November 18, 2013

Department of Insurance settlement with New York Life protects Missourians with life insurance

Company will pay $179,916 to Missouri under multistate settlement, make business reforms to benefit policyholders and beneficiaries

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance has reached a settlement with New York Life, one of the nation's largest insurance companies, after an examination into the handling of life insurance and annuity benefits. Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff today announced that as part of a multistate settlement, Missouri will receive $179,916.

The settlement was reached after a multistate market-conduct examination reviewed how New York Life 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, New York Life's policyholders can be assured the company will do everything it can to timely locate beneficiaries and pay life insurance claims."

The settlement includes New York Life Insurance Company, New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation and NY Life Insurance Company of Arizona.

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.

Last month, the department announced a $360,216 settlement with Transamerica Life Co. for similar practices. In 2012, the department reached settlements with Prudential for $224,081 and MetLife for $729,503.

Since the beginning of 2009, the Department of Insurance's Market Conduct Section has recovered more than $17 million in refunds and fines.

The Department of Insurance also offers a Life Policy Locator service that helps 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 wanting to use the Life Policy Locator service, or who have 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