Steuart Thomsen

Steuart Thomsen

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

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NAIC Unclaimed Benefits Model Drafting (A) Subgroup Identifies Key Model Law Issues

On May 29, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (the NAIC) Unclaimed Benefits Model Drafting (A) Subgroup (the Subgroup) met to discuss regulator and industry materials submitted to the Subgroup and identified...more

6/11/2015 - Death Master Files Life Insurance NAIC Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act

Unclaimed Property Audit Primer for Broker-Dealers

Background - The same State Treasurers and contingency-fee unclaimed property auditors that focused on the life insurance industry are now turning their attention to broker-dealers. Sutherland has been actively...more

4/29/2015 - Audits Insurance Brokers Insurance Industry Life Insurance Unclaimed Property

Challenge to Delaware Unclaimed Property Estimation Methods Allowed to Proceed

A lawsuit challenging the unclaimed property estimation methodology used by the State of Delaware and its auditor Kelmar Associates will proceed, according to a ruling issued by a Delaware federal district court on March 11....more

3/13/2015 - Assessment Audits Due Process Preemption Unclaimed Property

Unclaimed Property Issues Under Debate as Uniform Law Commission Rewrites the Uniform Act

Proposed revisions to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act were under debate this past week in Washington, DC as the Uniform Law Commission (ULC or Commission) Committee to Revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (Drafting...more

3/4/2015 - Legislative Agendas Legislative Committees Unclaimed Property

Life Insurance Unclaimed Property Recommendations of the Uniform Law Commission Working Group

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) Life Insurance Working Group (Working Group) has released its recommendations to revise the life insurance provisions of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act of 1995 (1995 Uniform Act or...more

3/2/2015 - Insurance Industry Life Insurance Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act Unclaimed Property

Ninth Circuit Rejects Challenge to Bonus Annuity

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed summary judgment for the insurer in a putative RICO class action relating to a bonus indexed annuity. Rejecting the plaintiff’s claims, the court held that the...more

2/27/2015 - Annuities Class Action Insurance Companies Insurers RICO

Broker-Dealers Face Unique Challenges Under Unclaimed Property Laws, Says New SIFMA White Paper

On January 23, 2015, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) released a new white paper outlining the unique and varied challenges broker-dealers face when complying with state unclaimed property...more

1/29/2015 - Broker-Dealer Securities SIFMA Unclaimed Property White Paper

Supreme Court Holds Dismissal of Individual Case in MDL Proceedings Is Immediately Appealable

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held yesterday in Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp., No. 13-1174, that an order disposing of an individual case previously consolidated with other cases for multidistrict litigation (MDL)...more

1/22/2015 - Antitrust Litigation Appeals Banks Gelboim v Bank of America Multidistrict Litigation Putative Class Actions SCOTUS

Supreme Court Simplifies Removal from State Courts

Yesterday, the Supreme Court relieved decades of uncertainty concerning the filing requirements for removal of cases to federal court from state court by holding that a defendant is required only to file “a short and plain...more

12/16/2014 - CAFA Class Action Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens Federal Jurisdiction Notice Requirements Removal SCOTUS

Final Deadline Imminent for Enrolling in Delaware VDA Program

The enrollment period for the Delaware Secretary of State’s Voluntary Disclosure Agreement Program (the Delaware VDA Program) for unclaimed property reporting closes next week on September 30, 2014. Delaware has previously...more

9/23/2014 - Audits Deadlines Enrollment Reporting Requirements Unclaimed Property

Insurance Industry Sweeps Retained Asset Account Doubleheader

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Ass. Co. of Canada, No. 13–2090, 2014 WL 4197947 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2014), that an insurer, acting as a claims administrator,...more

8/29/2014 - Appeals Employee Benefits ERISA Insurers Life Insurance Retained Asset Accounts

Florida Court of Appeal Holds Insured’s Death Alone Does Not Trigger Unclaimed Property Law Obligations

In an opinion filed August 5, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal held that Florida’s unclaimed property law does not make life insurance proceeds due and payable at the time of the insured’s death and does not impose an...more

8/7/2014 - Insureds Life Insurance Unclaimed Property

Idaho Unclaimed Property Rule: Insurers Must Confirm Whether Insureds Have Died

In a recently issued notice of rulemaking, the Idaho State Treasurer’s Office has proposed a temporary rule that, if permanently adopted, would alter two key definitional provisions in the state’s unclaimed property laws...more

