基恩的无人认领财产博客

西弗吉尼亚州法院裁定:没有法律义务检查DMF

西弗吉尼亚州巡回法院已裁定西弗吉尼亚州州财政部长裁定,根据西弗吉尼亚州的《无人认领财产法》(UPA),人寿保险公司没有法律义务搜索社会保障局的死亡主文件(“ DMF”)或其他第三方数据库为了确定人寿保险政策下的被保险人是否死亡。该裁决是在69家人寿保险公司提出动议以撤销 西弗吉尼亚州财务主管约翰·D·珀杜(John D.Perdue)对他们提出了69项个人投诉 (以下“State Treasurer”).  In filing the Complaints, the 国家司库 had sought to assess fines, penalties, interest, and attorneys’ fees against the Defendants for their willful, fraudulent, and/or negligent failure to comply with the UPA. Additionally, the 国家司库 sought injunctive relief requiring the Defendants to adopt policies and procedures utilizing the DMF or other similar databases.

针对保险公司的几乎相同的投诉称,被告人寿保险公司未遵守《西弗吉尼亚统一无人财产法》(W. Va。Code§§36-8-1等)的要求。 (“UPA”) and failed to turn over unclaimed 属性 to the 国家司库. The Complaints further alleged that the Defendants breached their statutory duties of good faith and fair dealing by failing to conduct annual examinations of life insurance policy holders to determine if they were deceased or whether three years past the applicable 限制年龄 had transpired making one’根据UPA支付的保单。国库部长断言,被告可以通过使用DMF搜索DMF或其他第三方数据库来轻松获得此信息。

首席法官约瑟夫·里德(Joseph Reeder)同意准予被告解散动议,并提供了详尽而详尽的法律分析。他首先提出了一个法律门槛问题:西弗吉尼亚州UPA是否制定了一项法定义务,要求人寿保险公司有义务定期搜索DMF或其他类似数据库,以确定其任何保单持有人是否死亡。

法定注意事项

最初,法院根据西弗吉尼亚州UPA的语言审查了州财政部长的论点。法院指出,UPA特别概述了何时从保险单中获得收益。“presumed abandoned” and therefore reportable to the State.  As it applies to life insurance proceeds, the UPA dictates that 属性 is 假定放弃 “产生付款义务后三年,或就死亡证明应支付的保单或年金而言,是在被保险人已达到或将要达到其生活水平的三年后,由储备金确定的死亡率表是基于。”W. Va。Code§36-8-2(a)(8)。基于这种用语,法院驳回了州财政部长关于UPA对保险公司施加搜查DMF责任的论点。法院特别裁定州财务主管的论点与UPA不符’s “limiting age”触发器,它明确提供了一种机制,该机制可在保险人从未收到索赔人的适当死亡证明的情况下,将无人认领的人寿保险收益汇至西弗吉尼亚州。

然后,法院根据《西弗吉尼亚州保险法》对UPA进行了分析,该法规定:“[t]here shall be a provision that when a policy shall become a claim by the death of the insured settlement shall be made upon 收到适当的死亡证明。”《保险法典》中的这一条款以保险人为条件’提出索赔时的责任,要求索赔人向保险人提供引起保险单责任的通知。

此外,法院认为,在同时阅读《 UPA》和《保险法》时,很明显,《 UPA》和《保险法》的规定“明确且彼此一致”。当法规清晰明确时,“法院有责任不解释但应适用法规。” Burrows v.Nationwide Mut。英斯有限公司., 215 W. Va. 668, 675, 600 S.E.2d 565, 572 (2004).  As a result, and based upon the plain meaning of those statutes, the Court found that the Defendants “have no obligation to surrender the life insurance proceeds under the UPA until the obligation to pay arises — either upon receipt of due proof of death or once the insured reaches the statutorily imposed 限制年龄.”

人寿保险何时应付款?

然后,法院解决了根据UPA何时应支付人寿保险财产的问题。 W. Va。Code§36-8-2(e)规定:“尽管拥有人,但就本条而言,财产是应付款还是可分配的’未能提出要求或出示其他要求付款的票据或文件。”但是,UPA定义了术语“property”因为它与人寿保险福利有关“保险人对人寿或养老保险单的欠款。 。 。支付义务产生三年后。”西维吉尼亚州的保险法要求人寿保险单中包含对保险人的条件付款’s “收到适当的死亡证明。” W. Va. Code § 33-13-14. The Court explained that therefore for life insurance proceeds, “there is no ‘property’ subject to or reportable under the UPA until the beneficiary has made a valid claim and submitted proof of death or the insured obtains the 限制年龄.”

法院进一步解释说,立法机关在明确定义时发言清晰明确“property”由人寿保险引起的“根据合同条款应付的款项。 。 。保险政策, ”并进一步定义了人寿保险收益何时“presumed abandoned.” Therefore, life insurance proceeds are reportable when they become 假定放弃 under § 36-8-2(a) of the UPA. Judge Reeder clearly states that any “attempt to rewrite the statute by creating a new category of 假定放弃 属性 should be addressed to the Legislature and not to the Court.”

搜索死亡主文件没有诚信要求

Next, the Court addressed that 国家司库’s argument that the UPA imposes a statutory duty of good faith that requires life insurance companies to search the DMF.  The Court points to the good faith requirements spelled out in W. Va. Code §36-8-10 and concludes that this provision creates a standard of good faith for a very specific purpose and that is to relieve a holder from liability when they make a good faith effort to comply with the requirements of the UPA. Judge Reeder states that “this section does not purport to alter the definition of 属性 假定放弃, nor does it in any way create a duty to search the DMF. Instead, this section relieves the holder of liability for complying or attempting to comply with the UPA in good faith.”  As a result, the Court holds that there is no general good faith requirement in the UPA that requires insurance companies to search the DMF.

其他政策论点

Finally, in addressing other policy arguments presented by the 国家司库, the Court held that it would not consider any additional policy arguments made because “those are arguments that must be addressed to the Legislature. Th[e] Court is not the appropriate forum to address such arguments.”

因此,法院批准了所有被告的动议。


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