TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced today that a life claim settlement agreement has been reached with ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company (ING) and its affiliates.
The settlement with ING is the seventh life claim settlement agreement reached for Florida. These seven insurers represent approximately 40% of the market for life and annuity products. Nationally, the focus continues to be the examination of the 33 remaining top national life and annuity insurers. 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.
ING has represented that since 2002 it has cross checked its system with the DMF on a monthly basis to review certain annuities that were paying proceeds to owners or annuitants, in order to prevent overpayments and fraud, and to pay any remaining amounts due to beneficiaries. ING represents that it subsequently expanded its use of the DMF. As a result of the multistate examination by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and other insurance regulators, as well as the audit conducted on the part of the Florida Department of Financial Services and other controllers, ING has undergone further review of its utilization of the DMF. This agreement ensures that ING will use the DMF systematically and consistently with regards to its annuities and life business. This agreement also requires payment of $10.7 million to the participating states. Florida's share of the allocation is expected to be more than $500,000.
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 ING 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.
“ING has demonstrated leadership and a desire to improve the practices used in the life insurance industry. I commend them for signing a life claim settlement agreement and encourage the remaining insurance companies who have not signed one yet to do so, “stated Commissioner McCarty.
"This settlement is another victory in a series of victories for Florida families,” said CFO Atwater. “I am proud of the successful work we are doing to help consumers by making sure insurance companies meet their financial obligations and pay the money that rightfully belongs to their policyholders."
"Thanks to this settlement, ING has agreed to take the appropriate steps to identify and locate beneficiaries, and Floridians will now be paid the money they are owed," stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. "We will continue to demand accountability and high ethical standards from companies who do business in Florida."
As part of the agreement, ING agreed to:
· Compare all company records against the DMF Update File every month and against the Complete DMF file at least annually from the Agreement effective date.
· 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.
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.