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Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance Investigation Leads to Multi-State Settlement

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) announced in April 2012 a $40 million settlement with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) after an investigation by the NAIC Investigations of Life and Annuity Claims Settlement Practices Task Force that started in 2011.

MetLife, as well as many of the nation’s other life insurance providers, routinely cross-checks the Social Security Administration’s Death Master List with their list of life insurance payment recipients and other payees to determine if any have passed away. By reviewing this list, MetLife hopes to find policyholders that are no longer eligible for payment of benefits, therefore saving the company money.

However, MetLife does not use this same list to determine a list of life insurance policyholders that have passed away. This list would mean that benefits are payable to the named beneficiaries of these policies, therefore causing the company lose money.

In the settlement with one of the largest insurance providers in America, MetLife agreed to “regularly check the death master file, or a similar source of death records, to determine if its life insurance policyholders, annuity owners or retained asset account holders have died. MetLife will then make efforts to locate beneficiaries and pay claims.” If MetLife is unsuccessful in locating the beneficiaries within one year from the “date of the match”, MetLife has agreed to report the funds from the life insurance policy as unclaimed property to the appropriate state departments.

Kevin M. McCarty, Florida Insurance Commissioner and NAIC President hopes “this settlement will provide resolution to beneficiaries across the country and help safeguard the expectation of life insurance policyholders going forward.”

The agreement is expected to yield more than $400 million in unpaid benefits. The $40 million agreed settlement from MetLife will be divided among the participating states, including lead states California, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. Kentucky was also listed as one of the participating states in this settlement agreement.

If you have been unable to collect life insurance benefits you are entitled to received, contact Grabhorn Law for further assistance.

Source:   Twenty-Eight States Join MetLife Settlement Agreement – News Release – NAIC –