Nearly two dozen states have reached an agreement with the John Hancock Life Insurance Company to settle a dispute over how the company pays life insurance policies and annuities. John Hancockâ€™s executive vice president and general counsel, Jonathan Chiel, said Friday that the company would improve its claims practices under the agreement with 22 states and the District of Columbia. He said the settlement was reached Thursday. The move comes after an audit by 35 states and the District of Columbia alleged abuses with life insurance policies and annuity contracts. The California controllerâ€™s office revealed the settlement in a statement released on Friday.