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CA Department of Insurance

Another major insurer agrees to Death Master File settlement

News: 2017 Press Release

For Release: January 30, 2017
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Another major insurer agrees to Death Master File settlement
Ameriprise agrees to $1.5 million dollar settlement and is changing business practices
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced a multistate $1.5 million settlement agreement with RiverSource Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameriprise. Ameriprise has agreed to use the Social Security Death Master File database to identify life insurance policyholders who have died and then to search for and pay benefits to their beneficiaries.

"The Ameriprise settlement brings the total to 28 major life insurers that are doing the right thing for policyholders," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Ameriprise has set a great example through the examination process by fully cooperating and agreeing to change their practices to benefit their policyholders. I strongly urge other life insurers to follow Ameriprise's lead."

Insurance Commissioners for California, North Dakota, Florida, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania have led the national investigation into life insurers' use of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File database, which came about after it was discovered life insurers used the database to their benefit to identify deceased annuity holders, so they could stop making payments to them, but failed to use the database to identify deceased policyholders so that benefit could be paid to their beneficiaries. The practice violated California's Unfair Insurance Practices Act and similar laws in other states.

To date, state insurance regulators have either reached settlements or concluded the investigation of 28 of the top 40 companies and as a result life insurers have paid $7.3 billion to life insurance beneficiaries nationwide.

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Media Notes:

  • To date, state insurance regulators have either reached settlements or concluded the investigation of 28 of the top 40 companies constituting 80 percent of the total life insurance market, based on market share. Efforts continue to be focused on the examination of the remaining 12 insurers: Northwestern Mutual, Great West, Protective Life, American Equity, State Farm, Aflac, Principle Financial, Allstate, Western Southern, OneAmerica, Ohio National, and American National. The top 40 insurers are based on 2010 NAIC Annual Reports for Direct Life, Annuity and Other Considerations. 
  • Ameriprise Regulatory Settlement Agreement



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 www.insurance.ca.gov. 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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