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Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy Benefit Search

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Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy Benefit Search

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 even when a life insurance company knows a policyholder has passed away, missing heirs can be difficult to find, due to name changes after marriage or divorce, expired postal forwarding orders and incomplete or illegible records.

Policyholders may also be entitled to an unexpected windfall. As a growing number of mutual life insurance companies - including MetLife, John Hancock, Prudential and others - have converted to stock ownership, millions of current and former policyholders and heirs are entitled to receive stock and cash, in addition to policy benefits.

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 arising from its demutualization went unclaimed.

By law, unclaimed policy benefits and demutualization compensation are held in trust until claimants come forward. Government trustees recently took custody of $22.8 billion in missing money and unclaimed property, of which only $1 billion was refunded to owners or heirs.

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