Life Insurance Beneficiaries to Receive $665 Million in Surprise Payouts

surprise life insurance benefitsThere’s nothing better than receiving unexpected cash. Luckily, thousands of people around the country will soon receive some, thanks to insurance benefits they were unaware were waiting for them.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that around 89,000 people would be getting shares of over $665 million in life insurance benefits they didn’t know they were due. The surprise should come as a financial relief to many families in need of cash.

Life Insurance Companies Release Payouts

A 2011 New York measure was signed into law last year that requires life insurance companies to find beneficiaries instead of waiting for recipients to file claims. As a result, companies are required to seek for and pay individuals who have benefits waiting for them.

In many cases, the beneficiaries have no idea that they were named as recipients by relatives or friends and therefore would have never likely filed a claim. In New York alone, the state found more than 18,000 residents who will now receive $206 million in life insurance payouts.

“It is only fair for families and individuals who lost loved ones to receive the life insurance benefits to which they are entitled,” Cuomo said. “Life insurers are now responsible for proactively identifying policyholder deaths and making good faith efforts to find people so hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed benefits can be paid.”

How to Find Lost Life Insurance Benefits

The good news is that beneficiaries won’t have to do any work to claim their money. The life insurance companies are responsible for locating recipients, so all individuals receiving life insurance benefits have to do is wait for the money to arrive.

However, if you are curious about whether someone has left you money you’re unaware of, New York State and insurance companies have developed a “lost policy finder” system that is located on the state Financial Services Department website (

Consumers are able to use the system to search for lost and misplaced life insurance policies and annuity contracts on the deceased. If a match is located, companies would begin paying benefits that are due.

State Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky noted that most beneficiaries of the “lost policies” are from middle class, working families. The insurance benefits are sure to be a welcome surprise to those in need of extra money for their families.

(Image: Salvatore Vuono)