The following is a legislative alert from our friends at Keane. Cross Country Computer views this information as a confirmation that fuzzy matching must be applied when performing death matching:
“The cross-checks shall be performed using the social security number, the name, and date of birth of the insured or account holder… Every insurer shall implement reasonable procedures to account for common variations in data that would otherwise preclude an exact match with a death index, even when the insurer has incomplete records.”
Please contact me at TBerger@CrossCountryComputer.com to discuss how CCC is already helping the insurance industry meet these requirements today.
New York Governor Signs SB 6943 & AB 9845 Into Law; Mandates DMF Searches & Beneficiary Location Measures
Please be advised that on December 17, 2012, New York Governor Cuomo signed identical bills SB 6943 and AB 9845 into law. These bills address unclaimed life insurance and amend New York’s Insurance Law by requiring the following:
- Every insurer shall use the Social Security Administration Death Master File (DMF) to cross-check every policy and account subject to this section on, at minimum, a quarterly basis. An insurer may perform the cross-check using the updates made to the DMF since the date of the last cross-check performed by the insurer, provided that the insurer performs the cross-check using the entire DMF at least once a year. The cross-checks shall be performed using the social security number, the name, and date of birth of the insured or account holder.
- Every insurer shall implement reasonable procedures to account for common variations in data that would otherwise preclude an exact match with a death index, even when the insurer has incomplete records.
- Upon receiving notification of the death of an insured or in the event of a match made by a DMF cross-check, an insurer shall search to determine whether the insurer has any other policies or accounts for the insured or account holder.
- Insurers must also notify any of their affiliates that may maintain records relating to policies, and require them to perform a similar search.
- Every insurer shall establish procedures to reasonably confirm the death of an insured or account holder and begin to locate beneficiaries within ninety days after the identification of a potential match. If the insurer cannot locate beneficiaries within ninety days after the identification of a potential match, the insurer shall continue to search for beneficiaries until the benefits escheat to the state.
- Once the beneficiaries under the policy or account have been located, the insurer must provide to them the information necessary to make a claim pursuant to the terms of the life insurance policy or account. An insurer may require satisfactory proof of loss, such as a death certificate, as a condition for conclusively determining the death of the policyholder or account holder.
- The superintendent shall develop and implement a lost policy finder to assist requestors in locating unclaimed life insurance benefits. The lost policy finder shall be available online and via other means, including but not limited to the department’s toll free telephone number. The superintendent shall assist a requestor in using the lost policy finder, including informing the requestor of what information an insurer may need to facilitate responding to the request. The new law includes specific rules and timeframes surrounding requests and responses to the lost policy finder.
- Every insurer shall establish procedures to electronically receive the lost policy finder application request form and make reports to the superintendent.
- An insurer must then report any information on unclaimed benefits due, the number of policies and accounts that the insurer has identified for the prior calendar year under which any outstanding monies have not been paid or distributed by December 31 of such year.
- At no later than policy delivery or the establishment of an account and upon any change of insured, owner, or beneficiary, every insurer shall request information sufficient to ensure that all benefits or other monies are distributed to the appropriate persons upon the death of the insured or account holder, including, at a minimum, the name, address, social security number, date of birth, and telephone number of every owner, insured and beneficiary of such policy or account, as applicable.
- Where an insurer issues a policy or provides for an account based on data received directly from an insured’s employer, the insurer may obtain the beneficiary information described in paragraph one of this subsection after receiving the data from the insured’s employer.
- This law will shall take effect 180 Days after December 17, 2012.
The passage of this bill comes on the heels of emergency regulations addressing unclaimed life insurance adopted by Governor Cuomo earlier this year. The regulations which similarly called for quarterly cross checks of the Death Master File were only temporary, with a current expiration date of 2/6/13. In contrast, the law passed by SB 6943 and AB 9845, is the law of New York as of the effective date of the bills.
New York’s new law follows a long line of states passing Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits laws. New York, however, is the first to mandate that the State create and maintain an online Lost Policy Finder and that the life insurance companies support the State in its efforts.