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CA Department of Insurance

Kemper’s Death Master File Database announcement too little too late

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: October 3, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Kemper’s Death Master File Database announcement too little too late
Insurer announces new policy to search for beneficiaries but continues legal battle again searching past records

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued the following statement regarding Kemper's Corporation's announcement that they are beginning to search for beneficiaries of life insurance proceeds:

"Kemper's announcement that they are 'voluntarily undertaking a comprehensive process under which it will cross-reference its life insurance policies against the Social Security Death Master File and other databases to identify beneficiaries that may not have filed a claim following a loved one's death is too little too late and falls woefully short of Kemper's legal obligation to identify potential beneficiaries that may be unaware they are due life insurance benefits.

Kemper cites new technology and resources that make the searches for current policies possible, but the reality is the technology has existed for decades and Kemper continues to fight conducting retrospective searches for beneficiaries. Rather than having sought consensus in the regulatory community, Kemper has sued several insurance commissioners leading a national investigation of Kemper and lobbied in state legislatures to block the passage of new laws, which reiterate the obligations of life insurers to use the Death Master File (DMF) to search for beneficiaries of deceased life insurance policyholders.

Twenty-four other major life insurers have agreed to do the right thing by searching for possible beneficiaries on all existing policies and policies that lapsed due to non-payment because the insured was already deceased. Three other insurers were determined to be in compliance with fair claims settlement laws by searching the DMF for deceased policyholders from the moment they began to use the DMF. These insurers have done the right thing and delivered on the promises they made to their policyholders to be there for the loved ones named on life insurance policies.

Contrary to the other 27 major insurers, Kemper has fought at every turn its obligation to use the Death Master File to search for beneficiaries. Kemper needs to step up and do the right thing. They should cease to litigate this issue, agree to search all of their policy records, and disclose their procedures and records to regulators."   


Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner


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Media note:

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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