Harrisburg, PA - Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today announced her department has reached an agreement with three additional insurers, Protective Life, Allstate and Great West, bringing the total to 30 insurers that have settled the multi-state examinations of life insurance companies that were not paying death benefits properly in all cases.
“People who have lost a loved one are among the most vulnerable of consumers, and they should not have to worry whether the life insurance benefits they are due will be paid,” Altman said. “Pennsylvania’s being a lead state in the multi-state examination is a part of Governor Wolf’s commitment to protecting consumers, and a testament to the importance of interstate cooperation among state insurance agencies.” These multi-state examinations were conducted by the lead states of Pennsylvania (managing lead for Allstate, Great-West and Protective Life), California, Florida (managing lead for American Equity), New Hampshire and North Dakota (collectively known as the “Lead States”).
The on-going, multi-state examination of life insurance companies has resulted in companies entering settlement agreements requiring them to reform business practices. Some companies in the industry were making selective use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF), and instead of paying policy benefits upon a policyholder’s death, the companies were only terminating payment of annuity benefits. These companies have agreed now to properly use the DMF to identify potentially unpaid insurance benefits and locate beneficiaries.
In addition to the three life claim settlements agreements, a completed examination report with no violations has been issued to American Equity by the Lead States.
Since this investigation began in 2012, Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department has recovered $772.3 million for 34,706 consumers who were owed life insurance benefits. Nationally, the total restitution as of the end of March is $10.4 billion paid to 343,248 beneficiaries.
Consumers who have questions or concerns about a life insurance policy or whether benefits are being properly paid can contact the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau at www.insurance.pa.gov., or by calling toll-free 1-877-881-6388.
Pennsylvania is also part of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Life Policy Locator Program. This program allows consumers who believe a loved one had a life insurance policy that has been lost to have a database searched. If the consumer is named as a beneficiary on a policy that is located, the consumer will be notified.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman 717-787-3289
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