Life Insurance Policies - Unclaimed Benefits
The Vermont State Treasurer's Office has received more than $2 million in unclaimed property as the result of a national multi-state initiative to require life insurance companies to pay out on old, sometimes forgotten, policies of people who have died. The money represents previously unreported insurance accounts that were being held by companies because no one had claimed them at the time the policyholder died.
Useful Links in Searching for Lost Life Insurance Policies
DFR can help you check the licensure of an insurance company or individual. They also provide links to private companies that, for a fee, will help you contact insurance companies in your search for potential lost policies.
You can search the unclaimed property databases of other states to see if there is financial property being held for you or your loved one.
NAIC and the Center for Insurance Policy and Research offers tips and links to identify and track down an insurance company.
MetLife has set up this web page to assist you in checking for an unclaimed MetLife life insurance policy.
The company offers a link on this page to submit an account request to initiate an inquiry into a lost or unclaimed life insurance policy.
At this search page, you may look to see whether you or a member of your family is entitled to any insurance policy payouts, dividend checks and premium refunds that were mailed to policyholders, but could not be delivered. The Department of Veterans Affairs will hold these payouts indefinitely.
Phone Contact Numbers for Insurance Companies
While there are numerous companies offering life insurance, the customer service phone numbers listed below are for companies that are part of a settlement for unclaimed life benefits through a multistate task force. Web contact information for MetLife and John Hancock are listed above.
American General Life Companies (AIG): 800-888-2452
Suggestions for Identifying Lost Policy Information
The Vermont State Treasurer's Office and State Treasurer's Offices across the country currently are working on proposals to assist consumers in locating and claiming lost insurance policies. If you believe you may be entitled to benefits from a life insurance policy, the American Council of Life Insurers offers these additional suggestions for conducting your own search for old policies.
- Check your loved one's papers and address and telephone books to look for life insurance policies and the names of insurance agents. Contact every insurance company with which they may have had a policy, even if you're not sure the policy is still in force.
- Check with the employee benefits office at their latest and previous places of employment. Or, check with the union welfare office.
- Check bank books and canceled checks for the last few years to see if any checks may have been written to pay life insurance premiums.
- Check the mail for one year after death for premiums notices, which usually are spent annually. If a policy has been paid up, there will not be any notice of premium payments due. However, the company may still send an annual notice regarding the status of the policy or it may pay or send notice of a dividend.
- Review your loved one's income tax returns for the past two years. Look for interest income from and interest expenses paid to life insurance companies. Life insurance companies pay interest on accumulations on permanent policies and charge interest on policy loans.
- Contact the life insurance companies directly to see if a policy exists. Each state insurance department has a listing of life insurance companies licensed to business in its state.
In the News
Joined by State Treasurer Beth Pearce, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law a consumer protection measure that requires life insurance companies to make a good faith effort to contact beneficiaries when a policy holder has died.
Consumer Reports magazine examined the challenges for consumers in tracking down misplaced or forgotten life-insurance policies.