HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today announced her department has recovered $70,449,334 for 4,293 beneficiaries through the first six months of 2015, as Pennsylvania continues to serve as a lead state in several multi-state examinations of business practices in the life insurance industry.
"Governor Wolf and I are committed to protecting consumers and ensuring they receive the life insurance benefits they are due," said Teresa Miller. "The Department of Insurance will always work to hold companies to the highest standards of business practices that benefit policyholders and beneficiaries."
The examinations focus on the life insurance industry's selective use of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File (DMF). Examinations have shown while some companies used the DMF properly to identify beneficiaries when a policyholder died, other companies used the file to terminate the payment of annuity benefits, while failing to trigger the payment of life insurance policy benefits.
Most major insurance companies providing life insurance policies have now entered into settlement agreements to use the DMF to identify potentially unpaid insurance benefits and search for beneficiaries to whom benefits might be due.
Additionally, the Department of Insurance has witnessed many cases in which parents purchased life insurance policies when their children were young, paid these policies in full many years ago but may have not informed their children about them. If beneficiaries can't be located within three years, the money in these policies is transferred to the custody of the State Treasury's Bureau of Unclaimed Property, where it is held until the rightful owner, or his or her heirs, claims it.
Though never easy, Miller encourages families to discuss life insurance issues to reduce the chances of policyholders' wishes not being followed, and of beneficiaries not receiving the benefits they are due.
Consumers with insurance questions should visit www.insurance.pa.gov, and click on the Consumers tab, or call 1-877-881-6388.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman, Insurance Department, 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance