New York state insurance regulators are ordering life insurers to use the Social Security Death Master File to locate insureds who may have died and report on the effectiveness of the search.
“Essentially, the insurers are being asked to report on the effectiveness of their current procedures by using a reliable available list of deaths to identify the claims that should have been but were not paid,” according to officials at the New York State Insurance Department.
The New York department is sending the query in the form of a “308 letter” to all 172 life insurers and fraternal benefit societies licensed to do business in New York state.
Affected insurers and benefit societies must try to determine where benefits payments are due, locate beneficiaries, make payments, and report on the initial results by Sept. 30. The search program required by the query will apply to annuity contract holders and retained asset account holders as well as to life policy insureds, and it will continue for 6 months, officials say.
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A final report will be due March 31, 2012.
Insurers and benefit societies are legally required to respond to the 308 letter, and the reports are subject to audit, officials say.