Insurance Company May Have Been Shut Out Of Task Force | WGLT

Insurance Company May Have Been Shut Out Of Task Force

Aug 18, 2016

From left: Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, State Sen. Sam McCann, State Rep. Dan Brady and State Rep. Robert Martwick talk after the first meeting of a task force on life insurance.
Credit Michael Hill / WGLT

A life insurance company asked to participate in a series of statewide task force meetings with the Illinois State Treasurer said in a statement they were given less than a day’s notice to respond to the invite.

Kemper Corporation claimed they also didn’t receive detailed expectations for the meetings and haven’t received any further information since the initial invitation in early August. The first meeting was held in Normal Wednesday without a representative from the company.

Treasurer Michael Frerichs is on a tour with the task force to get the word out about life insurance practices as well as legislation that is awaiting Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature. The bill would require life insurers to use a government database, called the Death Master File (DMF), to verify the status of policyholders and unpaid beneficiaries.

However, Kemper’s statement said the bill has numerous flaws and that it benefits an out-of-state firm that would reap “tens of millions in fees.” The statement from Kemper said the issue is complex and wasn’t fully grasped by legislators before it passed the General Assembly last May.

Another issue that came up at Wednesday’s meeting was the idea that companies keep life insurance policy money that goes unpaid. Kemper said in a statement that the company pays beneficiaries when benefits are due or turns over unclaimed money to the state.

The company is in a legal battle with Frerichs over the demand for an audit, on the grounds that the treasurer does not have the authority to audit them and compare their policyholders to the DMF. Kemper’s statement said they use the database in some cases, and are “open to expanding that usage.” The company claims they haven't been told their methods are non-compliant.

Frerichs will continue the task force tour, without Kemper Corporation, in Chicago and Decatur.