In Case You Missed It...CBS News' 60 Minutes to Feature CFO Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty this Sunday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin
McCarty will be featured during an episode of CBS News’ feature television
program 60 Minutes this Sunday. The segment focuses on disturbing and
long-standing practices discovered within the life insurance industry, which
drastically reduce the number of life insurance policies that are properly—and
timely—paid out. The segment profiles several states, including Florida, that
have played a significant role in correcting this national conundrum.
During the 2016 Legislative Session,
CFO Atwater championed legislation to fix this troubling practice in Florida.
Senate Bill 966 was signed into law this week by Governor Rick Scott and this
new law ensures requires life insurance companies to now take steps to
determine when policyholders pass away and make an attempt to contact the
listed beneficiary. Senate Bill 966 was sponsored by Representative Bill Hager
and Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto.
“For years we’ve worked to put a stop
to these practices, and nearly $500 million in overdue, unpaid life insurance
benefits has already been returned to Florida—directly to consumers from
insurance companies or through distribution to our state’s unclaimed property
program,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “With the signing of this bill, the tide is
now shifting in favor of the consumer and hundreds of thousands of Floridians
will now gain access to unpaid benefits they may otherwise have never received.
I’m looking forward to watching 60 Minutes’ national take on this
“Florida’s leadership on this effort to
require life insurance companies to actively conduct searches for beneficiaries
has always been about speaking up for those without a voice,” stated Kevin M.
McCarty, Florida’s Insurance Commissioner. “We could not have achieved such
profound results without the collaboration of our colleagues at the National
Association of Insurance Commissioners, most notably, the states of California,
Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.”
The passage of this legislation follows
years of regulatory investigations led by CFO Atwater, Attorney General Pam
Bondi and Commissioner McCarty that uncovered this alarming practice in
Florida. More than half of the largest insurance companies conducting business
in the state ultimately signed regulatory agreements and agreed to do the right
thing by their consumers, but CFO Atwater and Commissioner McCarty recognized
that every company operating in Florida must be held to the same standard.
The vast majority of our nation’s 50
states have investigated these practices and many of Florida’s settlement
agreements were multi-state agreements. Nationally, more than $8 billion has
already been paid out by life insurance companies—companies that had previously
been earning interest on those unpaid funds.