New York State
Insurance Department

MetLife and Reliastar Life to Each Pay $250,000

New York, February 2, 1999

Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today announced that Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) and Reliastar Life Insurance Company of New York have each been fined $250,000 for violating the Insurance Law and Department Regulations.

"We want to ensure that companies in New York State are responsive to both the Insurance Department and to their policyholders’ needs," said Levin. We will continue to aggressively pursue disciplinary actions against any company that violates our laws and regulations."

An examination of MetLife’s operations revealed that the company failed to comply fully with disclosure requirements for life insurance policies from 1989-1993. Under the Department’s Regulation 60, companies are required to provide consumers with a disclosure statement in cases where the sale of a new policy will cause the buyer to surrender, lapse, or in any way change the status of an existing policy. The examination also revealed that MetLife had been using policy forms that had not been approved by the Department.

Reliastar Life Insurance Company of New York failed to cooperate with the Department’s examination of their operations from 1992-1996 and failed to provide adequate access to their records. The examination ultimately revealed that the company failed to notify the Department of its intention to receive regular services from its parent company for soliciting and servicing group business. In addition, the company had been using post-issue questionnaire forms that had not been approved by the Department.

MetLife, headquartered in Manhattan, is New York State’s largest life insurer in terms of 1997 market share. Reliastar, located in Woodbury, NY, is the 27th largest.

Last week, Levin announced that the Department fined Country-Wide Insurance Company $425,875 for failing to respond fairly and expeditiously to consumers’ auto insurance claims.

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