Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wrote a letter to Prudential Financial Inc. CEO John Strangfeld demanding further investigation into the insurance policies the company sold through its joint venture with Wells Fargo & Co.
The Newark, N.J.-based insurer has been caught in a legal and regulatory conundrum after allegations surfaced that the company sold more than 15,000 policies via MyTerm, a plan through which the company sold policies to its Wells Fargo customer base.
Following a lawsuit filed by three former managers, Prudential suspended the sale of its MyTerm policies and said it would launch a probe to look into the matter.
Warren acknowledged in the letter that she wants to "investigate the full extent of abuses perpetrated against customers," and wants Prudential to disclose information regarding the policies sold through Wells Fargo beginning in January 2013. The demand is one in a series of reactions the insurer has faced since the issue arose. The allegations triggered regulatory probes from the states of New Jersey and California and could result in more impending lawsuits.
In her letter, Warren asked for all the documents and communication, including emails, reports and analyses related to the investigations that Prudential held to review the practices Wells Fargo followed while selling the life policies through its branches. Documents associated with the marketing and promotion of the policies, as well as those informing Prudential's employees that there were fraudulent sales, are also on Warren's list of demands.
Warren and Cummings, who is a ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told Strangfeld in the letter that they want to see the contracts the two institutions signed to authorize policy sales through the bank's branches and kiosks, along with other documents detailing income and profit from the transactions.
The Massachusetts senator has given the company until Jan. 13, 2017, to provide the required details. Prudential spokesman Scot Hoffman said the company would respond to Warren's request.
"If any Wells Fargo MyTerm customers have concerns about the way in which the product was purchased, we will reimburse the full amount of the premiums they paid and cancel the policy," Hoffman said in an email.