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New York Fines Insurer

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Empire State regulators have imposed a $1.9 million fine on a financial services company in connection with allegations of annuity replacement disclosure violations and other violations.

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, New York, a unit of AXA S.A., Paris, paid the fine to the New York State Insurance Department, department officials say.

The department announcement “relates to a standard examination, begun 4 years ago, which found no consumer harm,” an AXA Equitable spokesman says. “We’re pleased to put it behind us.”

Department officials discovered evidence of the alleged violations, which officials say occurred from Jan. 1, 2001, to June 30, 2006, during a routine examination, officials say.

The department received no complaints about AXA Equitable during that period, officials say.

In New York, Regulation 60 requires companies to give consumers disclosure statements in cases when sales of new policies will cause buyers to surrender, lapse, or in any way change the status of existing policies.

Insurers must give insureds complete and accurate comparative information about significant features of the replaced and replacing policies or annuity contracts, officials say.

From Jan. 1, 2001, through Dec. 31, 2005, AXA Equitable also used an unapproved policy form; failing to give policyholders required information concerning accelerated benefit claims; failed to obtain written informed consent prior to subjecting applicants to HIV-related testing; and failed to maintain some variable annuity claim documentation, officials say.


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