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Our Question:  What is the practice of other insurance companies in
researching lapsed policy status for health policies sold to individuals?
How many years back should a customer service representative be expected to
search for this information?

Background:  In the past, the complete records of lapsed policy information
has been retained electronically for the longest period required by any
state, currently six years after termination due to New York requirements.
Then, basic information such as policy number, claim number, lapse date,
etc. have been moved to COM fiche and stored to answer policyholder
requests or for correspondence identification.  (Yes, there are even
handwritten cards that predate the fiche system, so we can tell someone
when a health policy lapsed in 1942,  but no retention was ever set on the
cards or fiche.)  There are requests for the lapse date on policies in the
1980's and very rarely going back into the 1960's.

Now, the COM fiche reports will be shut off and moved to an online
reporting system which will require a retention.  We feel any regulatory or
legal requirements are being met with the full policy information being
kept online for the required period, but want to give excellent customer
service without keeping these records for 60+ years!  There has to be a
point at which we will say "I'm so sorry, but we only keep these records xx
years.".

Our customer service area has asked me to see what other companies are
doing in a similar situations and we appreciate any information you can
provide.

Joanna Blackburn, CRM
The Mutual of Omaha Insurance Companies
Omaha, Nebraska

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