NU Online News Service, Dec. 16, 2004, 6:22 p.m. EST

A Minneapolis fraternal insurer has agreed to settle a class-action suit involving the sale of interest-sensitive life insurance policies.[@@]

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Minneapolis, says a settlement agreement has received preliminary approval from the U.S. District Court in Minnesota.

Thrivent was formed in 2002 from the merger of Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood.

The class-action suit, which was filed against Lutheran Brotherhood in 1999, accused Lutheran Brotherhood of misrepresenting whole life and universal life policies sold between 1982 and the early 1990s, when interest rates were high.

When rates fell, some policyholders ended up having to pay more premiums than they had expected.

Thrivent and the plaintiffs are not disclosing how much Thrivent expects to pay to class members, but the U.S. District Court states in an order granting preliminary approval to the agreement that Lutheran Brotherhood and Thrivent have met ethical standards in the sale and maintenance of insurance products, Thrivent says.

Members of the class should get an official settlement notice in early 2005, Thrivent says.