FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWENTY-EIGHT STATES JOIN METLIFE SETTLEMENT
Multi-State Investigation Leads to Changes in How Company
Handles Unclaimed Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2012) — Twenty-eight insurance
departments have joined a settlement agreement with Metropolitan Life
Insurance Company, reaching the required threshold of participating
jurisdictions. The agreement follows a multi-state investigation
coordinated through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
The $40 million settlement with the states was announced in April, after
the joint examination of MetLife's use of the Social Security Administration's
Death Master List to investigate the payment of life insurance benefits and
reporting of unclaimed property. The NAIC Investigations of Life and
Annuity Claims Settlement Practices Task Force, chaired by Florida
Insurance Commissioner Kevin M. McCarty, was formed in 2011.
"I am encouraged that other state regulatory officials have quickly
added their signatures to make the agreement official," said McCarty,
who is also NAIC President. "This settlement will provide resolution
to beneficiaries across the country and help safeguard the expectation of
life insurance policyholders going forward."
By the terms of the settlement, MetLife will 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 a beneficiary cannot be located within one year from the date of
the match, MetLife will report the funds as unclaimed property to the
appropriate state entity. The agreement could yield more than $400 million
in unpaid benefits.
"State regulators are dedicated to consumer protection and
state-based regulation, which oftentimes involves a multi-state network and
partnership," said Andrew Boron, Illinois Insurance Director.
"The Illinois Department opened the investigation, but it was through
the collaboration of the six lead states and with the support of other
state regulators that we were able to negotiate this outcome."
The $40 million settlement amount will be divided among the participating
jurisdictions. Lead states in the investigation are California, Florida,
Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. Other states
participating in the settlement include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona,
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and West
Additional jurisdictions have until June 29 to participate in the
UPDATE: As of June 22, 2012, 43 jurisdictions have signed on to the settlement agreement with MetLife. In addition to the jurisdictions listed above, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming have joined the settlement.