New online tool to search for life insurance benefits launches
News: 2016 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A new online tool, the Life Insurance Policy Locator, is available to help consumers search for possible life insurance policy or annuity proceeds anywhere in the nation.
"Many potential beneficiaries are unaware that they are due life insurance benefits and are unsure where to begin searching for a lost policy," said Insurance Commissioner. "The Life Insurance Policy Locator was created to simplify this process and ensure consumers receive the benefits they are entitled to."
Created by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) the service is designed to offer consumers who may suspect they or a family member is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or annuity, but may not have some of the key information typically needed to search, such as a policy number or name of the insurer.
The national service provides consumers with search capabilities to help find a deceased person's lost life insurance policies and annuities. An estimated $1 billion in benefits from life insurance policies are unclaimed, according to Consumer Reports.
Consumer requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality. Participating insurers will compare submitted requests with available policyholder information and report all matches to state insurance departments through the locator. Companies will then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives. This service is free of charge.
Prior to utilizing this service, a person is required to conduct a diligent search of the deceased person's records. For tips on searching records, the department urges consumers to visit the California Department of Insurance website. If a person finds a life insurance policy for a deceased relative but cannot locate the company, they can call our Consumer Hotline at1-800-927-4357.
In 2015, life insurers paid more than $74 billion in insurance policy benefits to consumers nationwide. Since 2010, state insurance regulators have investigated unclaimed life insurance benefits. To date, nearly 23 regulatory actions have resulted in returning more than $6.75 billion life insurance proceeds to U.S. consumers.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.