7/2/2014 - Abandonment Annuities Life Insurance Proposed Regulation Unclaimed Property

First Circuit: Proof of Death Prerequisite to Payment of Life Benefits

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has confirmed that proof of death is a reasonable requirement for payment under a life insurance policy, and is a prerequisite to monies becoming “payable” under unclaimed...more

5/29/2014 - Class Action Denial of Benefits Life Insurance

Life Insurance Unclaimed Property Litigation in 2014: Will Regulator Positions Withstand Judicial Scrutiny

Amidst ongoing multistate unclaimed property audits of many life insurers, and despite many regulatory settlements, the insurance industry and state regulators continue to disagree over the application of unclaimed property...more

5/27/2014 - Death Master Files Life Insurance Preliminary Injunctions Unclaimed Property

Cost of Insurance Litigation -- District Court Says Stick to Enumerated Factors

In a class action challenging a cost of insurance (COI) rate increase, a New York federal district court has stated that an insurer may only consider factors specifically enumerated in the policy when raising COI rates on a...more

5/1/2014 - Class Action COI Rates Premiums Summary Judgment

Access to Recent DMF Data Restricted to Certified Persons Starting Today

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS) put into effect a certification program required for any person or entity seeking to access information during the three-year period...more

3/27/2014 - Data Protection Death Master Files Social Security

Legal Alert: NCOIL Unclaimed Property Task Force Springs Into Action; Co-Chair Keiser Seeks Proposed Changes to Model Unclaimed...

On Friday, March 7, 2014, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ (NCOIL) Unclaimed Property Task Force (Task Force) met in-person at NCOIL’s spring meeting. Led by the Task Force’s Co-Chair George Keiser (ND), the...more

3/11/2014 - Life Insurance Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act

Are we headed toward “Basic writ small”?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the closely watched Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., No. 13-317, which places in the Court’s crosshairs the continued viability of the fraud-on-the-market...more

3/7/2014 - Basic v Levinson Fraud-on-the-Market Halliburton Halliburton v Erica P. John Fund SCOTUS

No SLUSA Protection Absent Material Connection With Sale/Purchase of Covered Security

In Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice, the U.S. Supreme Court held on February 26, 2014, that the victims of Allen Stanford’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme can proceed with their claims against law firms, insurance brokers,...more

3/3/2014 - Banks Chadbourne & Parke LLP v Troice Fraud Ponzi Scheme SCOTUS SLUSA

NCOIL Holds First Unclaimed Property Task Force Meeting; Cooperation With NAIC Proposed

On Monday, February 17, 2014, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ (NCOIL) Unclaimed Property Task Force (Task Force) conducted its first conference call. Co-chaired by two past NCOIL presidents, Representatives...more

2/19/2014 - Insurers Legislative Agendas NAIC

Insurance Topics We Will Be Watching in 2014

With the first month of the year behind us, this report outlines major insurance topics that we will be watching throughout 2014. Forces, trends and events that we believe will affect regulation, transactions and...more

2/7/2014 - Affordable Care Act Casualty Insurance Federal Insurance Office Healthcare Healthcare Reform Insurance Reform Insurers NAIC Property Insurance Reinsurance

State Attorney General Parens Patriae Actions Are Not Removable to Federal Court as CAFA “Mass Actions”

This week the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp. that parens patriae actions in which the State is the sole plaintiff are not “mass actions” under the Class Action Fairness...more

1/17/2014 - CAFA Class Action Mass Action Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Parens Patriae Removal Rule 23 SCOTUS

West Virginia Trial Court: No Duty to Search the Death Master File

In a substantial victory for the life insurance industry on the unclaimed property issue, a West Virginia Circuit Court has held that insurers have no duty to search the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File...more

1/7/2014 - Death Master Files Life Insurance Unclaimed Property

Legal Alert: Cost of Insurance Litigation – Insurers Retain Discretion to Set COI Rates in Two Key Victories

In the first federal appellate decisions addressing cost of insurance (COI) charges in life insurance policies, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals handed two victories to insurers in opinions issued December 13, 2013. In...more

12/19/2013 - Class Action COI Rates Insurers Life Insurance Motion to Dismiss Premiums

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