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MetLife Has Charge of Up to $135 Million on Death Benefits

October 06, 2011, 5:29 PM EDT

By Andrew Frye

(Updates with company comment in the fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, said it will take a charge of $115 million to $135 million for the third quarter to adjust reserves as it uses additional data to identify cases where it hadn’t paid claims.

The review involves the use of Social Security Administration death records, the New York-based insurer said today in a regulatory filing.

MetLife and smaller rivals have been pressed by regulators to move more swiftly to identify dead policyholders. The insurance departments in Florida and California have investigated whether life insurers failed to pay benefits. The firms are generally required to pay claims after being notified of a policyholder’s death and receiving a valid death certificate.

MetLife is using Social Security data “to identify certain group life insurance certificates, individual life insurance policies and other contracts where the covered person may be deceased, but a claim has not yet been presented to the company,” the insurer said in the filing.

Third-quarter results include $80 million to $100 million in catastrophe losses, and the company will take a charge of about $40 million related to supporting policyholders of Executive Life Insurance Company of New York. Regulators turned to healthy insurers to help fund Executive Life’s obligations after it was put into rehabilitation about 20 years ago.

–Editors: Dan Kraut, David Scheer

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at

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