Generally it is the job of family members to
notify the insurance company of a policy owner's death. More than one-quarter of all life insurance policy
benefits go unclaimed on death of the insured, because family
members simply aren't aware a policy exists.
And missing heirs can be
difficult to find,
due to name changes after marriage or divorce, an unreported change of
address or expired postal forwarding order after a move, and incomplete
or illegible records. Military personnel are particularly vulnerable,
given their transient lifestyle.
Policyholders may also be entitled to an
unexpected windfall. As a
growing number of mutual life insurance companies -
including MetLife, John Hancock,
Mony, Prudential and others -
have converted from mutual to stock ownership, millions of current
and former policyholders and heirs are entitled to receive stock and
cash, in addition to
When John Hancock
demutualized, it did not have current addresses for 400,000
policyholders. Prudential could not locate 1.2 million policyholders,
and sixty million shares of MetLife were owed missing policy owners and
unclaimed life insurance policy benefits and demutualization compensation are held in trust until claimants come forward.
Government trustees recently took custody of $22.8 billion, of which less
than $1 billion was reclaimed.
Even if your insurance company no longer exists, payments of up to
$300,000 are possible from state insurance guaranty associations. If you have reason to
believe a policy exists but have not received payment,
complete the form below to
initiate a search.