California life insurer’s under investigation

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Dave Jones and John ChiangTen of California’s largest life insurance companies have come under investigation by state regulators for their handling of dormant policies. The ten are the latest in a sleuth of insurance companies nationwide that have been accused of withholding benefits from a policyholder’s family upon their death. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, along with State Controller John Chiang, will be leading the investigation.

“The goal is to determine whether the insurance industry has engaged in unfair practices,” says Jones. The state’s probes uncovered some troubling information throughout the state, much of which was linked to the companies in question. The specific details of these findings are unclear, but they were enough to spur state regulators to action.

Jones announced the investigation only a day after meeting with MetLife executives. In the meeting, Jones asked how the insurer works with the Social Security Administration’s death master file to track the deceased. MetLife is among the companies that are currently being investigated.

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John Hancock, another big name life insurance company, is also being investigated in California. However, the company has already reached a settlement agreement with the state valued at more than $20 million. The insurer has also entered into similar agreements with Florida and Louisiana.

The ten insurers being investigated are Prudential Insurance, Nationwide Life Insurance, Hartford Financial Services, Sun Life Financial, Metropolitan Life Insurance, New York Life Insurance, Pacific Life Insurance, John Hancock Life Insurance, The Lincoln National Life Insurance, and the Aegon Group.

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