September is Life Insurance Awareness month
In honor of Life Insurance Awareness Month, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) has issued the latest results from the Association’s Life Insurance Policy Locator. The Life Insurance Policy Locator is a free online tool to help potential life insurance policyholders or beneficiaries to find lost or forgotten insurance policies or annuities. The NAIC’s tool is a national online search tool modeled after similar life insurance policy locator programs developed previously by various states.
In Massachusetts, the DOI launched the tool, which is maintained by the NAIC, in 2016. The policy locator tool allows the public, including beneficiaries and legal representatives, to search for the lost or forgotten life insurance policies. Each year says the NAIC, these “forgotten or lost policies” results in millions of dollars in life insurance benefits going unclaimed by beneficiaries who can’t find their deceased loved ones’ policies or, in some cases, may not even know the policies exist.
“According to a recent NAIC survey, many life insurance beneficiaries are unprepared,” said Ray Farmer, NAIC President and South Carolina Department of Insurance Director. “To help bridge that gap, the NAIC has created information to help consumers prepare to purchase life insurance and the Life Insurance Policy Locator to help consumers if they don’t have all the information they need to file a claim. We are pleased that this tool has helped so many consumers find annuities and life insurance policies and has helped match more than $1 billion to rightful beneficiaries since its inception.”
To date, the NAIC estimates that its locator tool has received 227,551 requests nationwide, resulting in approximately 81,349 matches of life insurance policies or annuities. In terms of dollars, company state that a total of $1,028,479,262 in claim amounts has been made through July 31, 2020.
How to use the online policy locator
The following is a quick Q&A from the NAIC on the most frequent questions involving the use of its Insurance Policy Locator
Is the locator safe to use?
The online policy locator requests are secure, confidential, and free. Participating insurance companies are responsible for contacting beneficiaries and reporting matches to state insurance agencies through the NAIC Life Insurance Policy Locator.
Who can use the locator?
Anyone. This service is open to the public, including beneficiaries and legal representatives.
If a requester is a beneficiary and is notified by the company that a lost policy has been found, what information do people need to request their benefits?
Typically, a certified death certificate and company claim form must be submitted to the insurer which found a policy.
How long does it take for a request to be completed?
It may take up to 90 business days to complete the search. Please note a requester will not receive a response if no matches are found; the requester is not the beneficiary; or the requester does not have legal authority to obtain information about the policy.
How to access the Insurance Policy Locator in Massachusetts
While the Division has not published any current data on money recovered via the Insurance Policy Locator Tool, in 2018, two years after its launch, it reported that more than approximately $2,133,064 already had been returned in the first 12 months of its launch. In commenting on the results of the new tool then, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary John Chapman noted the following:
Life insurance offers a layer of protection and financial comfort to loved ones in the event of a death. This tool has clearly been effective in connecting many Massachusetts consumers with lost policies and the money they’re owed.”Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary John Chapman
For those interested in accessing the tool, click on the button below to be taken to the NAIC website: