WASHINGTON—The New York Department of Financial Services has issued guidance as to how the 172 insurance companies in the state should provide data to the DFS regarding their handling of unclaimed insurance policies and annuities.
The initial reports are due Oct. 31.
The detailed reports were requested by the state Insurance Department, now the DFS, on July 5 as part of a probe by insurance departments and treasurer’s offices nationwide as to so-called “asymmetrical handling” of policy claims.
The probe deals with allegations that insurance companies used the Social Security death master file to cut off beneficiaries of annuities immediately in cases where the beneficiary died but the family did not notify the insurance company.
At the same time, investigators found, in many cases companies did not use the file in the same manner to determine if the holder of a life insurance policy had died and therefore make efforts to find the beneficiaries.
The DFS is also expected to make public today guidance as to how the comprehensive data should be transmitted securely to the department, a DFS spokesman confirmed.
Lawyers for several insurers involved in the probe said the new guidance is designed to ensure that there will be a secure portal that can accept the filings and how companies can be assured that the remains confidential once filed.
One lawyer said he is telling companies they should add the appropriate FOIA disclosures.