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CA Department of Insurance

TIAA-CREF agrees to major business reforms using Death Master database

News: 2013 Press Release

For Release: June 24, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
TIAA-CREF agrees to major business reforms using Death Master database

SACRAMENTO - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today commended Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company for agreeing to implement business reforms using the Social Security Administration's Death Master database to ensure prompt payout of life insurance, annuity, and retained asset account benefits. With annual premium volume of more than $10 billion, TIAA-CREF Group ranks 14 within the life insurance and annuity group market.

"These agreements are an important step in our nationwide effort to reform life insurance industry practices regarding the use of the Social Security Death Master File database," said Commissioner Jones. "I commend TIAA-CREFF for their leadership and for cooperating with insurance regulators to change its practices and actively search the Death Master database to determine if life insurance policyholders have died and to find and promptly pay beneficiaries. TIAA-CREF has stepped up and is doing the right thing for its policyholders. Policyholders should be disappointed that some other large life insurers like New York Life refuse to enter into a similar nationwide agreement with insurance regulators."

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Media Note: The Illinois Department of Insurance was the principal lead regulator in this multi-state review and agreement. The other lead insurance regulators for the Death Master database multi-state regulatory review are the California, Florida, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. To date, six major life insurers have entered into agreements with insurance regulators nationwide and agreed to business reforms using the Death Master database, including identifying deceased policyholders and searching for and paying beneficiaries, and ongoing regulatory monitoring and reporting for a specified period to ensure compliance. TIAA's rank is based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' 2012 market share data for life insurance, annuities and other considerations.

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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 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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