreement was deemed unnecessary.

This examination report follows an earlier announcement of a multistate settlement with ING, the seventh insurer to enter into a regulatory settlement agreement with state insurance regulators addressing this issue. As of now, the state insurance regulators have either reached settlements or concluded the investigation of eight of the top twenty companies constituting 42.5% of the total market. The efforts of the Task Force continue to be focused on the examination of the remaining top 32 insurers.

For more information, visit the Office’s Life Claim Settlement Practices webpage.

ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company

On August 19, 2013, the Department of Financial Services (DFS), the Office of the Attorney General (AG) and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) announced a multi-million dollar settlement agreement with ING Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, which will allow DFS to recover unclaimed insurance benefits owed to Floridians.

These settlements focus on the insurer’s appropriate use of the U.S. Social Security Death Master File (DMF) to locate beneficiaries and promptly remit payment to the unclaimed property division for beneficiaries that cannot be located.

As part of the agreement, ING has agreed to compare all company records against the DMF Update File every month and the complete DMF file at least annually. The company also agreed to allow lead states to conduct a follow-up examination to determine compliance 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue and consumer contact information, visit the Office’s Life Claims Settlement Practices website page.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company

On June 24, 2013, The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) along with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Office of the Attorney General (AG) announced a multi-million dollar settlement agreement with TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, which will allow DFS to recover unclaimed insurance benefits owed to Floridians.

This settlement stems from the company’s practice of using the Social Security Administration’s Death Master List to discontinue the insured’s annuity payments, but not using that same method to determine that death benefits are owed after the insured individuals are deceased.

As part of the agreement TIAA-CREF agreed to perform comparisons for all insured individuals against the completed Death Master File within 12 months and continue the practice monthly, provide quarterly updates for the next three years to the Office, DFS and the Attorney General’s Office, and to allow lead states to conduct a follow-up examination to determine compliance 39 months following the agreement date.

Consumers can access information about the TIAA-CREF settlement, by visiting the Office of Insurance Regulation’s website page at TIAA-CREF Settlement or call TIAA-CREF directly at 877-694-0305 (Monday-Friday, 8am – 6pm EST) about an existing policy.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

AIG Companies

On October 22, 2012, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) along with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Office of the Attorney General (AG) announced an $11 million settlement agreement with 10 companies collectively referred to as AIG. Other lead states of California, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas also assisted in the investigation. The agreement is the fifth agreement that Florida has settled that requires large national insurers to appropriately use the U.S. Social Security Death Master File (DMF) to locate life and annuity beneficiaries, and promptly remit payment to the unclaimed property division of each state for beneficiaries that cannot be located.

Under this agreement, AIG has committed to performing comparisons to the database of lapsed policyholders and annuity owners within 60 days, establish procedures that a DMF listing is prima facie evidence of a death and conduct a thorough search, provide quarterly reports to lead states for the next 36 months about implementation and execution of the requirements of the agreement, and to undergo a follow-up examination by the lead states in 39 months to determine compliance with the agreement.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) or (850) 413-3089 for more information.

For more information, you may access the AIG website at American International Group, Inc.

Nationwide Insurance Companies

On October 11, 2012, The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) along with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Office of the Attorney General (AG) announced a multi-million dollar settlement agreement with five Nationwide companies (Nationwide), which will allow the DFS to recover unclaimed insurance benefits owed to Floridians.

The settlement with Nationwide is the third life claim settlement agreement reached for Florida and stems from the industry’s practice of using the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to discontinue a recipient’s annuity payments, but not using the same file to determine that death benefits are owed after the deaths of insured individuals. A similar agreement was reached with John Hancock and Prudential Companies, and their affiliates.

Nationwide agreed to monthly checks against the Death Master File and to develop a thorough search procedure to adopt business reforms to locate policyholders and beneficiaries within 120 days of an insured’s death. In the event that the company locates the beneficiary, it is required to provide appropriate claim forms or instructions to assist the beneficiary in making a claim. Nationwide has agreed to provide lead states quarterly reports about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the agreement. A follow-up examination to determine compliance will be conducted 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.

For more information about this issue, visit Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website at Life Claim Settlement Agreements or call Nationwide at 1-800-848-6331.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for more information.

MetLife Insurance Multi-Agency Agreement Summary

On April 23, 2012, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation along with the Florida Department of Financial Services and the Florida Office of the Attorney General reached an agreement with nine Metropolitan Life (MetLife) insurance companies in a joint investigation coordinated with the insurance departments of California, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Dakota. A related agreement is being signed by MetLife and Unclaimed Property officials in 30 states. The agreement pertains to the location of life and annuity beneficiaries and the reporting of unclaimed property.

By entering this agreement, MetLife agreed to adopt business reforms strengthening efforts to locate policyholders and beneficiaries within 120 days of an insured’s death. If, within one year, an insured or beneficiary cannot be found, MetLife will report and pay the death benefit or annuity payment to the appropriate unclaimed property department. MetLife also agreed to search for insureds or beneficiaries of low-value or industrial life insurance policies that were sold in the early 1900’s up to 1964. These industrial policies alone are estimated to include almost 15,000 Florida policyholders.

The practice addressed in this agreement involves life insurance companies determining an insured has died by comparing policyholder records to the Death Master File. Many companies have used this method to stop annuity payments, but have not used the same method to issue life insurance payments.

If there is an unclaimed MetLife life insurance policy in your family, visit www.metlife.com/policyfinder.

Prudential Insurance Company of America

On February 2, 2012, The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) along with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Office of the Attorney General (AG) announced a multi-million dollar settlement agreement with Prudential Insurance Company of America and its affiliates (Prudential). By entering this agreement, Prudential is taking a leadership role in the industry to invest resources into efforts to locate beneficiaries of life insurance policies when the insured has died but a claim has not been received.

Life insurance companies can find out that an insured has died by comparing policyholder records to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master List. Many companies have used this method to stop annuity payments, but have not used the same method to make life insurance payments.

For several years, Prudential has used the Death Master List to make life insurance payments when it has found that an annuity holder has died or when it has a precise match to name, social security number, and date of birth. Under this agreement, Prudential has committed to building a system to match inexact data, to search for beneficiaries if they find a match, and to do these matches more often.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) or (850) 413-3089 for more information.

Have Questions? View a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

John Hancock Life Insurance

On May 18, 2011, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced a multi-agency, multi-million-dollar settlement agreement with John Hancock Life Insurance Company. This settlement concludes the first investigation of an industry practice involving the selective use of the Death Master File from the U.S. Social Security Administration. John Hancock has agreed to revise its business practices related to unclaimed property for life insurance products and to revise its use of the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Death Master File.

The investigation found that John Hancock, upon learning of a policyholder’s death, discontinued company payments of annuity benefits. However, the company did not use the list to stop making deductions for life insurance payments or other automatic transfers.

The insurance practice resulted in continued payment deductions from the accounts of deceased policyholders for payment of premiums. Further, beneficiaries did not receive the claim payments, nor were the accounts remitted to the State of Florida’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property, as required by law.

Following the initiation of this investigation, John Hancock searched for and paid thousands of beneficiaries, resulting in the payout of millions of dollars nationwide in previously unpaid death benefits. Authorities anticipate Hancock will ultimately pay tens of millions of dollars to tens of thousands of beneficiaries nationwide.

If you feel you or someone you know is a victim of this practice please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Insurance Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) or (850) 413-3089 for more information.

Have Questions? View a list of frequently asked questions and answers.