The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Life Insurance and Annuity Committee plans to reopen debate Friday over whether the NAIC should develop guidance aimed at ensuring what the industry calls “fair and uniform” practices in dealing with insurer compliance with unclaimed property laws.
The standing committee will take up the issue at the request of Nebraska Insurance Director Bruce Ramge. In a letter to the panel, Ramge said the NAIC should immediately begin a formal discussion on life insurers’ use of the Death Master File (DMF) or similar databases used for identifying unclaimed death benefits.
The letter has the support of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). It has been asking the NAIC to take up the issue for several months. Whit Cornman, a spokesman for the ACLI, said it agrees with Ramge’s request that the NAIC and interested parties begin “a dialogue on the issue.”
The issue came up, with ACLI support, at an Executive Committee conference call 10 days ago. But, after an hour of private talks to which an estimated 177 interested parties listening to the conference call were not privy to, the panel decided to delay adoption until 2014 a “charge” for the (A) committee to consider whether to provide guidance on the uniform use of the DMF for life insurers.
That means the status quo, enforcement actions by various state insurance commissioners and state treasurers will continue.
For example, earlier this week California Controller John Chiang filed a countersuit to a suit filed Oct. 30 by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The suits deal with a 14-month-long battle over what records Thrivent has to produce for Chiang regarding the records of its life insurance policyholders.
Chiang wants to determine whether Thrivent paid off claims on policies Thrivent issued to customers in California, or, in the alternative, turned over the proceeds to the state.