John Hancock reaches agreement with Florida

By Bryan Cohen | May 18, 2011


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - John Hancock Financial announced Wednesday that an agreement has been reached between the financial services group and the state of Florida regarding abandoned property.

As part of the agreement, John Hancock will take additional steps to ensure that the beneficiaries of policy holders are located and if not, that the funds are paid over as abandoned property to the state, which will hold the funds until claimed by the true owner.

"Today's announcement by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation regarding our agreement on abandoned property represents a landmark for consumers--one that helps John Hancock maintain its place in the forefront of caring for our insurers and their beneficiaries," the company said in a statement.

The company said the agreement is consistent with their longstanding commitment to keeping promises to the owners and beneficiaries of their products. John Hancock has paid out death benefits of over $800 million on life insurance policies owned by Floridians in the past five years.

John Hancock has also signed a global resolution agreement with contract auditor, Verus, which will help states find beneficiaries and abandoned property. The GRA will take effect on June 1, 2011 in states that approve it. To date, approximately 29 U.S. states have done so for the company that represents approximately 35 states.

"The GRA includes an extensive plan and timetable to identify abandoned property, conduct due diligence, and report and remit the property to states in those instances where the owner cannot be located," the company said in a statement, "Further, the GRA includes a set of prospective business practices, applicable to all states, which are beyond what current law requires relating to abandoned property.

John Hancock recognized the work of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and the Department of Financial Services' Bureau of Unclaimed Property in helping to create these new standards.

"Florida took a leadership role, working hard with John Hancock on the settlement that led to the GRA, and deserves to be recognized for the unique role it played for the benefit of consumers across the U.S., as well as insurance regulators and unclaimed property departments in other states," the company said in their statement.

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