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When MetLife admitted last year that it failed to pay pensions to deserving people, the company said it owed beneficiaries an average of $150 a month.
But according to a new lawsuit, MetLife owes more like $500 million. What's more, the attorneys say, the payments are long overdue.
In Roycroft v. MetLife, Inc., the complaint alleges the company has delayed paying some beneficiaries for up to 25 years. By the time it gets sorted out, many of them could be dead.
In December, the company said the problem was that people moved, changed jobs, or otherwise became unreachable based on currently available information." It was also a red flag for earnings, reports said, because the company would have to strengthen reserves to make up for missed payments.
The lawsuit, filed in New York, takes it to another level. The complaint says MetLife is dragging its feet on overdue payments.
"Indeed, as acknowledged by MetLife, this problem 'goes back 25 years,' meaning that some unpaid beneficiaries were 65 years old 25 years ago and would be 90 years old today," the complaint says.
According to reports, MetLife will defend itself "vigorously."
Edward Roycroft, the named plaintiff in the proposed class action, is 75 years old. He retired in 1999, but called the company in 2011 to find out what was going on with his benefits.
MetLife acknowledged his claim, the complaint says, but did not acknowledge his payments were 13 years late. The company sent him a check for $2,508, but did not account for the late payment or interest, the complaint says.
If the lawsuit was not enough, the SEC is investigating the company over its failure to make pension payments.
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