Illinois State Treasurer Skeptical Of Kemper’s ‘Voluntary’ Payout

CHICAGO (CBS) — After years of battling Illinois and other states over payouts on life insurance policies, the Kemper Companies say it’s agreed to state demands. But the state’s treasurer is suspicious.

Kemper said Monday in a statement that it will “voluntarily” cross-reference its insurance policies with those on the federal government’s  Death Master File list.

“We recognize that new tools exist today that enhance our ability to meet our promises to our customers,” said Kemper President/CEO Joseph Lacher, Jr., in a statement.  “We are implementing a thoughtful and detailed process to evaluate our policies on a regular basis and to help our customers’ loved ones through the claims process.”

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs wants details.

“We don’t know if they’re doing what we want them to do,” Frerichs said.  “They say they’re in voluntary compliance but we have a lot of questions about what that means.”

Frerichs said he will not be satisfied if Kemper merely matches the newly deceased.

“Will they go back and pay the loved ones of deceased who died 10 years ago or 20 years ago?  We believe they deserve to get the insurance payouts just like families will going forward,” he said.

Kemper’s opposition to the matching policy has been highlighted on the CBS program “60 Minutes.” In that segment, first aired in April, Kemper was singled out for “fighting tooth and nail” against efforts to identify and pay unclaimed life insurance benefits.”

Frerichs said Kemper has said in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings that revenues from unclaimed policies are “baked into their profits.”

Frerichs said he cannot ask Kemper directly about matching efforts and related issues because of still-pending litigation filed by the insurer.        

WBBM has contacted Kemper seeking a reply.

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