Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MetLife Announces Multi-State Examination Settlement

Today, we break from one long-running unclaimed property story (the New Jersey gift card legislation) and return to another (the multi-state examination of life insurers' death benefit settlement practices).  MetLife issued a press release yesterday, announcing that it was adopting "new processes" to govern the handling of claims that do not arise "in the normal course of business."  Note: the reference to "normal course of business" refers to the fact the policies that were the subject of the examination were those wherein the insured died, but no claim was made on the policy.  See here for a primer.

In any event, the press release announces that as part of these new processes, MetLife will:
  • "periodic[ally] match . . . administrative records against available external sources such as the Social Security Death Master File";
     
  •  attempt to contact many of its older (over age 90) policyholders; and
  • implement a new online system to make it easier for beneficiaries to find policies.
While the press release does not break down the specific financial terms of settlements with state agencies, it does provide that MetLife is taking a  "$52 million post-tax charge representing a multi-state examination payment . . . as well as the expected acceleration of benefit payments to policyholders under the settlement."

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