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UPDATE 2-Insurer AIG to pay $12 mln fine for NY pension transfers

(Adds context and NYDFS comment)

Feb 1 (Reuters) - American International Group agreed on Monday to pay a $12 million civil fine to settle charges that it conducted life insurance business in New York without a license.

The settlement is the second to result from an investigation by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) into life insurers that take over corporate pension plans.

An AIG life insurance unit, American General Life Insurance Company, entered into four large-scale deals involving such plans and bid on several others between January 2014 and June 2019 without being licensed in New York, the regulator said.

“A DFS license offers consumers peace of mind through the requirement of compliance with New York laws and regulations, helping to safeguard assets,” said NYDFS superintendent Linda Lacewell.

“The department will continue to vigorously enforce the law to protect retirement assets of New Yorkers.”

AIG will transfer the handling of such transactions to a New York-based subsidiary, the regulator added.

In a typical pension-risk transfer deal, a life insurer takes on a pension plan’s assets and liabilities, betting that it will make more on investments than it pays out to scheme members.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter,” an AIG spokesman said.

There has been no disruption for AIG’s pension risk-transfer corporate clients or for their New York-based retirement plan participants, who will continue to receive benefit payments as usual, the AIG spokesman said.

Athene Holding was the first insurer to agree a settlement in the New York regulator’s investigation, paying a $45 million civil fine last year to settle charges that it conducted insurance business in New York without a license. (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn Editing by Will Dunham and David Goodman)

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