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AIG to pay $11-million in ‘death master’ probe

A man takes pictures of AIG Tower in Hong Kong in this file photo. AIG is increasing its reserves to cover potentially accelerated benefit payments triggered by a recent U.S. settlement.

BOBBY YIP/REUTERS

Insurer American International Group Inc. has agreed to an $11-million (U.S.) settlement with a group of states over its claims-settlement practices for life insurance policies, Pennsylvania insurance authorities said on Monday.

AIG is the latest insurer to settle state probes over its use of the Social Security "death master" file, joining companies like MetLife Inc. and Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

State regulators have alleged that insurers used the list of recently deceased people to stop making annuity payments to dead customers, but, at the same time, did not use the list to check whether any life insurance policy holders had passed away.

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In a statement, Pennsylvania authorities said AIG had agreed to use the death master file "on a uniform basis" to find dead policy holders and pay beneficiaries.

The company said in a statement it began a process of matching policy holder records against the death master database last year to find accounts where no claim had been made yet.

AIG also said it would increase reserves by $55-million in the third quarter to cover potentially accelerated benefit payments under the settlement.

In addition to Pennsylvania, the other states listed on the agreement were Florida, North Dakota, California, Illinois, New Hampshire and Texas.

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