$208 million is the amount insurers delivered every day in 2016 to beneficiaries of life insurance policies.
For the families receiving these benefits, life insurance proceeds represent the financial peace of mind that comes with knowing that they can maintain their quality of life, pay for their children's education and realize their hopes and dreams after the death of a loved one.
Life insurers have a long history of fulfilling their obligations to policy owners and their families. Companies act promptly to pay benefits, usually within 30 days of receiving a claim.
In a small percentage of cases, life insurance policies go unclaimed because family members may not have known that a policy existed. If no claim is made, the policy benefits are transferred to the state in accordance with state laws.
Life insurers want beneficiaries to receive their benefits before the state can claim the money.
In recent years, many companies have been doing more than is required by law. They are making better use of technology to identify policy owners who have died, locate beneficiaries and help them begin the process to claim their benefits.
The American Council of Life Insurers wants all life insurers to try to identify deceased policy owners and seek out beneficiaries. That is why ACLI has been advocating since 2012 for all states to adopt legislation requiring companies to regularly compare their records against the Social Security Administration's Death Master File, which tracks deaths. If companies find a match, they should try to locate the beneficiaries and help them file a claim.
More than twenty states have enacted laws requiring the comparison of company records with the Death Master File. Several others are considering similar laws.
While life insurers work to ensure that fewer policies go unclaimed by beneficiaries, policy owners have an important role to play as well. If you own a life insurance policy, let your beneficiaries know where it is located. Keep it with other financial records or legal papers, or anywhere your survivors are likely to look for it if they need to file a claim.
Keep your agent's name and contact information easily accessible. The agent can help your beneficiaries fill out the necessary forms and act as an intermediary with the insurance company.
To help consumers keep track of important information about their insurance policies, ACLI developed My Insurance Log. This secure and convenient tool ensures insurance and other important financial information is readily available, now and in the future.
More information and resources for finding a missing life insurance policy are available on our Missing Policy Tips page.