Friday, April 22, 2011

Controller Reaches Settlement with Insurer John Hancock

PR11:017
4/22/2011
Contact: Jacob Roper
916-445-2636



SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today announced a landmark settlement with insurer John Hancock, paving the way for reforms of wide-spread industry practices that have victimized the purchasers of life insurance policies and annuity contracts for decades. It is the first settlement resulting from an audit of 21 insurance companies that Controller Chiang began nearly three years ago.
“Too many Californians have been victimized by a company they entrusted with their retirement security and the care of their families,” Chiang said. “While John Hancock is the first to be held accountable, it will not be the last. I am prepared to pursue all actions necessary – including litigation – to bring the rest of the industry into compliance.”
The Controller initiated the audit investigation in July of 2008 to determine the insurance industry’s compliance with state unclaimed property laws. Administered by the Controller, the California unclaimed property program generally provides that businesses must send lost or abandoned financial accounts to the State after three years of inactivity in order to safeguard private property from being lost during mergers or bankruptcies, drawn down by service or storage fees, or simply used by private interests.
The audit revealed an industry-wide practice of companies failing to pay death benefits to the beneficiaries of life insurance policies. Instead, companies would draw-down the policies’ cash reserves in order to continue collecting premium payments from the deceased. Once the cash reserves were depleted, the company would cancel the policy. The audits also found that insurers did not routinely cross-check the owners of dormant accounts with government databases listing the deceased. In other cases, the company had direct knowledge of the death of a policy owner, but still did not notify the beneficiaries.
For example, a policy was issued by John Hancock on February 16, 1963, to an individual who subsequently died on April 20, 1999. For the seven years following his death, the company continued to collect premium payments by depleting the policy’s cash reserves until it was finally canceled on January 1, 2009. The policy’s file does not contain any indication of when the last contact with the insured occurred, or that any efforts were made to locate the insurance owner prior to the policy lapsing. More than 11 years after the insured’s death, John Hancock still has not paid the beneficiaries or sent to the State Controller’s Office for safekeeping any benefits due under the policy. The company has written off all liability under the policy.
The Controller’s investigation also exposed similar abuses with the administration of annuity contracts. For example, John Hancock issued a contract on June 7, 1991, to an individual who subsequently died on May 1, 1995. The company’s own files contain notes revealing that the annuitant owner’s mother called the company in August 2002 reporting that her son had died. Additional notations in the file dated June 15, 2005, and October 13, 2005, state that the annuitant had died. Despite these acknowledgments, the file indicates the company continued to send mail to him in 2005, 2006, and 2007 – all of which was returned as undeliverable. Another notation was made to the file on July 14, 2009, acknowledging the owner was deceased, and that the company, for the first time, had attempted to contact a relative. According to the file, on October 26, 2009 – more than 14 years after the annuitant’s death – John Hancock paid the death benefit to the annuitant’s estate.
Today’s ground-breaking settlement requires John Hancock, a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, to do the following

• Restore the full value of more than 6,400 impacted accounts dating back to 1992;
• Create and adhere to methods for better identifying deceased policy holders and notifying their beneficiaries;
• Fully comply with California’s unclaimed property laws and cooperate with the Controller’s efforts to reunite more than $20 million of death benefits and matured annuities with their owners or, in many cases, the owners’ heirs;
• Pay the State of California three percent compounded interest on the value of the held amounts from 1995, or from the date of the owner’s death, whichever is later.


“These policies were purchased to give the owners and their families peace of mind,” said Chiang. “I will move to quickly return those benefits to their rightful owners.”


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Greg Sebourn

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My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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