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Regulators Probe Insurers' Neglect
In Informing Survivors of Benefits

State regulators are investigating whether life-insurance companies for decades have profited by neglecting to alert unsuspecting beneficiaries about death benefits owed to them.

Among the life insurers already under review are MetLife Inc. and Prudential Insurance Co. of America, the nation's two largest, and several companies based in Illinois and the South, officials familiar with the inquiries said, adding that dozens more are likely to be added to the list.


If no claim is filed on a life-insurance policy, companies are required to turn over, or "escheat," the death benefits as unclaimed property to the state in which the policyholder lived. But in general, companies are required to do so only once the presumed age of the policyholder reaches the end of the mortality table, which on many policies is when the individual would have been 99 years old. So if a policyholder had actually died at, say, age 65, the company would have had use of the funds for an extra 34 years.

For full story see link: (Wall Street Journal subscribers only)

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