SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Ute Indian Tribe is asking Utah state officials to investigate what they say is a widespread predatory life insurance scheme that targets vulnerable people on the reservation and ultimately leaves them without benefits.
The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation filed a complaint Wednesday with the Utah Department of Insurance against a number of life insurance companies, including the Iowa-based Midland National Life Insurance.
ABC4 reached out to Midland National for comment. The station has yet to hear back.
According to the tribe, the insurance companies and their agents have defrauded hundreds of tribal members through deceptive practices that led to members’ insurance policies lapsing without their knowledge.
“Tribal members have been paying on their policies for years, or even decades, only to make claims on the policies and discover they no longer have insurance benefits,” the tribe said, in a statement. “This is directly attributable to the insurance companies, who turn a blind eye to their agents` misconduct, ignore legal requirements to maintain insurance records, and refuse to provide their policyholders information even when directly asked to do so.”
Julius T. Murray, III, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee, said the tribe will take all necessary steps to hold these insurance companies accountable for what they describe as a “predatory” scheme.
“It is particularly deplorable that these bad actors have targeted and taken money from Tribal elders who relied on these policies to take care of family needs after their deaths,” he said, in a statement.
The tribe said that it expects the Utah Department of Insurance, which licenses the companies and their agents, to take swift action in response to the complaint.
ABC4 sent an inquiry to the department for comment, but has yet to hear back.