To help loved ones better find if a life insurance policy was taken out by a deceased family member, Rep. Tina Pickett (Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) took part in the recent announcement of a new state service to help track down the existence of policies.
“Consumers face multiple hurdles in finding out if their deceased loved one had a life insurance policy and how to track that down, and it’s a situation that occurs more frequently than one would think,” said Pickett, who serves as chairman of the House Insurance Committee. “At a time when those benefits may be most useful, families may have to wait three years until that policy is turned over as part of the state’s unclaimed property department. Fortunately, steps are being taken to ensure that process will be made easier.”
The Insurance Department receives requests weekly about whether or not a deceased family member may have taken out a life insurance policy. Previously, the individual making the request had to know which company the life insurance policy was with in order to conduct a search. In cases in which policies were taken out many years ago, children or other beneficiaries may not know which company sold that policy.
Pickett said a comprehensive search of insurers can be made to determine whether an individual did have a life insurance policy. Consumers simply need to fill out a form on the Insurance Department’s website.
According to Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, in just the five weeks the new service has been available, the department has received 123 requests and has found 10 policies and delivered $90,000.
Information on filing a life insurance policy finder request and the forms needed to do so are on the Insurance Department’s website, www.insurance.pa.gov, by clicking on “Life” under “Insurance Coverage Resources.” Individuals are notified when a policy is found if they are listed as a beneficiary on that policy, or otherwise entitled to that information.
Also last week, the House sent to the governor House Bill 1403, which would ensure that beneficiaries are made aware of any unclaimed life insurance benefits by requiring insurance companies to compare in-force life insurance policies with the U.S. Social Security Death Master file and identify matches.