By Arthur D. Postal
WASHINGTON – Guardian Life and Pacific Life have become the latest life insurers to settle with state regulators over unclaimed property related to their use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) database.
As part of the settlements, Guardian Life will pay $2 million to the states participating in the national investigation of life insurers and Pacific Life will pay $2.45 million.
To date, 18 life insurers have agreed to reforms in using the DMF database to search for deceased policyholders and make benefit payments, according to statements from the California Department of Insurance and Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).
Both insurers have agreed to reform their business practices and use the database to search for beneficiaries that might be owed benefits from a life insurance policy, according to statements from the two states’ insurance agencies.
The departments said this brings to 18 the number of life insurance companies who have negotiated settlements over alleged violations of unclaimed property statutes. The Florida OIR said this constitutes two-thirds of the life insurance industry.
The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), of which the OIR is a part, said that, to date, more than $1 billion has been returned to beneficiaries nationwide. Another $1.7 billion has been returned to the states’ unclaimed property bureaus, which continue efforts to locate and pay beneficiaries.
InsuranceNewsNet Washington Bureau Chief Arthur D. Postal has covered regulatory and legislative issues for more than 30 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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