Represented the California State Controller’s Office in numerous lawsuits to enforce audit rights against recalcitrant insurance companies and recover billions of dollars of unpaid life insurance and annuity proceeds, including multi-state resolution agreements with 26 of the largest life insurance companies.
Represented the California State Controller's Office in efforts to recover billions of dollars of unpaid life insurance and annuity proceeds – the subject of which was focus of a recent 60 Minutes exposé titled “Not Paid.” Through the assertion of various theories of liability and notice regarding insurance companies' use of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File (DMF), the team persuaded many of the country's largest insurance companies to enter into multimillion-dollar settlements by asserting that they have used the DMF to identify deceased annuitants in order to cease making annuity payments, but failed to identify deceased life insurance policyholders in order to ensure that beneficiaries receive the funds due to them. The team has advised the Controller in the execution of multi-state resolution agreements with 26 of the largest life insurance companies, with more than $307 million in unclaimed proceeds to be paid to California or California beneficiaries and $2.4 billion to be paid nationally. The team also represented the state in two lawsuits where the Controller is seeking to enforce audit rights against recalcitrant insurance companies. These lawsuits and settlements are changing the practices of the life insurance industry regarding compliance with state unclaimed property laws, requiring companies to do more to locate beneficiaries of unclaimed insurance proceeds, and are being monitored closely by the nation's state treasurers, controllers, and the life insurance industry.