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November 20. 2012 8:56PM

John Hancock joins multi-state settlement

CONCORD - John Hancock Life and Health has joined a growing list of life insurance companies that have agreed to settle with New Hampshire and five other states over the one-sided use of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File.

The states claimed that the insurance companies used the database to cut off annuity payments to deceased policyholders, but did not use it to identify beneficiaries of life insurance policies who may not have been aware of their status.

Like the four companies that have already signed the agreement, John Hancock has agreed to check the Social Security database or a similar source of information on a monthly basis to determine whether any of its life insurance, annuity or retained asset account owners has died. The company must then take reasonable steps to pay the beneficiaries.

John Hancock will also make a $13.3 million payment to be shared by the states signing the settlement. The other lead states are California, Illinois, Michigan, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. Companies previously agreeing to the settlement include Prudential, MetLife, Nationwide and AIG.


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