Unclaimed Property Summit Meeting IV: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Headed?
April 30, 2014
CEFLI Unclaimed Property Summit Meeting IV Meets with Great Success
CEFLI held the fourth iteration in its very popular Unclaimed Property Summit Meeting series in Minneapolis on April 30. The meeting marked the fourth time that CEFLI played a leadership role in bringing together regulators and life insurance company representatives to explore the challenges associated with unclaimed property issues.
A highlight of the meeting was a panel discussion moderated by Tom Butler of Maynard Cooper & Gale with Iowa Commissioner Nick Gerhart, Vice-Chair of the NAIC’s newly formed NAIC Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits (A) Working Group, and North Dakota Representative George Keiser, Co-Chair of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ (NCOIL) Unclaimed Property Task Force, who discussed their respective organizations’ key initiatives related to unclaimed property issues.
The Summit Meeting was very timely in light of several recent developments pertaining to unclaimed property issues.
Commissioner Gerhart indicated that the NAIC convene the inaugural meeting of the NAIC Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits (A) Working Group to begin work toward fulfilling its charge to conduct the study of unclaimed property issues. Representative Keiser reported that NCOIL recently completed a comment period to allow interested parties to propose possible modifications to the NCOIL Model Law. Representative Keiser indicated that a “markup” of the Model Law reflecting comments received would be reviewed by the NCOIL Task Force over the coming weeks. Both organizations (NAIC and NCOIL) agreed to work collaboratively to develop appropriate solutions to address this continuing marketplace challenge.
Meeting attendees also received updated information on legislative developments concerning possible enactments of unclaimed property laws within state legislatures by Valerie Jundt of Keane and Cheryl Yakey of Kemper Corporation. This highly informative session provided an opportunity for attendees to get up-to-date information concerning possible enactments of unclaimed property laws and offered “behind-the-scenes” insights concerning efforts to enact various versions of the NCOIL Model Law.
The CEFLI Summit Meeting also featured a panel of representatives from the Minnesota Department of Commerce who shared insights concerning steps the Minnesota Department of Commerce has taken to address unclaimed property issues. Emily Johnson Piper, Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff within the Minnesota Department of Commerce was joined by Scott Halvorson, Director of the Unclaimed Property Division, and Paul Hanson, Chief Market Conduct Examiner within the Insurance Division to explain how the Minnesota Department of Commerce coordinates their efforts related to unclaimed property issues. Mr. Hanson indicated that the Insurance Division is continuing its examination process and may very well go beyond companies that represent the Top 40 Life Insurance Companies in the United States to explore insurance company practices related to unclaimed property matters.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to receive up-to-date developments concerning litigation matters pertaining to unclaimed property issues. Tim O’Driscoll, Partner with the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath, provided an excellent overview of a range of different litigation developments that would impact life insurance company practices concerning unclaimed property.
CEFLI was very pleased to be able to present Harold Kim of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform as the luncheon speaker for the Summit Meeting. Mr. Kim provided an overview of the Institute for Legal Reform’s recently issued report containing recommendations for state administrators concerning their use of third-party auditors. In sum, Mr. Kim noted that the report recommends that third-party auditors should be contracted on an hourly or flat fee basis rather than on a contingency fee basis.
The afternoon sessions were comprised of discussions designed to consider various strategies life insurance companies may wish to consider to address unclaimed property issues and a panel of leading experts that explored the impact that unclaimed property matters have had upon company operations. The strategy panel of advisers to life insurance companies examined possible strategies that life insurance companies may wish to address dependent upon a variety of different scenarios. These insights, based on interactions with a broad range of life insurance companies, provided the attendees with appropriate strategies to consider regardless of where their company may be in the unclaimed property regulatory process.
The operations panel provided practical insights to allow compliance professionals to consider possible modifications to existing practices to address current unclaimed property developments.
Overall reaction to the Summit Meeting was outstanding. Many of the attendees commented favorably about the opportunity to attend an in-depth, one-day session that allowed them to be kept abreast of current developments in this rapidly evolving field.
CEFLI once again was able to bring together regulators, legislators and life insurance company representatives in a unique interactive Forum to provide insights on these current marketplace challenges. CEFLI will continue to monitor unclaimed property issues on behalf of member companies and will provide additional guidance to allow company compliance professionals to meet the demands of this unique subject matter.