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CBS News’ 60 Minutes to Feature Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty this Sunday

4/15/2016

Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413–2842
 
**PROGRAMMING ALERT**
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty will be featured during an episode of CBS News’ feature television program 60 Minutes this Sunday. The segment focuses on disturbing and long-standing practices discovered within the life insurance industry, which drastically reduce the number of life insurance policies that are properly—and timely—paid out. The segment profiles several states, including Florida, that have played a significant role in correcting this national conundrum.
 
During the 2016 Legislative Session, CFO Atwater championed legislation to fix this troubling practice in Florida. Senate Bill 966 was signed into law this week by Governor Rick Scott and this new law ensures requires life insurance companies to now take steps to determine when policyholders pass away and make an attempt to contact the listed beneficiary. Senate Bill 966 was sponsored by Representative Bill Hager and Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto.
 
“For years we’ve worked to put a stop to these practices, and nearly $500 million in overdue, unpaid life insurance benefits has already been returned to Florida—directly to consumers from insurance companies or through distribution to our state’s unclaimed property program,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “With the signing of this bill, the tide is now shifting in favor of the consumer and hundreds of thousands of Floridians will now gain access to unpaid benefits they may otherwise have never received. I’m looking forward to watching 60 Minutes’ national take on this important story.”
 
“Florida’s leadership on this effort to require life insurance companies to actively conduct searches for beneficiaries has always been about speaking up for those without a voice,” stated Kevin M. McCarty, Florida’s Insurance Commissioner. “We could not have achieved such profound results without the collaboration of our colleagues at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, most notably, the states of California, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.” 
 
The passage of this legislation follows years of regulatory investigations led by CFO Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Commissioner McCarty that uncovered this alarming practice in Florida. More than half of the largest insurance companies conducting business in the state ultimately signed regulatory agreements and agreed to do the right thing by their consumers, but CFO Atwater and Commissioner McCarty recognized that every company operating in Florida must be held to the same standard.
 
The vast majority of our nation’s 50 states have investigated these practices and many of Florida’s settlement agreements were multi-state agreements. Nationally, more than $8 billion has already been paid out by life insurance companies—companies that had previously been earning interest on those unpaid funds.
 
 
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, 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. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).
 
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about the Office, please visitwww.floir.com or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm and Facebook.