ING agrees to $10.7 million multi-state death benefit settlement

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Settlement reached with Pa., Conn., Calif., Ill., NH and ND.

In the latest multi-state settlement agreement designed to reform the business practices in the life insurance industry, ING Cos. has been ordered to pay $10.7 million to insurance regulators in seven states. The agreement was reached through the coordinated efforts of state insurance departments in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire and North Dakota.

Michael Consedine

Michael Consedine

Going forward, the ING Cos. will identify and pay death claims using the Social Security Administration’s “death master file,” or database of deceased people, on a uniform and timely basis. State regulators have alleged the insurers used the file to stop making annuity payments to dead customers, but not to check if any life insurance policyholders had died.

“Like the companies before them, our investigation showed that ING was not using available information to identify policyholders who have died, in order to pay their beneficiaries,” said Pennsylvania insurance commissioner Michael Consedine. “We commend ING for its cooperation and willingness to doing the right thing and fulfill its promises to policyholders.”

Named in the settlement are ING Life Insurance and Annuity Co., ING U.S. Inc., ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Co., Midwestern United Life Insurance Co., ReliaStar Life Insurance Co., ReliaStar Life Insurance Co. of New York and Security Life of Denver Insurance Co.

“In reaching this agreement, ING U.S. expressly denied any wrongdoing or violation of law,” spokesman Joseph Loparco told Connecticut’s Hartford Courant. “The resolution reflects $10.7 million in examination, compliance and monitoring costs associated with the multi-state market examination that the ING U.S. insurance companies agreed to pay. It does not include any fines, fees or penalties.”

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