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News: 2013 Press Release

For Release: January 17, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Obtains $1.7 Million in Settlement Payments in Death Master File Cases
Payments are a result of Death Master investigation

SACRAMENTO - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has received payments totaling $1.7 million from two additional insurance companies that have entered settlements with the Department as a result of its investigation into their use of the "Death Master" database.

"These settlements are another important step in our effort to reform industry practices regarding the use of the Social Security Death Master File database," said Commissioner Jones. "As other insurers have done, AIG and Nationwide Insurance Companies were found to have selectively used the Death Master File database to cut off payments to annuity holders, but did not use that database to identify deceased life insurance policyholders and pay their beneficiaries. These settlements end that practice. I strongly encourage other insurers to come forward and enter similar agreements. Insurers should pay policy proceeds to beneficiaries of deceased policyholders immediately after the insurers learn from the Death Master File that the policyholders have died."

Commissioner Jones deposited the $1.1 million from AIG Insurance Company, and $697,000 from Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company into California's General Fund as part of a multi-state settlement agreement. CDI also deposited $150,000 from each settlement payment into the insurance fund for reimbursement of costs associated with investigation and enforcement of the settlements.

Further information on this matter can be found in a previous release from October 11, 2012.

AIG's and Nationwide's Regulatory Settlement Agreements are available to the public for viewing.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.

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