If people who holds Life Insurance policies sometimes fail to tell their family members who may benefit from it. That means if you are the beneficiary of a Life Insurance policy you may never get what is rightfully due to you. An North America you can estimate that millions upon millions of dollars have gone unclaimed as a result of the beneficiary or executor not knowing about a Life Insurance policy.
In the United States seven states have proposed legislation requiring insurance companies to search for the beneficiaries of policies. Many insurance companies now search to social security administration’s master death file to identify policyholders that are now deceased. It ensures due diligence on the part of Life Insurance companies that they have tried reasonable efforts to locate beneficiaries and allow them to make the claim. Their efforts must also be documented by the insurer to provide evidence to the state. While this is good in many cases the beneficiary that cannot be found starts the clock ticking for the dormancy period that occurs before the state receives the benefits of the policy.
Family members and beneficiaries can employ the following strategies to try and find Life Insurance policies:
- Contact the insurance broker that the deceased may have used.
- Contact former employers to see if there is any coverage from workplace policies,
- Contact lawyers and banks who may have records of the deceased.
- Look for other Life Insurance policies. These documents will have the application attached and the application should list any other Life Insurance policies that the deceased had at the time of application.
- Appropriate people should look through the residence of the deceased for insurance documents. If the deceased had any known storage places like a filing cabinet, safety deposit box or other storage to see if legal documents are kept at these locations.
- Look for the deceased’s telephone and address book to see if any insurance companies were listed.
- Talk to Financial Advisers such as attorneys and accountants or a business insurance agent. These people may have the knowledge of the deceased financial position including insurance.
- Look through bank records to determine if a regular payment was being made to insurance company.
- Keep an eye on the deceased mail for insurance statements or premium notices. Even if the policy was a paid up the insurance company will send an annual statement. You will need to check the mail for a full year.
- Review the deceased tax returns for the last two or three years to determine if any insurance dividends or investments that were made through insurance companies are listed.
- You can check with the state’s unclaimed property office to see if there’s any record of benefits being paid to the state as beneficiaries.
- Check with M.I.B. Inc. Their database has over 190,000,000 applications for insurance in its database . There is a fee to use the service of around $75.00. This database stems back approximately 13 years so if the application was made before that it may not be found but you will still owe the $75.00 administration fee.
- One last attempt can be made with a private firm that specialises in locating insurance policies. The fee will vary between organizations so review what they are offering and compare to make an informed decision.
- You can also contact insurance companies directly and while there are a lot of them you can find a directory of insurance companies and the local library.
When contacting lawyers and banks is important that you have legal documents such as the death certificate and The Will that outlines the executor of the estate. These people and organizations have a legal requirement to keep documents private unless you are entitled to view them.
If you’re reading this remember the lesson within. If you hold Life Insurance in your portfolio here are some tips to make it easier for a beneficiary to find the policies after your death. While death may seem a far way off today you must remember that circumstances can change in an instant and your loved ones will never know about policies for you take steps to make sure they’re found. Keep a record in your house, and your safety deposit box and a copy of the records with a lawyer who has your will. Ensure there are records that can be easily accessed such as your Paypal Account name and password.