TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced today that a multi-state, multi-agency life claim settlement agreement has been reached with TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company (TIAA) and its affiliates.
This settlement with TIAA marks the sixth life claim settlement for Florida and these six insurers represent more than 36% of the market for life and annuity products. Nationally, the focus continues to be the examination of the 34 remaining top national life and annuity insurers.
Specifically, the settlements focus on the insurers’ appropriate use of the U.S. Social Security Death Master File (DMF) to locate beneficiaries and then promptly remit payment to the unclaimed property division of each state for beneficiaries that cannot be located. TIAA has represented that a year prior to the start of the multi-state examination, they cross checked their system with the DMF and have already returned more than $10 million to beneficiaries located as a result of this process. This agreement also requires payment of $6.2 million to the participating states with Florida’s share of the allocation expected to be more than $304,000.
The multistate examination process is guided and coordinated by the Life/Annuities Claim Settlement Practices Task Force, established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2011 and chaired by Commissioner McCarty. Florida, California, Illinois, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania serve as lead states for examinations.
This agreement is between TIAA-CREF and the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), overseen by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, the Florida Office of the Attorney General (AG), overseen by Attorney General Pam Bondi, and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) and the other lead states.
“Several of the major life insurers in the country, and now TIAA-CREF, have demonstrated industry leadership in the effort to revise practices in the life insurance industry. These companies have agreed to actively look for beneficiaries of dormant policies, to pay their claims to beneficiaries if they can be found and, if not, to pay to unclaimed property units as required by law. We are optimistic that the remaining insurance companies which have not yet signed similar agreements will decide to do so,” stated Commissioner McCarty. “The credibility of the life insurance industry is a valuable asset that took years to build. People must be confident that their intended beneficiaries will receive the benefit of their purchases or they will not continue to buy life insurance policies.”
"This settlement is another win for Florida's consumers," CFO Atwater said. "I will continue to fight this underhanded practice by insurance companies until every company does right by the Floridians they serve."
"This settlement includes requirements that TIAA-CREF complete its due diligence in locating life insurance beneficiaries and paying them the money that they are owed in a timely manner," stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. "I am pleased that the company has taken the appropriate steps to honor its obligations to policyholders and the State of Florida."
As part of the agreement, TIAA agreed to:
· Perform comparisons of all insureds in its company records against the complete DMF within 12 months from the Agreement effective date, and continue this practice on a monthly basis.
· Provide the lead states quarterly reports about the implementation and execution of the requirements of the Agreement for 36 months following its conclusion.
· Allow the lead states to conduct a follow-up examination to determine compliance 39 months following the conclusion of this Agreement.
For more information about this issue and consumer contact information, visit the Office’s Life Claims Settlement Practices website page.
To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-3089.
About the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about the Office, please visit www.floir.com or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm.