According to Bloomberg News, life insurance companies could be keeping over $1 billion in unclaimed life insurance benefits owed to policyholders, beneficiaries or states.
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, who provided the estimate, said it was a "conservative number," in a meeting with reporters during a break in a recent hearing in Tallahassee.
"We want to ensure that insurance companies use as much effort to find and pay benefits as they do to find and collect premiums," McCarty added.
One of the questions is whether life insurance companies use Social Security Administration death records to identify life insurance policyholders who have died in the same way that they use these records to stop annuity payments.
Officials from MetLife and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. were subpoenaed to appear at a hearing by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to explain how they determine when policyholders have died. John Hancock, a unit of Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corp., settled with Florida over similar issues.