ANICO Ruling Casts Doubt on Ability to Circumvent State UP Audits; Is there an Implied Duty to Undertake Death Matching?

On May 7th, 2013, the California State Controller filed suit against ANICO (John Chiang vs. American National Insurance Company) seeking an order preliminarily enjoining Defendant American National Insurance Company, a Texas Corporation, (“ANICO”), and any persons acting on their behalf, including directors, officers, or employees from: (1) Continued violation of California’s Unclaimed Property Law (“UPL”) (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1500, et seq.) and (2) Further delaying the multistate unclaimed property audit. The more specific purpose of the action was to compel ANICO to release policy records that could then be matched to the Social Security Administration Death Master File (DMF).

On October 9th, 2013, Plaintiff Controller’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction was GRANTED, resulting in a big blow to the insurance industry’s hopes of finding a mechanism to preempt the unprecedented wave of insurance “death” audits that have been taking place over the past three years.  Anticipating this possibility, one insurer recently took a ‘glass is half full’ approach when commenting that it may be for the best as it would clear the way for the rest of the industry to move forward with their own reviews and put this matter to rest.  While it is doubtful that many insurers consider this ruling favorable, it is most likely the proverbial “straw” that will compel a greater number of insurers to take the next step in pursing their own resolutions.  At a minimum, this decision provides clarity on the question of state-mandated death matching in the course of compliance audits.

For more information on Cross Country Computer’s APEARS® death matching capabilities and to stay informed about other relevant insurance legislation, please contact Thomas Berger at (631) 220-6947 or via email to

Tom Berger

About Tom Berger

Thomas Berger is CEO of Cross Country Computer. Tom joined Cross Country in 1991 and acquired the company in 1996. Tom has served as Treasurer of the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) and holds the patent for APEARS™. Tom was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island (DMALI) Hall of Fame in 2012 and is a lifetime member of MENSA, the international High IQ society. Tom holds a BS degree in Management and Marketing from RIT.
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