For Immediate Release - September 26, 2014

Life Insurance Company to Refund Seniors Over $550,000 for Alleged Sales of Unsuitable Insurance Policies and Annuities

John Hancock Life Insurance Company Will Make 145 Additional Refund Offers

BOSTON – John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), along with its subsidiary broker-dealer, has agreed to refund senior citizens in Massachusetts more than $550,000 to settle allegations that it failed to supervise one if its representatives, James E. Moniz, permitting him to sell unsuitable variable life insurance policies, variable annuities, and other insurance and financial products, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

The assurance of discontinuance, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, also requires John Hancock to make 145 additional refund and penalty waiver offers to consumers, primarily seniors, who purchased certain variable annuities and variable life insurance policies from Moniz. John Hancock will also make a payment of $165,000 to the Commonwealth.

According to the settlement, Moniz developed an association with a mortgage broker from a separate company to induce senior clients to take out reverse mortgages and invest the proceeds in unsuitable variable annuities. As a result of the AG’s investigation, it is alleged that John Hancock unfairly failed to effectively supervise Moniz’s marketing and sales practices.  In October 2013, John Hancock terminated Moniz for conduct uncovered during the investigation. 

Consumers should be aware that using funds from a reverse mortgage to invest in financial products like annuities is always risky. Variable life insurance policies and variable annuities may not be appropriate investments for older individuals because of steep surrender and withdrawal penalties.  Before purchasing any financial product, consumers should always ask questions and make sure that they understand the investment risks, read any forms that they sign, and never sign blank forms. 

John Hancock cooperated with the Attorney General’s Office throughout this investigation. Consumers seeking more information about this settlement can contact the Attorney General’s Insurance and Financial Services Division at 1-888-830-6277. As part of the settlement, John Hancock will issue letters to certain consumers affected by Moniz’s marketing and sales practices with refund and penalty waiver offers. John Hancock will also provide personnel with additional training designed to prevent and detect this type of misconduct.

This investigation was handled by Assistant Attorney General Tiffany Bartz and Legal Analysts Lynda Freshman and John-Michael Partesotti, all of Attorney General Coakley’s Insurance and Financial Services Division.