94-year-old woman told 1934 life insurance policy no longer exists

May 30, 2019

  1. Northeast Agent
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    94-year-old woman told 1934 life insurance policy no longer exists

    She kept the policy is pristine condition all of those years. It's now worth $1,200. Eleanor needs the money to help pay for nursing home care now.

    But when her family went to cash in the policy, they say they were told by MetLife Insurance that the policy no longer exists.

    Bob Fetkin, her son, has taken up the fight. He says he got the runaround and then finally was told by MetLife that the policy was cashed out at some point, and the money was turned over to the state of California, where Eleanor used to live.

    Fetkin says California records don't show the money either.

    "I guess I felt like a company that big would be able to keep better records," Fetkin said.
     
  2. somarco
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    somarco GA Medicare Expert

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    That happens.

    "Claim" should be filed with CA Lost Property Dept
    California State Controller's Office: Unclaimed Property

    Carriers lose track of old policies and beneficiaries all the time. Met, Pru and many other carriers have been sued for failure to pay death claims years after the fact.

    Not an excuse. Just saying it happens.
     
    somarco, May 30, 2019
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  3. Rob Lion
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    I don't understand why they wouldn't honor such a small ass amount lol.
     
    Rob Lion, May 30, 2019
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  4. BADTROUT
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    Seriously, the PR would pay for it...
     
    BADTROUT, May 30, 2019
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  5. UKTX
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    But just imagine the pot they would be stirring doing that.......everyone would come out of the woodwork.
     
    UKTX, May 30, 2019
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  6. LostDollar
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    Since I am not a life insurance agent, I am not sure I am going to use the correct terminology in my comment below, but....

    If that policy is similar to an old one I have with another company, issued during the war, what the company says is entirely possible. And family members may have taken prior action on it years ago and forgotten about it.

    When a kid's policy for me became paid up, the insurance company sent a letter indicating I needed to choose a final option, either taking the accumulated cash value or taking a paid up insurance policy for a higher amount.

    If there was a requirement like this in the policy in question, and the default with no response from the policyholder, was to pay out the cash value, I think it is perfectly likely, and legitimate, that the company would have paid out the cash value to the unclaimed property division of the state for the last recorded policy holder residence.

    The states' unclaimed property divisions are not joking when they use terms like "the great treasure hunt" in regard to looking for unclaimed financial property.

    Many folks will find nothing, however on the other side of the coin, my wife recently helped the executor of an estate find over $10K of funds, spread out over three or four states, relating to the decedent.
     
  7. adjusterjack
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    The pristine policy itself could be worth a lot of money to a collector of antique documents.
     
  8. Benefits Guy
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    MetLife's not likely to just cash out an active policy and turn the proceeds over to a state's unclaimed property fund. If she had surrendered it sometime in the past, Met would be able to provide a definitive date that it happened. The challenge with these old policies like this is that they were written long before electronic records were a thing. It's entirely possible that it just wasn't entered into the database.

    Another point is, that "if" this policy is indeed still active, there would also be stock shares issued when Met demutualized back in 2000. Is it possible that is what the person at Met was referring to? As an ex-MetLife agent, I've done policy reviews on contracts like this where the value of those shares were far in excess of the death benefit of the underlying policy.

    I left Met over 10 years ago, but I still have the phone number for their shareholder services (Computershares) - (800) 649-3593. Don't know if this even applies, but that would be my starting point for checking on the existence of any MetLife shares.
     
  9. Newby
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    I’ve run into dozens and dozens of cases of these through the years. Very often on Met Life policies. What they all were was cases where Met Life agent’s went out to all their old policy holders in the 1980’s and flipped them into UL policies. The UL policies in the 1980’s were all underfunded because the interest rates were real high and the agent’s never thought interest rates would fall into single digits. Those policies all crashed and lost all value usually in the early 2000’s.

    There was a class action lawsuit over it and Met Life paid out billions of dollars. Prudential was involved in that also.
     
    Newby, May 31, 2019
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  10. somarco
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    somarco GA Medicare Expert

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    somarco, May 31, 2019
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