Unclaimed Property and Corporate Compliance News

Life Insurers Win Big in West Virginia

Photo by smokedsalmon on FreeDigitalPhotos.netIn an end of the year bonus, a judge in West Virginia gave 69 (and many more) life insurers a win against the state when he granted their motion to dismiss the lawsuits brought by State Treasurer John Perdue.

Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Takes California to Court

Photo by smokedsalmon on FreeDigitalPhotos.netIn what seems to have become a weekly occurrence, the State of California is involved in another lawsuit involving unclaimed property. This time, Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company has sued California in Federal Court, seeking an injunction and declaratory judgment pertaining to the authority of California to audit the company. In August 2013, California initiated an audit, to be conducted by Kelmar Associates.

Missouri Bill Would Add New Exemption

New Missouri Bill on Unclaimed PropertyThe 2014 legislative prefiling season has begun, with Missouri kicking off the unclaimed property bills with a possible new exemption.

UP 101: Small Amounts are Reportable as Unclaimed Property

US PennyOne of the most frequently asked questions Barganier receives relates to small dollar properties and whether they are reportable. The short answer is that every check or credit is reportable, no matter how small the item. Yes, even those pennies from rounding payroll deductions are reportable as unclaimed property.

Federal Reserve Considers the Future of Payment Systems

United States Federal Reserve SystemIn 2012, the Federal Reserve Banks updated their strategic plan to focus on end-to-end payment processes from their past focus on interbank issues. The new strategic plan is to focus on improving speed and efficiency of the payment system while maintaining safety and accessibility. At the heart of this plan is a move away from checks and to a near-real time form of electronic payments. The Federal Reserve Bank hosted a town hall yesterday on the future of payment systems in the United States to engage industry participants in the discussion. Kimberly DeCarrera was invited to attend on behalf of Barganier and Associates.

With the adoption of credit and debit card usage, check usage has decreased, particularly at point of sale transactions.

California Sues Another Life Insurer

Photo by smokedsalmon on FreeDigitalPhotos.netCalifornia has been one of the lead states in the push to audit life insurers for compliance with state insurance and unclaimed property laws, particularly relating to life insurance policies of deceased insurers. Over 40 audits have been initiated against life insurance companies.

Barganier Official Observer for ULC Model Act Drafting Committee

Patricia Barganier ThornThe last major revision to the Uniform Law Commission's Unclaimed Property Model Act was in 1995. Since then, there have been major changes in how businesses operate, the financial products offered, and how they communicate with customers, employees, vendors, and other related parties.

Owner Wins 7th Circuit Appeal for Interest on Indiana Property

Photo by smokedsalmon on FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a potential claimant on the payment of interest relating to claims. At issue in the case was whether Indiana was required to pay interest on unclaimed property that it has collected on owners' behalf. In this case, an individual lost contact with his bank, who eventually reported an interest bearing account to the state of Indiana.

New Michigan Law on Audit Practices

Bankruptcy law preempts state laws on gift card protectionsWhile corporate holders were busy filing their fall reports last week, Michigan passed a new law on unclaimed property audits, providing new protections for holders.

Update on Social Security Death Master File Requirements

The life insurance industry has been subjected to large, multi-state audits from unclaimed property administrators and insurance commissioners as the states try to collect more unclaimed policies from companies. The first round of audits were focused on large, market dominant companies, like John Hancock, Prudential, and MetLife, and were eventually settled by the companies.

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