October 15, 2013

Department of Insurance settlement with Transamerica Life Insurance Co. protects Missourians with life insurance

Companies will pay $360,216 to Missouri

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance has reached a settlement with one of the nation's largest insurance companies after a multistate examination into the handling of life insurance and annuity benefits. Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff today announced that Missouri is part of an $11.2 million multistate settlement. Missouri's share is $360,216.

The settlement was reached after a multistate market conduct examination reviewed how Transamerica Life Insurance Co. and some of its subsidiaries identified and then paid beneficiaries of life insurance policies and annuities.

"When consumers pay life insurance premiums, often for decades, they do so to protect their loved ones," Huff said. "With this agreement, Transamerica's policyholders can be assured the company will do everything it can to timely locate beneficiaries and pay life insurance claims."

The settlement includes Transamerica Life Insurance Co., Transamerica Advisors Life Insurance Co., Transamerica Advisors Life Insurance Co. of New York, Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Co., Monumental Life Insurance Co., Stonebridge Life Insurance Co. and Western Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio.

The companies are required to implement business reforms that will promote a timely and efficient search for beneficiaries by using the Social Security Death Master File to match the names of its insureds and annuitants against the death master files.

In 2012 the department reached settlements with Prudential for $224,081 and MetLife for $729,503 for similar practices.

Since the beginning of 2009, the Department of Insurance's Market Conduct Section has recovered more than $16 million in refunds and fines.

The Department of Insurance also offers a Life Policy Locator service that will help consumers find lost life insurance policies or annuity contracts purchased in Missouri. Consumers can submit a form to the department, which triggers a search for policies of deceased loved ones from licensed life insurers in Missouri. If a policy is located, the insurance company will notify beneficiaries.

Consumers with complaints about life and other types of insurance, as well as general questions, can call the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.