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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater Regarding Settlement with Prudential Insurance Company to Return Unclaimed Dollars to Floridians

2/2/2012

Contact: Alexis Lambert
(850) 413-2842
                                                                                                                                                                            850-413-2842
TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today released the following statement regarding Florida’s settlement with Prudential Insurance Company of America and its affiliates, which will allow the Department of Financial Services to recover unclaimed insurance benefits owed to Floridians. 

In May of last year, a similar settlement was reached with John Hancock Life Insurance Company which will result in the delivery of approximately $9.5 million in unclaimed insurance benefits owed to Floridians.  Both settlements stem from the insurance industry’s longstanding practice of using the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to discontinue recipients’ annuity payments but not using the same file to determine that death benefits are owed after the deaths of insured individuals.
CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property routinely conducts examinations of companies throughout the United States to ensure compliance with state unclaimed property laws.  Since Feb. 2009, the bureau has authorized 20 examinations.

“As a public official, I have a deep responsibility to ensure that companies doing business in our state are playing by the rules and honoring the contractual obligations they have made with their customers.
“As such, this landmark settlement with Prudential will make certain that Floridians get the dollars they are owed plus interest earned for the time the insurer held the payment.   It will also require the company to improve its policies to protect policyholders from being systematically defrauded out of the dollars they’ve set aside to prepare for the loss of a loved one.
 
“Prudential is the second insurance company to be held accountable for this deceitful practice, and I suspect it will not be the last. We are sending a clear message that this practice is inexcusable and will not be tolerated in Florida.”
 
Consumers can access information about the Prudential Insurance Company settlement, including contact information for the company, by visiting CFO Atwater’s Division of Consumer Services’ Web page at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Consumers/.  Any consumers who experience delays or frustrations with the settlement process will have the opportunity to file a complaint online with the Division of Consumer Services.  
 
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 capital, and ensuring transparency and accountability in spending.