You're reading too much into this. The reserves that insurance companies must hold to satisfy claims is regulated by states. Additionally, while the story is emotional, Prudential wouldn't have prevented her from withdrawing the money and doing as she wished with the (sure the checks may be obsolete) entire amount.
Again, reading the whole story there is nothing preventing each claimant to withdraw the total they are entitled to at any time. They may choose to leave it with the policy insurer for a below market interest rate if they choose, but, that doesn't make Prudential evil. Truthfully, if she had taken the money out and put it in a 'safe' place in 2008 and invested in the equities markets, she would be worse off.
I am sympathetic that insurance companies shouldn't be abusing the situation, yet all the better for the company if they can provide 1% interest for her and make 4% for themselves... that is her choice.
Similar to people who bought houses they couldn't afford and then blamed the mortgage brokers... A little research and self-responsibility goes a long way...
besides, if its her money - she should get the interest...not the insurance company - maybe too many people are concerned with their own riches and stocks rather than people whose families make sacrifices for us.. what isnt right - isnt right... no corporate lingo explanation needed..