Metropolitan Life / MetLife - Missing Policy Search
Metropolitan Life / MetLife Missing Policies and Unclaimed Demutualization Compensation Payments
On April 7, 2000, Metropolitan Life made the conversion from a mutual life insurance company to a stock life insurance company. Over eleven million policyholders became eligible to receive trust interests representing shares of common stock held in the Metropolitan Life Policyholder Trust, cash, or an adjustment to their policy values in the form of policy credits. Only 25% of eligible policyholders actually voted for the plan, and MetLife Inc. estimates 60 million shares of stock arising from its demutualization - worth $855 million at the time of the IPO and significantly more today - have gone unclaimed.
Demutualization is the process of converting a mutual life insurance company, owned by its policyholders, to a publicly traded stock company owned by shareholders, pursuant to a plan of conversion approved by government regulators.
The amount paid to each policyholder is based on a number of factors, including length of time the policy has been in force, face value of the policy, and total premiums paid. For many policyholders, the windfall arising from demutualization can be substantial, but millions of missing policyholders and heirs aren't aware they are entitled to receive compensation.
The Initial Public Offering consisted of 202 million shares priced at $14.25. Eligible policyholders were entitled to receive 494 million shares. Compensation took the form of a fixed component of 10 MetLife Inc. common shares, as well as a variable component based on policy value. Lost policyholders were to receive cash compensation of $14.25 per share entitlement. In the first year after the initial public offering, the price of a MetLife common share increased 98%.
Note: In March 2017, MetLife USA life insurance policies and annuity contracts were transferred to Brighthouse Financial. MetLife shareholders became eligible to receive a distribution of one share of Brighthouse Financial (BHF) for every 11 shares owned as of the record date.
Between one-quarter and one-half of all life insurance policies go unclaimed, because it is generally up to family members to notify the insurance company when a policyholder dies, and virtually no effort is made to find lost beneficiaries.
In addition, several million missing policyholders and heirs aren't aware they are entitled to receive this demutualization compensation. Contact efforts were unsuccessful, due to name changes after marriage or divorce, unreported changes of address , expired postal forwarding orders and non-current beneficiary information.
By law, unclaimed policy benefits, including demutualization compensation, are remitted to the custody of a government trust account until claimants come forward. Last year government custodians collected $22.8 billion, of which less than $1 billion was claimed.
It is highly recommended that current and former policyholders and heirs - the majority of whom are unaware they're entitled to unclaimed policy benefits, stock & cash - initiate an Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy Search
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