AN ACT TO ENACT THE NORTH CAROLINA UNCLAIMED LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS ACT. Enacted September 1, 2015. Section 2 is effective September 1, 2015. The remainder is effective October 1, 2015.
Summary date: Sep 3 2015 - View summary
Summary date: Aug 20 2015 - View summary
House amendment makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.
Adjusts the exceptions to the requirement in new GS 58-58-390 that insurers perform a comparison of their policies against the death master file by (1) deleting from the exception for policies for which the insurer has received premiums within the 18 months preceding the death master file comparison the words "from outside the policy value, by check, bank draft, payroll deduction, or any other similar method of active premium payments," (2) removing the requirement that an insurer's sworn statement to certain matters be "upon information and belief," and (3) clarifying that no sworn-statement exception exists for policies issued on or after (was, after) October 1, 2015. Makes technical changes to this proposed subsection.
Includes, among an insurer's new obligations to make a good-faith effort to identify whether benefits are due after learning of the possible death of a person, a new requirement that the insurer maintain documentation of efforts to locate beneficiaries. Deletes a subsection exempting an insurer from all of these good-faith efforts when it is unable to confirm the death of a person following a search of the death master file.
Makes conforming changes.
Summary date: Aug 19 2015 - View summary
House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.
Expands proposed GS 58-58-370, dealing with preemption of other laws, to clarify that the new legislation does not preempt the authority of the Department of State Treasurer to examine records and conduct an audit.
Makes changes to proposed GS 58-58-380 to (1) include new definitions of active premium payment and retained asset account, (2) adjust the definition of annuity and asymmetric conduct, (3) refine the definition of beneficiary to cases in which benefits are payable due to a death, and (4) remove a reference to industrial life insurance from the definition of policy.
Adjusts the processes by which certain insurers may become exempt from the new requirement to perform a search of the United States Social Security Administration's death master file for policies, annuities or retained asset accounts, issued before October 1, 2015, by (1) requiring a sworn affidavit and (2) removing the authority of the North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance to exempt insurers.
Removes interest payments on death benefits under GS 58-58-110 from a requirement that certain benefits be paid to beneficiaries or account owners before escheating to the State as unclaimed property.
Makes technical changes.
Changes the effective date of new Part 7 from July 1 to October 1, 2015.
Summary date: Apr 27 2015 - View summary
Senate amendment makes the following changes to the 1st edition:
Makes a technical change to proposed GS 58-58-380(9), the definition for policy.
Summary date: Mar 31 2015 - View summary
Adds a new Part 7 to Article 58 of GS Chapter 58, to be known as the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act.
Provides that nothing in Part 7 amends, modifies, or supersedes the North Carolina Unclaimed Property Act, Article 4 of GS Chapter 116B.
Provides definitions for the following terms as they apply in this part: (1) account owner, (2) annuity, (3) asymmetric conduct, (4) beneficiary, (5) death master file or DMF, (6) death master file match or DMF match, (7) insurer, (8) person, (9) policy, and (10) record keeping services.
Enacts new GS 58-58-390 to provide requirements for insurers. Directs insurers, to the extent that their records of in-force policies, annuities, and account owners are available electronically, to compare their records with a death master file (such as that of the United States Social Security administration or any other database) on a semi-annual basis in order to identify potential death master file matches. Provides that if electronic records are not available to the insurer, then it is still the insurer's duty to perform a comparison on a semi-annual basis of the insurer's records of in-force policies, annuities, and account owners against a death master file using the records most easily accessible to the insurer. Provides that this section does not apply to policies or annuities for which the insurer has received premiums from outside of the policy value, by check, bank draft, payroll deduction, or any other similar method within 18 months immediately preceding the death master file comparison. Provides additional criteria regarding requirements for insurers under this section and specifies circumstances and criteria under which an insurer is exempt from the requirements of this section. Provides that the comparison required under this section does not apply to group life insurance policies for which the insurer is not the record keeper.
Requires an insurer who learns of a possible death through a DMF match or otherwise to make a documented good-faith effort within 90 days to confirm the death, determine if benefits are due, locate any beneficiaries, and provide the appropriate claims forms or instructions to the beneficiary. Prohibits the insurer from charging any fees or costs associated with a DMF search to any beneficiary or any other person entitled to benefits. Provides that if the beneficiaries or account owners cannot be located, the benefits and associated interest revert to the state as unclaimed property as set out in Article 4 of GS Chapter 116B.
Provides that failing to meet the requirements of this Part may constitute an unfair claims settlement practice under GS 58-3-100(a)(5) and GS 58-63-15. Declares that there is nothing in this part that is to be construed as creating or implying that there is a private cause of action for a violation of this part.
Authorizes the Commissioner of Insurance to make rules to implement this act, provided that such rules do not impose any duty or requirement that is not stated in this act. Effective when it becomes law. The other provisions of this act become effective July 1, 2015.