Oregon regulators have slapped Bankers Life with the penalty regarding mishandling of claims.
State regulators in Oregon have handed Bankers Life and Casualty Co. a massive fine of $115,000 because the long term care insurance company had been mishandling claims that were being filed by disabled and elderly policyholders.
The fine was issued after the insurer had been found to have made dozens of violations to the regulations in the state.
According to Laura Cali, the Commissioner in Oregon, “I think we’ve made it very clear to them that this conduct is not acceptable.” She made this statement in an interview that was conducted following the public announcement of the penalty for the long term care insurance company. Cali also added that “They have a duty both under their contracts and under the law to treat their policyholders fairly.”
The long term care insurance company is based in Carmel, Indiana and is owned by CNO Financial Group.
At the time of the writing of this article, CNO Financial Group had not been immediately responding to comment requests. The action that was taken in Oregon was, in part the response of the state to an April federal lawsuit that had been filed and which was seeking class action status on behalf of the contract owners for that coverage from Banker’s Life. According to Cali, that lawsuit accused the insurer of denying and delaying claims to the point that it became elder abuse.
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Cali explained that when the state regulator became aware that the issue was possibly out there – because of the lawsuit filing – they felt that it was important to look into the size and nature of these complaints. Upon investigating the case, “We needed to take some action.”
This is the second largest fine that the agency has ever issued on its own (as opposed to a multi-state fine). The largest was also slapped against the same long term care insurance company. In 2008, Banker’s Life was required to pay $150,000 for selling unsuitable annuities to residents of the state. That said, Oregon has taken part in penalties that were larger, but that involved several states.