Nationwide reaches agreement with Florida over life insurance payments

Oct 11, 2012

The following article was published in The Palm Beach Post on October 11, 2012:

Nationwide reaches agreement with Florida over life insurance payments

By Charles Elmore

Insurer Nationwide reached an agreement with Florida and other states over life insurance payments, regulators said Thursday.

More than $144 million has already been returned to customers in 4,747 unclaimed benefit cases since states began investigating whether Nationwide companies followed proper procedures when people died but beneficiaries could not be reached, officials said.

Nationwide agreed to put in a place a process to pay beneficiaries or notify the state’s unclaimed property division when a person dies, a statement from Florida officials said. The company also agreed to pay $7 million to the states.

“This agreement demonstrates our joint commitment to reach national settlement agreements with life insurance companies to pay benefits rightfully owed to policy beneficiaries,” Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said in a statement. “This is about returning money to consumers – but more importantly, the industry is changing its practices to create future safeguards to make sure beneficiaries are paid benefits to which they are entitled.”

The agreement follows similar settlements with MetLife, Prudential and John Hancock. Other lead states include California, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“After fully cooperating in this process, we look forward to fulfilling the terms of this agreement and moving forward with this matter resolved,” said Nationwide company spokesman Mike Switzer. “Nationwide remains committed to finding beneficiaries and pays out approximately one billion dollars annually in life and annuity payments.”

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