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Taking the initiative: Tips for locating a lost life insurance policy

Tue Jun 14th, 2016 on     Insurance Law,    

Back in April, our blog reported on a new Florida law now in effect that’s designed to combat unscrupulous tactics by insurance companies concerning payouts on life insurance policies. Specifically, the practice of insurance companies actively searching death records for annuity recipients in order to facilitate the stoppage of payments, while simultaneously making no effort to identify deceased policyholders whose unclaimed benefits could still be claimed by unwitting beneficiaries.

To recap, the law requires insurance companies to compare records of all life insurance policies dating back to 1992 with the Social Security Death Master File, and, in the event a match is made, attempt to contact any named beneficiaries for five years. If no beneficiaries can be located within this timeframe, policy funds are then to be turned over to Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property, where they can be claimed in perpetuity.

As laudable as this new law is, chances are good that some people understandably don’t trust the efforts of the insurance companies and, accordingly, want to determine on their own whether they might be a beneficiary on a long forgotten life insurance policy.

According to experts, there are a few simple steps that people can take in order to accomplish this:

  • Carefully monitor the mail for the next year for communication from a life insurance company if your loved one recently passed away.
  • Carefully search your deceased loved one’s records for evidence of a life insurance policy. This means not only a copy of the policy, but also things like tax returns reporting interest income from life insurers or bank statements showing payments made to life insurers.
  • Contact the human resources departments at your loved one’s former places of employment and/or professional associations to see if any policies were valid at the time of their passing.
  • Contact the unclaimed property offices of states in which your deceased loved one resided.

Another perhaps unsolicited suggestion offered by these experts for anyone who has purchased life insurance is to take steps to inform their named beneficiary of the policy in order to avoid these situations or, at the very least, inform a trusted party, such as an attorney or accountant, of its existence.

Please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options if an insurance company has unfairly delayed or denied the benefits of a life insurance policy.

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