In a blogger's note in No. 300 (December 17, 2018), I said I was taking a vacation for two or three months. I decided, however, to report now on significant recent developments relating to lost pensioners.
MetLife, Inc. is a major player in the pension risk transfer business, where employers transfer some or all of their employee pension obligations to insurance companies by purchasing group annuity contracts. Prudential Financial, Inc. is another major player in that business.
During 2018 I posted seven items about lost pensioners in general and about lost pensioners at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of MetLife, in particular: Nos. 246, 252, 254, 256, 259, 279, and 293. In No. 252 I reported MetLife's disclosure that it had informed the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), which is Metropolitan Life's primary state regulator, about the company's problems with lost pensioners in the pension risk transfer business.
The New York Press Release
On January 28, 2019, DFS issued a press release announcing that MetLife will pay a $19.75 million fine and provide $189 million in restitution to group annuity contract certificate holders for failures related to the company's pension risk transfer business. The press release and the accompanying consent order are in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post.
The New York Consent Order
DFS performed a market conduct examination of MetLife for the period January 1, 2009 to February 21, 2018, and a supplemental review of the company's pension risk transfer business. DFS plans to issue a report on the examination.
The first section of the consent order is "Findings." It lists several failures by MetLife from 1992 to 2018. Among them, for example, are a failure in certain instances to reserve for outstanding group annuity contracts; a failure to locate, contact, and pay group annuity contract certificate holders; a failure to adequately search for New York group annuity contract certificate holders; and a failure to turn over unclaimed property to the appropriate state. The consent order also lists failures from 2009 to 2018. Among them are a failure to timely search for group annuity contract beneficiaries, a failure to confirm the deaths of group annuity contract holders, and a failure to turn over unclaimed property to the appropriate state.
The second section of the consent order is "Violations." It lists violations of many New York statutes and regulations.
The third section of the consent order is "Agreement." For example, it requires MetLife to maintain full statutory reserves for group annuity contracts, pay retroactive benefits with interest from the normal retirement date, and establish procedures to maintain accurate records of current and future group annuity contract certificate holders.
The Massachusetts Consent Order
In No. 279 I reported that the Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division filed, on June 25, 2018, an administrative complaint against MetLife, Inc. relating to lost pensioners in the pension risk transfer business. On December 18, 2018, the Securities Division filed a consent order that is similar in many respects to the New York consent order discussed above. Massachusetts required MetLife to pay an administrative fine of $1 million and enter into undertakings similar but not identical to those in the New York consent order. The Massachusetts consent order is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post.
The New York consent order applies in most respects to group annuity certificate holders everywhere, and in some respects to group annuity contract certificate holders only in New York. The Massachusetts consent order applies only to group annuity certificate holders in Massachusetts. At this time, I am not aware of any regulatory actions taken by other states. However, the undertakings required in the New York consent order will have a significant effect on group annuity contract certificate holders everywhere.
MetLife's Public Filings
In its 10-Q report filed November 8, 2018 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the quarter ended September 30, 2018, MetLife disclosed the then ongoing investigations in New York and Massachusetts. The relevant excerpts from the 10-Q report are in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post.
As of the close of business on February 1, 2018 (four business days after New York issued its consent order), MetLife has not disclosed the consent order in an 8-K (significant event) report filed with the SEC. Nor has MetLife disclosed in an 8-K report the Massachusetts consent order issued December 18, 2018.
The next major report MetLife will file with the SEC is the 10-K report for the year ended December 31, 2018. That report will be filed on or about March 1, 2019, and probably will disclose details of the New York consent order and the Massachusetts consent order.
I am offering a 28-page complimentary package consisting of the New York press release (2 pages), the New York consent order (12 pages), the Massachusetts consent order (13 pages), and excerpts from MetLife's 10-Q report for the third quarter of 2018 (1 page). Send an e-mail to email@example.com and ask for the February 2019 package about the New York and Massachusetts consent orders relating to lost pensioners.