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Monday
Dec 22nd

Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announces $14 Million settlement with Prudential on unclaimed death benefits

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Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman signed a Resolution and Regulatory Settlement Agreement with Prudential Insurance Company today to ensure payment of due and payable proceeds from life insurance policies, annuity contracts, and retained asset accounts to Minnesota beneficiaries, and strengthened procedures to make sure policy holders and beneficiaries receive the unclaimed proceeds from these policies and contracts in a timely manner in the future.

"Consumers purchase life insurance policies to ensure that their loved ones have some financial security upon their passing and trust that the money will reach their beneficiaries," said Commissioner Mike Rothman. "Today, the Department of Commerce and Prudential agreed on how the company should put in place the safeguards to ensure the life insurance funds reach their rightful owner."

The Settlement Agreement is the result of a targeted examination conducted by the Commerce Department, which focused on Prudential's handling of life insurance policies, annuities, and retained asset accounts – in particular, the accuracy and availability of contact information to identify policyholders and their beneficiaries.  Electing to conduct its own examination, the Department did not join a multi-state agreement negotiated with other states nationally.

The Commerce Department's examination determined that there were many policies where policyholders had died but no claims had been made, revealing Prudential's inability to identify and contact policyholders or their beneficiaries upon the determination of a death. This practice prevented timely payment of policies to their rightful owners. 

The Settlement requires Prudential to review their records and information for Minnesota-related policies during a look-back period to 1986, and in the future, to ensure that company records include accurate Social Security numbers and birth dates to identify deceased policyholders and ultimately connect beneficiaries with their money.  Additionally, the Settlement details other consumer protection, including: enhanced procedures to find beneficiaries when policyholders have died; improved customer-service assistance in making a claim; and compliance with Minnesota's claim handling and unclaimed property laws if Prudential is unable to identify or locate policyholders or beneficiaries in a timely manner.

Prudential's Minnesota customers will benefit from the Commerce Department's Settlement and will see changes in business practices to correctly and expeditiously identify policies that need to be paid out. The Department is focused on reuniting Minnesotans with their rightfully owed money. 

Prudential has identified up to approximately $13 million between 1986 and 2010 that may be owed and returned to Minnesotans in the form of policy proceeds.  These proceeds will be paid either directly to the beneficiaries or to the state as unclaimed property if the beneficiaries cannot be located. These new policies and procedures require Prudential to identify a decedent and take affirmative steps to pay out benefits, rather than relying solely on family members or beneficiaries who may be unaware that life insurance policies or annuities exist.

The Settlement also includes a $1 million settlement payment to the state.

Prudential worked cooperatively with the Department during the examination in finding internal solutions to the issues involving the location of beneficiaries and enhancing compliance with Minnesota claim statutes. The first step of this Settlement requires Prudential to clean up the company data, and proactively work to reunite beneficiaries with policy and contract proceeds. 

What should I do if I believe I have a Prudential policy?
If you think you are a beneficiary of a Prudential policy, or a loved one has died and you think they were insured under a Prudential policy, a toll-free number has been set-up at (888) 850-9991 to receive assistance from Prudential in claiming a policy.

How can I avoid missing out on money I am rightfully owed?
Talk to your loved ones about any insurance policies they may have, learn who the beneficiary is listed on the policies, and contact the agent or company if you have questions.

How can I avoid a delayed payment or non-payment of insurance proceeds owed on my policies?
Make sure your insurance company has your most up-to-date information.  This includes: current address, social security number, and date of birth.  Check with your insurance company to make sure they have updated beneficiary information for each policy.
 

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