Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment: Making Sure Retiree Death Benefits are Paid

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Client:
Fortune 100 Oil & Gas company, with 11,000 retirees in the life insurance plan

Situation:

The client brought on a new carrier for Basic Life, Optional Life, and Dependent Life in January, 2013. Prior to that, the account was with a different carrier for 10 years. The client was concerned that of the retiree population that they were paying premium on, almost 50 retirees were over 100 years old, if in fact they were still alive. The client wondered if death benefits were due to beneficiaries (either from the current or previous life insurance carrier).

Challenge:

Our client, a large Oil & Gas company, had a retiree life plan in place with more than 11,000 covered retirees. The client asked Pacific Resources for assistance in mining the Social Security Death Master File to determine if any individuals covered in the plan had died without the company’s knowledge and, if so, to ensure that benefits were paid.  

Approach:

Pacific Resources forged a partnership with a national consulting and advisory services firm that has access to the Social Security Death Master File (DMF) and helps clients achieve and maintain compliance through ensuring appropriate benefit payments.

The client provided a full listing of all its retiree life employees to Pacific Resources and our partner.  Our partner then conducted a thorough comparison of the client’s covered retiree population against the Social Security DMF to determine if any covered retirees passed away without having the corresponding life claim filed with the insurance carrier.

We found that 425 retirees on the plan had passed away with no benefits being paid.

Outcome:

As a result of the review of the Social Security DMF, we determined that $4,855,624 in death benefits were due to be paid out to beneficiaries of these retirees. The current and previous insurance carrier will pay these benefits, as should have been done previously.

Other Highlights and Next Steps:

Pacific Resources will review the results of the DMF matching with the client’s current carrier and previous carrier to develop next steps for payment of benefits as well as the return of back premium to the client. With our partner, we can assist the client with beneficiary search. We will also work to identify the carrier(s) of record for the 22 death claims that are more than 10 years old.

Going forward, we will work with the carriers to develop an action plan to ensure that the death benefit process improves, including:

  • Requesting resources at the carriers to review the matches that were identified.
  • Reviewing the carriers’ processes for running insureds against the Social Security DMF.
  • Proposing that carriers document their processes and conduct refresher training for claims teams.