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Life insurance companies are among the largest holders of unclaimed money. More than one-quarter of all life insurance policy benefits - worth hundreds of millions of dollars - go unclaimed and unpaid on death of the insured, due to long dormancy periods and because family members aren't always aware a policy exists.

In addition, millions of current and former MetLife, John Hancock and Prudential policyholders and heirs are entitled to receive stock, policy credits and/or cash payments in addition to unclaimed policy benefits, as a result of the recent demutualization of these underwriters.

Most state statutes don't presume abandonment of life insurance benefits until some number of years after the insured would have attained the limiting age under the mortality table on which reserves are based, typically 100-115 years. There is no central repository or clearinghouse for unclaimed life insurance policies. Generally it is the job of the beneficiary to notify the insurer of a policy owner's death, , and little effort is made to find lost beneficiaries or family members entitled to make claims.

Some further investigation, therefore, is often necessary to trace and recover a lost life insurance policy or unclaimed life insurance benefits. If you have reason to believe a policy existed but haven't received payment, go to Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy Search
 

Special Note: Millions of policyholders and heirs aren't aware they are entitled to receive compensation when their life insurance companies recently converted from mutual to stock ownership. When John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance demutualized, it did not have current addresses for 400,000 policyholders. Prudential could not find 1.2 million policyholders entitled to receive compensation, and MetLife estimates 60 million shares of stock - worth billions of dollars - went unclaimed.

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