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Washington State Updates Juvenile Life Rules

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Regulators in a Northwestern state want insurers to do more to try to detect cases of applicants buying juvenile life insurance for speculative or fraudulent reasons.

In the past, insurers issuing of juvenile life insurance in Washington state had to determine only whether and to what extent the beneficiary or applicant depended on the juvenile for income or other support, and the value of life insurance or accidental death benefits insuring other siblings or immediate family members.

Now, the insurer must be able to explain why it issued the amount of coverage it issued.

If the death benefit is less than $50,000 and issued without underwriting, the insurer must be able to show it took “reasonable steps to determine the total amount of insurance in-force on the life of the juvenile at the date of application,” according to the text of the new Washington state juvenile life regulation.

An insurer could show it took reasonable steps by documenting that it checked national databases for information about other in-force policies.

Insurers also are supposed to amend applications and endorsements to that that a policy “may be void or reduced when a claim is submitted if the total amount of life insurance in-force from all sources exceeds the underwriting limits established for issuance of this policy on the life of a juvenile.”

The warning “must be printed in bold face type of at least 12-point font,” according to the text of the new regulation.