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BISMARCK, N.D. – Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread today announced the North Dakota Insurance Department has reached a $1.5 million multi-state life insurance agreement with Ameriprise regarding its use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF). The agreement comes as a result of a coordinated multi-state examination among state insurance departments in North Dakota, California, Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. North Dakota will receive nearly $40,000.
“As a result of this examination, Ameriprise has agreed to do the right thing in improving the way it locates and identifies beneficiaries,” Godfread said. “Locating life insurance beneficiaries is a crucial part of this business. The Department will continue to collaborate with other states from across the nation to investigate life insurers’ use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File and protect North Dakotans from this kind of potential misconduct.”
Life insurers have used the DMF for many years to search for and stop payments to annuity holders, but have not used the database to identify deceased life insurance policyholders to pay beneficiaries. Under the terms of the settlement, Ameriprise will implement a number of business reforms to promptly identify when a policyholder has died using the DMF to search for deceased policyholders in a uniform and timely way and make payments to their beneficiaries.
In an effort to reunite policy owners and beneficiaries with life insurance policies and annuity contracts, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) created its Life Insurance Policy Locator application. The application is a free service intended to be an easy-to-use tool to help insurance consumers find lost or forgotten life insurance policies and annuity contracts. Visit the Department’s website at www.nd.gov/ndins/ to get started using the Life Insurance Policy Locator.
To date, state insurance regulators have either reached settlements or concluded the investigation of 28 of the top 40 companies constituting 80 percent of the total life insurance market, based on market share. Efforts continue to be focused on the examination of the remaining 12 insurers: Northwestern Mutual, Great West, Protective Life, American Equity, State Farm, Aflac, Principle Financial, Allstate, Western Southern, OneAmerica, Ohio National, and American National. The top 40 insurers are based on the 2010 NAIC Annual Reports for Direct Life, Annuity and Other Considerations.
The Department has been part of 27 multi-state settlements with insurance companies regarding life insurance practices and to date has received almost $3 million.

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