By: Steven J. Schwartzapfel, Esq.
It seems that not a day goes by that some insurance company, drug manufacturer; bank or Fortune 500 company is involved in some type of fraud or corporate wrongdoing to line their pockets at the expense of consumers.
Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that more than $1 billion dollars is due and owing to consumers of life insurance policies which have been knowingly and wrongfully kept by insurance companies for decades. The heirs of hundreds of thousands of dollars of older people who bought life insurance policies as far back as the 1900’s have never received one cent.
What is most despicable is that these life insurance companies, including Met Life, used social security death databases to cut off retirement income checks to their annuity policyholders knowing that these people died but did not use the information to cross check to determine and pay their insured’s life insurance benefits.
Often elderly people of modest means, without lawyers or financial advisors, do not keep or lose track of their own financial affairs and their heirs do not know these life insurance policies were bought or are in effect.
Met Life was fined $40 million dollars. Although, concededly a lot of money, it’s a slap on the wrist when compared to the $1 billion dollars due and owing consumers.
The Attorney Generals of Florida, California, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania are to be applauded for their efforts in protecting the consumers of their states.