Nearly 98,000 Ohio consumers could be eligible for a cash settlement from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. under a new nationwide legal settlement, the Ohio Department of Insurance said Friday.
The tentative settlement requires final approval from the U.S. District Court in New York.
The proposed agreement settles a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in the sale of MetLife policies written between 1901 and 1972. Ohio consumers would get about $8.6 million from a nationwide settlement that could amount to as much as $160 million.
Ohioans who currently carry life insurance under certain policies would receive increased benefits or a cash settlement, and those who have received a death or maturity benefit would get a cash settlement. Most policyholders whose policies ended for other reasons would receive five years of free death benefit coverage and some would get cash.
The policies were issued to minorities and include:
Industrial polices sold door-to-door between 1901 and 1964 with face amounts of less than $1,000.
Ordinary policies with less-than-standard risk classifications sold from 1901 to 1972.
Metropolitan Series polices issued from 1960-72 with face amounts between $4,500 and $5,000.
New York-based Metropolitan Life would also initiate a $6 million outreach initiative and donate $5 million to the United Negro College Fund under the accord.