- CBS News' 60 Minutes to Feature Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty this Sunday
- April 27, 2016
- Law Firm: Colodny Fass P.A. - Sunrise Office
Florida's 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, April 17, 2016.
The segment focuses on disturbing and long-standing practices discovered within the life insurance industry that have been determined to have drastically reduced the number of life insurance policies that are properly paid on a timely basis. Florida and other states that have played a significant role in correcting this national issue will be profiled.
During Florida's 2016 Legislative Session, CFO Atwater championed legislation to fix the problem, resulting in SB 966 being signed into law this week by Governor Rick Scott.
Sponsored by State Representative Bill Hager and Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, Florida's new law requires life insurance companies to take steps to determine when policyholders pass away and make an attempt to contact the listed beneficiary.
"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," CFO Atwater said. "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 important story."
"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," Commissioner McCarty said. "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."
Passage of SB 966 follows years of investigations led by CFO Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Commissioner McCarty that resulted in some of Florida's largest insurance companies initially signing regulatory agreements focusing on consumer protection.
Audits have uncovered a systemic practice of insurers not paying benefits on millions of policies nationwide--even when the companies knew the policyholder was deceased. CBS' Lesley Stahl reports that 25 insurance companies, without admitting wrongdoing, have agreed to pay more than $7.5 billion in back death benefits in a series of settlements reached with states across the country. Thirty-five companies still have not settled and remain under investigation. Stahl's report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday April 17 at 7 p.m. (ET).