Nationwide, 7 states agree over unclaimed benefits

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio is one of seven states that will share $7.2 million from insurer Nationwide under an agreement over death benefits that go unclaimed.

The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/UUQ7hB ) reports Nationwide has identified more than 4,700 unclaimed death benefits and paid $144 million to beneficiaries since the start of a joint investigation by the states. It began with allegations that insurers held back payouts despite knowing policyholders had died.

California, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania also are involved. It's not clear exactly how much money each state will get.

The agreement requires Nationwide to take steps that include cross-checking its insurance files with Social Security information.

Nationwide denies wrongdoing. A spokesman says its companies cooperated in the process.

Three other insurance companies previously reached agreement over unclaimed death benefits.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com