Metropolitan Life Insurance Company agreed to pay forty million dollars to settle a multi-state probe of its alleged mishandling of insurance policy death benefits. The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303592404577361983469311186.html) reports that the deal could lead to more than four hundred million dollars in payments to the heirs of certain life insurance policyholders, who were allegedly not notified of the policyholder deaths. Under the terms of the agreement, MetLife has agreed to cross-check its life insurance policyholder records against death databases on a monthly basis in a number of states in order to determine if any death benefits are due.
Various state officials have expressed concerns relative to industry-wide abuse involving insurance companies who fail to exercise sufficient due diligence to locate survivors of policyholders. This has resulted in insurance companies keeping millions of dollars of death benefit payments, which would otherwise have been paid out to survivors and beneficiaries. This multi-state agreement is the largest one so far reached with state regulators, treasurers, comptrollers, and several State Attorneys General. Insurance regulators have estimated that more than one billion dollars in death benefits remain unclaimed.
The settlement includes many small policies dating as far back as the early 1900’s, sold by neighborhood life insurance agents. The MetLife settlement included the participation and cooperation of the Insurance Departments from the states of Florida, California, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.
The Law Offices of Timothy J. O’Connor is one of the only law firms practicing securities law in the Tri-City Capital District of Albany, Schenectady and Troy. We also represent victimized investors throughout the rest of New York State, including Buffalo, Binghamton, Syracuse, Watertown, Utica, Kingston, New York City/Manhattan, Long Island, and everywhere in between, as well as in the surrounding states of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey.