An Evolving Regulatory Environment Creates Legal and Ongoing Operational Challenges for the Insurance Industry
More state regulators are requiring life insurance companies to conduct Death Master File (DMF) cross-checks of their policyholder records for deaths not reported by beneficiaries and to make reasonable efforts to locate and pay benefits to those beneficiaries. As of early 2017, 24 states have adopted unclaimed property laws for unclaimed life benefits that conflict with the states’ life insurance contract. Unclaimed life benefit laws have dramatically changed how life insurance carriers conduct operations.
Routine death audits are here to stay
Berwyn Group’s advanced fuzzy logic search algorithms meet the most stringent of state unclaimed life insurance benefit laws and multi-state Global Services Agreement (GSA) requirements for our insurance customers. One third of the carriers that have entered into multi-state Global Resolution Agreements (GRA) chose to work with Berwyn Group.
Carriers must use a good faith effort to locate and pay benefits to beneficiaries or to turn over the funds to the states’ unclaimed property divisions. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), in 2015 states held $41.7 billion in their unclaimed property programs.
Step 1: Death Master File Audit
Identifying deceased policyholders is the first step in complying with state-mandated requirements. To meet the DMF cross-check requirement, Berwyn Group developed InsuranceCheck, one of the most comprehensive and reliable death audit systems available with 144 million death records.
Step 2: Fuzzy Match Reduction
Berwyn Group’s Policyholder Validation service refines the initial DMF audit results by using Berwyn Group’s advanced logic to reduce the occurrences of fuzzy-match false-positives. This service provides insurance companies a systematic searching tool that delivers reliable data to confidently reject or begin the claims payment process.
Step 3: Locate Beneficiaries
In many instances, insurers’ databases contain incomplete, missing, or out-of-date policyholder and beneficiary address information. Therefore, locating beneficiaries is difficult and time-consuming. By utilizing Berwyn Group’s BeneficiaryCheck service, insurance companies are no longer burdened with completing these tedious searches. Our service will find the most recent addresses available along with a complete address history and life status for each next-of-kin.