Bloomberg News

MetLife, Genworth Units Said to Be Subpoenaed in N.Y. Probe

July 05, 2011

(Updates with Martin Act in fourth paragraph.)

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- MetLife Inc. and Genworth Financial Inc. units are among nine companies subpoenaed last month as part of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s probe of the life insurance industry’s handling of so-called abandoned property, a person familiar with the matter said.

The probe is seeking to determine whether the companies do enough to determine whether someone has died and benefits are due, the person said.

About 35 other states are looking into whether the insurance industry is adequately handling abandoned property such as unclaimed life-insurance proceeds.

New York State may invoke the powerful Martin Act, a statute that does not require proof of intent to defraud, the person said. It also can bring false claims accusations based on the companies’ representations to the state comptroller and the state treasury, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter is under investigation.

The probe has been going on for several months, the person said. The subpoenas seek documents and information related to the companies’ procedures around abandoned property.

Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman’s office, declined to comment.

John Calagna, a MetLife spokesman, declined to comment. Simon Locke, a spokesman for Prudential, declined to comment in a phone interview.

The subpoenas were previously reported in the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to MetLife and Genworth, companies and units subpoenaed include AXA Equitable Funds Management Group LLC; The Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America; John Hancock Insurance Agency Inc.; MassMutual Asset Finance LLC; New York Life LLC; Prudential Insurance Agency LLC; and TIAA-CREF Insurance Agency LLC, according to the person.

--Editors: David E. Rovella, Charles Carter

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Freifeld in New York at kfreifeld@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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