Washington has joined a national class-action settlement against Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. for race-based underwriting practices during the years 1901-1972.
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in an announcement that more than 67,000 policies are known to have been sold in Washington, with a potential settlement value of almost $800,000.
The suit covers MetLife insurance policies with face values of $1,000 to $5,000, which were sold door-to-door in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
The total class-action settlement is estimated at $140 million, which could be shared between holders of about 1.8 million policies, Kreidler said.
The settlement covers polices that are currently in force, as well as polices that have been terminated by death, endowment, surrender or lapse. Heirs and beneficiaries of deceased policyholders may also be eligible for restitution.
MetLife is required to automatically provide settlement benefits to all policies that are currently in force, that have been terminated by death within the past seven years, and those polices which have otherwise terminated since January 1989, Kreidler said. In addition, MetLife will make a $5 million donation to the United Negro College Fund.