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Bureau of Insurance Signs Additional Multi-State Settlements with Life Insurance Companies Over Bad Practices

September 25, 2019
Professional & Financial Regulation - Insurance

Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa announced that the State had entered into settlements with three additional insurance companies. The settlements are part of an ongoing national effort to bring life insurance companies in-line with their duty to pay out benefits to policyholders they know - or should know - have died.

Since 2012, through a multi-state effort to examine the practices of life insurance companies across the country, the Maine Bureau of Insurance has recovered $47,691,274 on behalf of 1,913 consumers. More than $10.4 billion has been recovered nationally. The lead states have included California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and North Dakota.

In addition, Maine and other states have coordinated with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to connect potential beneficiaries with life insurance and annuity benefits that they are due, through the NAIC's Life Insurance Policy Locator tool. Since November 2016, 164 Mainers have been matched to policies totaling more than $1.3 million, and nationally, nearly 25,000 consumers have been matched with policies totaling $368 million.

"Protecting consumers of insurance products and ensuring that their benefits and investments are there for them when they need them is at the heart of what we do at the Bureau of Insurance," said Cioppa.

In addition to requiring collective payouts to the States, the settlements with the life insurance companies include agreements that the companies regularly check the Social Security Administration's Death Master File, and upon learning of a policyholders death use all resources available to contact the rightful beneficiaries. When beneficiaries can't be found, the companies are bound to turn the proceeds over to the states, as required by state unclaimed property laws.

The companies are also subject to three years of quarterly reports to the lead states, and a final examination at year five, to document compliance with the terms of the settlements.

The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Consumers can reach the Bureau at insurance.pfr@maine.gov; by calling 800-300-5000 (TTY use Maine Relay 711); or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.