John Hancock Statement on Settlement With State of Florida Regarding Abandoned Property

May 18, 2011, 14:35 ET from John Hancock Financial Services

BOSTON, May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's announcement by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation regarding our agreement on abandoned property represents a landmark for consumers—one that helps John Hancock maintain its place in the forefront of caring for our insureds and their beneficiaries. The new standards established by the Agreement are well beyond those required by law or regulation. Under the terms of the Agreement, John Hancock is taking additional steps to ensure that policyholders' beneficiaries are located, and if not, the funds are paid over as abandoned property to the state, which holds the funds until claimed by the true owner.

This Agreement is consistent with John Hancock's longstanding commitment to keeping our promises to owners and beneficiaries of our products. Over the past five years alone, John Hancock has paid out death benefits in excess of $800 million on life insurance policies owned by Floridians.

In addition to its Agreement with Florida, John Hancock has signed a Global Resolution Agreement ("GRA") with Verus, a contract auditor helping states find beneficiaries and abandoned property. Verus represents approximately 35 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia. The GRA will take effect on June 1, 2011 in those states that approve it. To date, approximately 29 states have done so. The GRA includes an extensive plan and timetable to identify abandoned property, conduct due diligence, and report and remit the property to states in those instances where the owner cannot be located.  Further, the GRA includes a set of prospective business practices, applicable to all states, which are beyond what current law requires relating to abandoned property.

We would like to recognize the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation ("OIR"), the Department of Financial Services' ("DFS") Bureau of Unclaimed Property, and the Florida Attorney General for working with us to forge a set of new standards that John Hancock will extend beyond Florida's borders and that will benefit our customers in all states. Florida took a leadership role, working hard with John Hancock on the settlement that led to the GRA, and deserves to be recognized for the unique role it played for the benefit of consumers across the U.S., as well as insurance regulators and unclaimed property departments in other states.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, Manulife Financial Corporation offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were $478 billion (US$492 billion) as at March 31, 2011. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, fixed and variable annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at

SOURCE John Hancock Financial Services