Tracking Down Beneficiaries of Life Insurance Policies
There are many cases where people purchase life insurance policies and then forget to keep up with the payments. In some cases, people may die without ever having told their loved ones about the policy. As a result, the policy becomes unclaimed property.
Unclaimed property is any insurance policy that has been inactive for a certain period of time, usually three to five years. The policyholder is considered the owner of unclaimed property, even if they are no longer alive.
According to the III, unclaimed life insurance policies are turned over to the state government for tracking down the beneficiaries, according to state law. When this happens, the unclaimed policy then becomes the property of the state in which it was purchased. The state will hold on to the unclaimed policy until the rightful owner comes forward to claim it.
Who's Responsibility is it to Track Down Beneficiaries?
In most cases, it is the responsibility of the insurance company to track down the beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance policies. The insurance company will usually start by searching their own records for the policyholder's next of kin.
However, if the insurance company is unable to locate any living relatives, they will then turn to the state unclaimed property office. The state unclaimed property office will have a list of all unclaimed life insurance policies in their database.
The insurance company or the state, whichever is applicable, reaches out to the beneficiaries and let them know that they are entitled to the unclaimed policy. They first try to get a hold of immediate family members, no matter where they are, followed by distant relations.
What is the Process for Claiming an Unclaimed Policy?
If you think you may be the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy, there are a three primary steps that you can take to find out:
- Check with the insurer: The first step is to contact the insurance company that issued the policy. You will need to provide them with the policyholder's name and date of birth. The insurance company will then search their records to see if they have any unclaimed policies in their system.
- Search the state unclaimed property database: If you are unable to find any information from the insurance company, you can then search the state unclaimed property database. This database will have a list of all unclaimed life insurance policies in the state. You can find this list at the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
- Contact the state unclaimed property office: If you find a life insurance policy that belongs to you, you will need to contact the state unclaimed property office to begin the claims process.
- The National Association of Insurance Commissioners can run a search for you if you are the beneficiary but don't know what life insurance company.
The unclaimed property office will require you to fill out a claim form and provide proof of your identity. Once your claim has been approved, you will be able to receive the benefits of the unclaimed life insurance policy.