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Aviva and Midland in unclaimed property deals

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Aviva Life Insurance Co., along with Midland National Life Insurance Company and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, two components of Midland, have reached settlements with various state regulators regarding their unclaimed property practices.

In Aviva’s case, the agreement was a prelude to the company’s sale to a Bermuda-based holding company which then divided the company into separate life and annuity businesses.

The agreements over claims settlement practices was another sign that insurance regulators examining unclaimed property practices of insurance companies have completed agreements with the major players in the industry and are moving on to deal with small and medium-sized companies.

Aviva Life & Annuity Company and Aviva Life & Annuity Company of New York paid $4 million to the states in fines and agreed to use the Social Security Death Master File (DMF) on a regular basis as a way of complying with state unclaimed property laws.

Its settlement was announced last week by the Illinois Department of Insurance. Florida, California, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Dakota and Pennsylvania were also parties to the settlement.

Midland’s settlement was announced today by Florida. It paid $3.3 million to settle with Florida, California, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. Illinois was again the managing state.

The two companies involved are Midland National Life Insurance Company, Sioux Falls, S.D., and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, West Des Moines, Ia. Collectively, they are referred to as “Midland.” They are part of the Sammons Financial Group.

After the settlement with Aviva was negotiated, Athene Holding Ltd. announced it had completed the acquisition of Aviva for $1.5 billion.

In connection with the acquisition, Athene sold Aviva’s life insurance business to Presidential Life Insurance Company – USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Commonwealth Annuity and Life Insurance Co. and part of the Global Atlantic Financial Group, based in Bermuda, according to Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron.

Aviva USA has been renamed Athene USA, which is the parent for Athene’s U.S operations and is now headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Athene Holding is owned by several institutional investors, with its largest shareholder being AP Alternative Assets, L.P. (Euronext: AAA), a closed-end, publicly traded permanent capital vehicle managed by Apollo Global Management, LLC, a leading alternative investment manager.

People familiar with the transaction said Athene completed the acquisition fully aware that a settlement on unclaimed property issues with state regulators was in the works, and that the settlement was “in line with industry standards.” The sources would not comment further.

Simultaneously with Commonwealth’s acquisition of the common stock of PLIC-USA from Athene, PLIC-USA and First Allmerica Financial Life Insurance Company (“FAFLIC”) will together reinsure all of the life insurance business of Aviva in a bulk reinsurance transaction, Boron said.

The transition from dealing with the top tier insurance companies that do business in most states to smaller companies has not been smooth. For example, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the John Chiang, the California comptroller, have filed countersuits against each other about the scope of the records Thrivent must supply to Chiang’s office in order for an outside vendor to determine if Thrivent is complying with California laws dealing with unclaimed property. And, a judge in Sacramento in early October ordered American National Insurance Company (ANICO) to turn over all its data regarding life insurance contracts to a vendor retained by Chiang so the vendor can determine if ANICO is complying with California unclaimed property laws.


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