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I have been the executor of the estates of several of my family members who passed away over the last several years. One of the difficulties in settling the estates was tracking down all the information needed.
The Life Insurance Policy Locator Service from the NAIC enables beneficiaries, executors, or legal representatives of a deceased person to locate life insurance policies and annuity contracts of their late family members, clients, or friends.
I recently received a press release from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance highlighting the benefit to consumers of the service. As of May 31, 2020, Tennesseans submitted a total of 1,102 requests to the NAIC for help this year, and more than half of those requests (678) were matched to life insurance benefits. In 2019 over $27 million was located for Tennesseans through this tool.
As many of you know, lack of preparation about being a life insurance beneficiary is a common occurrence among Americans of all ages. According to a recent NAIC survey, only 22% of Generation Z say they are prepared to be a life insurance beneficiary. Despite the fact that 45% of Generation Z (18–23 years old) surveyed say they are listed as a beneficiary on a friend or relative’s life insurance policy, just 22% say they are prepared with the information they need. According to the survey, just 23% of Generation Z beneficiaries say they know where the policy is stored, and only 25% know the name of the insurance carrier.
This lack of preparation, including awareness of beneficiary status and basic policy information, leads to millions of dollars in unclaimed life insurance benefits each year.
The locator service does not track beneficiary information or claim payment after matches are reported. The total claim amount only includes the amount reported by companies tied to a match.
You should counsel your clients to first look through papers or financial records to possibly find where payments have been made to an insurance company. If any of the documents reference payments made to an insurance company, consumers should call the companies directly to see if a policy can be located.
To make a request, visit the NAIC’s website and complete a request form. Once the request has been made, the NAIC will send the policyholder’s information to all licensed life insurance companies in your state.
When a request is received, the NAIC will:
- Ask participating companies to search their records to determine whether they have a life insurance policy or annuity contract in the name of the deceased.
- Ask participating companies that have policy information to respond to the requester if the requester is the designated beneficiary or is authorized to receive information.
- The company will respond within 60 days if a match is found.
For more detailed information on how to complete the request form, see the Frequently Asked Questions.
What other tools do you use to help clients when a death occurs?