Pennsylvania Protects Life Insurance Beneficiaries in Settlement with John Hancock

Nov 16, 2012, 14:22 ET from Pennsylvania Insurance Department

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Insurance Department today announced that it has concluded the fifth in a series of multi-state settlement agreements involving the claim settlement practices of life insurance companies.

"Like the companies before them, our investigation showed that John Hancock has been lax in using available information to identify policyholders who have died, and then paying their beneficiaries," Commissioner Michael Consedine said. "By agreeing to change their business practices, John Hancock will be better equipped to locate beneficiaries of life policies and will fulfill their promise of protection to consumers."

Under the terms of the settlement, John Hancock will use the Social Security Administration's Death Master File on a uniform basis to search for deceased policyholders and make payments to their beneficiaries.  Pennsylvania was among the lead states in negotiating this settlement, which also requires John Hancock to pay a total of $13.3 million to be shared among those states participating in the settlement agreement. 

John Hancock joins AIG, Nationwide, MetLife and Prudential in reaching national agreements through the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's Task Force, which was formed to change the way that life insurance companies handle claims. These companies will now proactively search for deceased policyholders and their beneficiaries, and must regularly report their compliance to regulators.

To see a copy of the John Hancock settlement agreement, visit and click on the "consumer protection" tab.

Consumers with life insurance questions should call the department's toll free number at 877-881-6388. If an insurance company has been acquired by another, the department can also help beneficiaries track down the company.

Media contact: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, 717-787-3289

SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department