NU Online News Service, Jan. 10, 4:49 p.m. – Regulators are looking at many life insurance companies, not just ING Life Insurance Company of Georgia, Atlanta, for evidence of race-based life insurance pricing and marketing practices.
Texas Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor heads a group of regulators at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., that is looking into the race-based insurance sales issue.
Investigators have completed and “finalized” exams of two companies; according to Bill Goodman, an official with the Texas department.
Investigators have also completed exams of nine companies without finalizing them; started exams of 13 companies; planned exams for 29 companies; and begun initial or preliminary reviews of 22 companies, Goodman says.
So far, investigators have cleared or negotiated settlements with 17 companies throughout the United States, Goodman says.
The majority of the companies involved are small, one-state companies, Goodman adds.
Goodman compares the search for race-based sales to “insurance archeology.”
Researchers are spending thousands of hours digging through records, conducting interviews, looking for overt discrimination in application language, and comparing blocks of business, Goodman reports.
Meanwhile, a Life of Georgia spokesman says it is premature to comment on press reports that the company is close to reaching a $45 million to $65 million settlement on the race-based pricing issue.
But Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine says only one or two minor points stand in the way of reaching a settlement. “The Christmas package is wrapped, but the ribbon is not on top,” according to Oxendine.
The ribbon might appear within the next two weeks, Oxendine says.
A settlement will include restitution and administrative fines that amount to millions of dollars, Oxendine says.