Ind. Teachers Sue Association Consultant, Metlife

February 21, 2007

Several northwestern Indiana teachers have sued Metlife and a consultant to the Indiana State Teachers Association, accusing the defendants of rigging retirement options to favor the financial services company.

The lawsuit contends that Metlife paid an ISTA unit to promote Metlife over other insurance options in a bid to control up to $1 billion in retirement funds.

Attorney Glenn Vician of Merrillville represents five teachers from Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties in the case file Friday in Lake County. It seeks class-action status.

“We’ve uncovered evidence we believe shows Metlife was involved in a broad conspiracy to solicit teacher retirement funds by deceptive practices,” Vician said. “They (Indiana teachers) were many times approving in investing in Metlife even though their prices were higher and rate of return lower.”

The lawsuit alleges Metlife and the Indiana Teachers’ Financial Services Corp. violated the Indiana Securities Act and a state consumer protection statute.

It states that in 2006, one of Metlife’s investment plans cost members about 30 percent more in annual fees than comparable plans, but the consultant group touted the Metlife plan as the best available without divulging all information to teachers.

The Associated Press left telephone messages seeking comment Monday with a Metlife spokesman and the state teachers association.

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