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Statement from Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater at Public Hearing on Life Insurance Companies' Practices

5/19/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert
850-413-2842

TALLAHASSEE—Today, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation conducted a public hearing with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Nationwide Life Insurance Company to evaluate a potential industry practice that involves the use of the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. 

Under review is whether insurers used such a file to discontinue company payments of annuity benefits upon a policyholder’s death but did not use the same list to pay death benefits on life insurance policies.  Also in question is whether insurers are failing to timely report and remit unclaimed policy benefits to the state if the company doesn’t locate the rightful beneficiaries. 

CFO Jeff Atwater, whose office has several audit investigations underway, offered the following statement regarding today’s hearing:

“Today’s hearing is a fact-finding mission. The people of Florida deserve the truth. 

“When Floridians sacrifice their hard-earned monies to protect and provide for their families, they need to know their company will always keep in mind what is best for them and their family – the customers.

“When Floridians put their family’s needs in another’s hands, they need to know that their company will deliver on its promises and be transparent in its dealings.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that companies doing business in our state are playing by the rules and honoring the contractual obligations they have with their customers.

“If a company’s policies have cheated hard-working Floridians out of monies they set aside to prepare for the loss of a loved one, or delayed them from claiming monies they were rightly owed, I’m prepared to take all actions necessary to ensure this practice is abolished in Florida and that all money due Floridians is promptly returned.”

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.