2016 Legislature                    CS for SB 966, 1st Engrossed
    2         An act relating to unclaimed property; amending s.
    3         717.107, F.S.; revising a presumption of when funds
    4         held or owing under a matured or terminated life or
    5         endowment insurance policy or annuity contract are
    6         unclaimed; revising conditions of when certain
    7         insurance policies or annuity contracts are deemed
    8         matured and the proceeds are due and payable;
    9         requiring an insurer to compare records of certain
   10         insurance policies, annuity contracts, and retained
   11         asset accounts against the United States Social
   12         Security Administration Death Master File or a certain
   13         database or service to determine whether a death is
   14         indicated and to update certain records; providing
   15         requirements for the comparison; providing for a
   16         presumption of death for certain individuals;
   17         providing exceptions; requiring an insurer to account
   18         for certain variations in data and partial
   19         information; providing the circumstances under which a
   20         policy, a contract, or an account is deemed to be in
   21         force; providing applicability; defining the term
   22         “recordkeeping”; requiring an insurer to follow
   23         certain procedures after learning of a death through a
   24         specified comparison; authorizing an insurer to
   25         disclose certain personal information to specified
   26         persons or entities for certain purposes; prohibiting
   27         an insurer and specified entities from charging fees
   28         and costs associated with certain activities;
   29         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   30         providing retroactive applicability; providing an
   31         effective date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Section 717.107, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   36  read:
   37         717.107 Funds owing under life insurance policies, annuity
   38  contracts, and retained asset accounts; fines, penalties, and
   39  interest; United States Social Security Administration Death
   40  Master File.—
   41         (1) Funds held or owing under any life or endowment
   42  insurance policy or annuity contract which has matured or
   43  terminated are presumed unclaimed if unclaimed for more than 5
   44  years after the date of death of the insured, the annuitant, or
   45  the retained asset account holder funds became due and payable
   46  as established from the records of the insurance company holding
   47  or owing the funds, but property described in paragraph (3)(d)
   48  (3)(b) is presumed unclaimed if such property is not claimed for
   49  more than 2 years. The amount presumed unclaimed shall include
   50  any amount due and payable under s. 627.4615.
   51         (2) If a person other than the insured, the or annuitant,
   52  or the retained asset account holder is entitled to the funds
   53  and no address of the person is known to the company or it is
   54  not definite and certain from the records of the company who is
   55  entitled to the funds, it is presumed that the last known
   56  address of the person entitled to the funds is the same as the
   57  last known address of the insured, the or annuitant, or the
   58  retained asset account holder according to the records of the
   59  company.
   60         (3) For purposes of this chapter, a life or endowment
   61  insurance policy or annuity contract not matured by actual proof
   62  of the death of the insured, the or annuitant, or the retained
   63  asset account holder according to the records of the company is
   64  deemed matured and the proceeds due and payable if any of the
   65  following applies:
   66         (a) The company knows that the insured, the or annuitant,
   67  or the retained asset account holder has died.; or
   68         (b) A presumption of death made in accordance with
   69  paragraph (8)(c) has not been rebutted.
   70         (c) The policy or contract has reached its maturity date.
   71         (d)(b)1. The insured has attained, or would have attained
   72  if he or she were living, the limiting age under the mortality
   73  table on which the reserve is based;
   74         2. The policy was in force at the time the insured
   75  attained, or would have attained, the limiting age specified in
   76  subparagraph 1.; and
   77         3. Neither the insured nor any other person appearing to
   78  have an interest in the policy within the preceding 2 years,
   79  according to the records of the company, has assigned,
   80  readjusted, or paid premiums on the policy; subjected the policy
   81  to a loan; corresponded in writing with the company concerning
   82  the policy; or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a
   83  memorandum or other record on file prepared by an employee of
   84  the company.
   85         (4) For purposes of this chapter, the application of an
   86  automatic premium loan provision or other nonforfeiture
   87  provision contained in an insurance policy does not prevent the
   88  policy from being matured or terminated under subsection (1) if
   89  the insured has died or the insured or the beneficiaries of the
   90  policy otherwise have become entitled to the proceeds thereof
   91  before the depletion of the cash surrender value of a policy by
   92  the application of those provisions.
   93         (5) If the laws of this state or the terms of the life
   94  insurance policy require the company to give notice to the
   95  insured or owner that an automatic premium loan provision or
   96  other nonforfeiture provision has been exercised and the notice,
   97  given to an insured or owner whose last known address according
   98  to the records of the company is in this state, is
   99  undeliverable, the company shall make a reasonable search to
  100  ascertain the policyholder’s correct address to which the notice
  101  must be mailed.
  102         (6) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the
  103  company learns of the death of the insured, the or annuitant, or
  104  the retained asset account holder and the beneficiary has not
  105  communicated with the insurer within 4 months after the death,
  106  the company shall take reasonable steps to pay the proceeds to
  107  the beneficiary.
  108         (7) Commencing 2 years after July 1, 1987, every change of
  109  beneficiary form issued by an insurance company under any life
  110  or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract to an insured
  111  or owner who is a resident of this state must request the
  112  following information:
  113         (a) The name of each beneficiary, or if a class of
  114  beneficiaries is named, the name of each current beneficiary in
  115  the class.
  116         (b) The address of each beneficiary.
  117         (c) The relationship of each beneficiary to the insured.
  118         (8)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an
  119  insurer shall compare the records of its insureds’ life or
  120  endowment insurance policies, annuity contracts that provide a
  121  death benefit, and retained asset accounts that were in force at
  122  any time on or after January 1, 1992, against the United States
  123  Social Security Administration Death Master File once to
  124  determine whether the death of an insured, an annuitant, or a
  125  retained asset account holder is indicated and shall thereafter
  126  use the Death Master File update files for future comparisons.
