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MetLife Settles Improper Payment Probe

Posted on 19 Apr 2010

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MetLife Inc. will pay $13.5 million to settle charges it made improper payments to an insurance broker in San Diego, the Department of Justice said late last week.

U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt said in a news release that the payment is part of a settlement with the government.

The payments were made between 1999 and 2005. Neither the 15-page agreement nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office identified the San Diego-based insurance brokerage that received the payments or the firm’s CEO.

According to the settlement, MetLife made millions in improper payments to the brokerage in order to get the business of the firm’s clients. The brokerage firm dealt with large companies, helping them find insurance companies that could provide life, health and disability benefits for their employees.

The improper payments were made so the brokerage would steer large clients to MetLife, according to the settlement agreement.

They were termed “special fees” or “override payments” and were never disclosed to MetLife’s customers or the government as required by law.