Cincinnati Insurer Settles Lawsuit Alleging Minorities Overcharged

July 12, 2006

The Ohio Insurance Department this week said that about 25,000 minorities in North Carolina could be eligible for benefits as a result of a settlement with Western and Southern Life Insurance Co.

An investigation led by Ohio insurance regulators and involving North Carolina officials found that the Cincinnati-based company charged higher premiums to black customers for various life insurance policies from the 1950s through the 1970s.

The review covered Western and Southern Life and eight companies it acquired. Most of the policies in North Carolina were issued by either American Life of Baltimore or Imperial Life of Asheville.

The company said all eligible in-force policies were adjusted by February. Eligible policyholders are to receive increased policy benefits and a $25 payment.

Settlement notifications were mailed in early June. To receive benefits, policyholders have to get their claim forms to the company’s office by July 1, 2007. The company’s toll-free number is (877) 874-7563.

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