The thieving companies to avoid like the plague? The article below named: AIG, HARTFORD, JOHN HANCOCK, MET LIFE, PRUDENTIAL, TRANSAMERICA, and TIAA-CREF. That's just 7 of the 11, but it's my opinion that it's safe to say that probably every insurance company is guilty of doing the same thing, stealing from those that trusted them, after they died.
Dead Being Billed for Life Insurance
By ALAN FARNHAM | Good Morning America – Sat, Jun 22, 2013 9:39 AM EDT
"the nation's leading insurance companies continued billing customers for life insurance long after they were dead.
The companies--including such household names as AIG, Hartford, John Hancock, Met Life, Prudential, Transamerica and TIAA-CREF-- have agreed to a multi-state settlement under which they will repay some $763 million owed the heirs of the deceased.
Prime mover in the settlement has been Controller John Chiang of the State of California, whose citizens stand to get back as much as $87 million from 11 insurers. (emphasis mine)California law requires a life insurer to pay death benefits to heirs within three years after the demise of the policyholder.
To keep tabs on which holders are alive and which are dead, insurers keep a so-called Death Master file, based on Social Security data. When a death is recorded in the file, insurers know not to expect payment of any further premiums. Most policies, however, put the onus on the beneficiary to file a claim for benefits, after the policy holder's death. Absent the filing of a claim, says Chiang's office, the insurer, prior to the settlement, could legally continue to draw down the policy's cash reserves, continuing to collect premium payments from the dead.
"Once the cash reserves were depleted," says a statement by Chiang's office, "The company would cancel the policy."
Audits by California found that insurers did not routinely cross-check the owners of dormant accounts with government databases listing the deceased. "In other cases," says Chiang's office, "companies had direct knowledge of the policy owner's death, but still did not notify the beneficiaries."The 11 companies, as part of their settlement, admit no wrongdoing
The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), in a related statement, said it was pleased to have reached an agreement with California that "will result in greater numbers of beneficiaries receiving their life insurance benefits, and prompt escheating of funds to the states when heirs cannot be found.
You can visit missingmoney.com, a website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, to search records from 38 states and Canadian provinces."