  127  The comparisons must use the name and social security number or
  128  date of birth of the insured, the annuitant, or the retained
  129  asset account holder. The comparisons must be made on at least
  130  an annual basis before August 31 of each year. If an insurer
  131  performs such comparisons regarding its annuities or other books
  132  of business more frequently than once a year, the insurer must
  133  also make comparisons regarding its life insurance policies,
  134  annuity contracts that provide a death benefit, and retained
  135  asset accounts at the same frequency as is made regarding its
  136  annuities or other books or lines of business. An insurer may
  137  perform the comparisons required by this paragraph using any
  138  database or service that the department determines is at least
  139  as comprehensive as the United States Social Security
  140  Administration Death Master File for the purpose of indicating
  141  that a person has died.
  142         (b) However, an insurer that meets one of the following
  143  criteria as of June 30, 2016, shall conduct the comparison in
  144  paragraph (a) to all in-force policies:
  145         1. The insurer has entered into a regulatory settlement
  146  agreement with the Office of Insurance Regulation; or
  147         2. The insurer has received a targeted market conduct
  148  examination report issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation
  149  regarding claims-handling practices and the use of the Death
  150  Master File with no findings of violations of law.
  151         (c) An insured, an annuitant, or a retained asset account
  152  holder is presumed deceased if the date of his or her death is
  153  indicated by the comparison required under paragraph (a) unless
  154  the insurer has in its records competent and substantial
  155  evidence that the person is living, including, but not limited
  156  to, a contact made by the insurer with such person or his or her
  157  legal representative. The insurer shall account for common
  158  variations in data and for any partial names, social security
  159  numbers, dates of birth, and addresses of the insured, the
  160  annuitant, or the retained asset account holder which would
  161  otherwise preclude an exact match.
  162         (d) For purposes of this section, a policy, an annuity
  163  contract, or a retained asset account is deemed to be in force
  164  if it has not lapsed, has not been cancelled, or has not been
  165  terminated at the time of death of the insured, the annuitant,
  166  or the retained asset account holder.
  167         (e) This subsection does not apply to an insurer with
  168  respect to benefits payable under:
  169         1. An annuity that is issued in connection with an
  170  employment-based plan subject to the Employee Retirement Income
  171  Security Act of 1974 or that is issued to fund an employment
  172  based retirement plan, including any deferred compensation plan.
  173         2. A policy of credit life or accidental death insurance.
  174         3. A joint and survivor annuity contract if an annuitant is
  175  still living.
  176         4. A policy issued to a group master policy owner for which
  177  the insurer does not perform recordkeeping functions. For
  178  purposes of this subparagraph, the term “recordkeeping” means
  179  those circumstances under which the insurer has agreed through a
  180  group policyholder to be responsible for obtaining, maintaining,
  181  and administering, in its own or its agents’ systems,
  182  information about each individual insured under a group
  183  insurance policy or a line of coverage thereunder, including at
  184  least the following:
  185         a. The social security number, or name and date of birth;
  186         b. Beneficiary designation information;
  187         c. Coverage eligibility;
  188         d. The benefit amount; and
  189         e. Premium payment status.
  190         5. Any policy or certificate of life insurance that is
  191  assigned to a person licensed under s. 497.452 to fund a preneed
  192  funeral merchandise or service contract.
  193         (9) No later than 120 days after learning of the death of
  194  an insured, an annuitant, or a retained asset account holder
  195  through a comparison under subsection (8), an insurer shall:
  196         (a) Complete and document an effort to confirm the death of
  197  the insured, the annuitant, or the retained asset account holder
  198  against other available records and information.
  199         (b) Review its records to determine whether the insured,
  200  the annuitant, or the retained asset account holder purchased
  201  other products from the insurer.
  202         (c) Determine whether benefits may be due under a policy,
  203  an annuity, or a retained asset account.
  204         (d) Complete and document an effort to locate and contact
  205  the beneficiary or authorized representative under a policy, an
  206  annuity, or a retained asset account if such person has not
  207  communicated with the insurer before the expiration of the 120
  208  day period. The effort must include:
  209         1. Sending to the beneficiary or authorized representative
  210  information concerning the claim process of the insurer.
  211         2. Notice of any requirement to provide a certified
  212  original or copy of the death certificate if applicable under
  213  the policy, annuity, or retained asset account.
  214         (10) An insurer may, to the extent permitted by law,
  215  disclose the minimum necessary personal information about an
  216  insured, an annuitant, a retained asset account owner, or a
  217  beneficiary to an individual or entity reasonably believed by
  218  the insurer to possess the ability to assist the insurer in
  219  locating the beneficiary or any other individual or entity that
  220  is entitled to payment of the claim proceeds.
  221         (11) An insurer, or any agent or third party that it
  222  engages or that works on its behalf, may not charge insureds,
  223  annuitants, retained asset account holders, beneficiaries, or
  224  the estates of insureds, annuitants, retained asset account
  225  holders, or the beneficiaries of an estate any fees or costs
  226  associated with any search, verification, claim, or delivery of
  227  funds conducted pursuant to this section.
  228         Section 2. The amendments made by this act are remedial in
  229  nature and apply retroactively. Fines, penalties, or additional
  230  interest, pursuant to chapter 717, Florida Statutes, may not be
  231  imposed due to the failure to report and remit an unclaimed life
  232  or an endowment insurance policy, a retained asset account, or
  233  an annuity contract with a death benefit if any unclaimed life
  234  or endowment insurance policy, retained asset account, or
  235  annuity contract proceeds are reported and remitted to the
  236  Department of Financial Services on or before May 1, 2021.
  237         Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.