HARRISBURG, Pa., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is among six lead states that today announced a settlement with MetLife, Inc. and some of its subsidiaries that will make it easier for consumers to learn if they are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
"Our multi-state exam revealed concerns with MetLife's practices in the payment of death benefits to the beneficiaries of life insurance policies," Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine said. "MetLife's settlement with insurance regulators focuses on changing its business practices to better locate beneficiaries. This will provide consumers with even greater protections.
"One of the top consumer questions we receive is how to determine if a deceased loved one had a life insurance policy. Since it can sometimes be difficult for consumers to locate this type of information, it is necessary that companies do as much as they can to find beneficiaries. We are pleased that MetLife will now be implementing systematic and timely procedures to identify beneficiaries."
Under the agreement, MetLife will use the Social Security Administration's Death Master File on a uniform basis for locating beneficiaries and making payments to them. The multi-state settlement also requires MetLife to pay a total of $40 million to states participating in the agreement. This settlement is another important step by the life insurance industry to change a long-standing practice to one that provides greater consumer protection.
"With this agreement, we now have two of the nation's largest life insurance companies agreeing to implement more robust and consumer focused business reforms," Consedine added, noting that a similar agreement was reached with Prudential in February. "This positive result was achieved by a coordinated effort among state insurance regulators across the country."
Today's agreement has been signed by California, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania; and will become effective with the signature of 14 additional states.
To see a copy of the settlement agreement, visit www.insurance.pa.gov and click on "consumer protection." Consumers with life insurance questions should call the department's toll-free number, 1-877-881-6388.
Media contacts: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department