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August 12, 2015

How Will WV Supreme Court Ruling on Unclaimed Property Impact Property Rights?

The Legal Intelligencer writes about the West Virginia Supreme Court’s June 16th ruling in Perdue v. Nationwide Life Insurance, in which the court ruled “that the state’s unclaimed-property statute trumped contract terms and regulatory law, imposing affirmative duties on insurers.”

In that case, the West Virginia Treasurer had filed actions against 69 insurers for allegedly “violating the state’s unclaimed-property laws” by allegedly failing to “truthfully report” unclaimed property with respect to life-insurance benefits. The implications of this ruling, writes the Intelligencer, could “extend beyond the insurance industry to upset virtually any contract defining property rights.”

The article notes ILR’s April 2014 report, “Best Practices for State Administrators and the Use of Private Audit Firms,” which highlights states’ increasing use of private audit firms that “have taken an increasingly aggressive approach to the interpretation and enforcement of unclaimed-property laws.”

Read the full story here.

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