New York Officials Locate $1.15 Billion in Unpaid Life Insurance Benefits Nationwide

life insurance 3

Finding unpaid life insurance policy benefits has become the norm for state officials, some of whom have managed to locate millions in unclaimed life insurance. Most recently, New York officials revealed that they recovered $1.15 billion in unclaimed benefits, impacting thousands of beneficiaries nationwide.

New York’s DFS Recovers Unpaid Life Insurance Policy Benefits

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced on Wednesday that it was able to recover more than one billion dollars in unclaimed life insurance following an investigation of state-based insurance companies.

The investigation revealed that many companies were not using lists of recent deaths from the Social Security Administration, which helps them determine whether a policyholder had died.

In 2011, after learning that many insurers were not only failing to check these lists regularly to determine whether policyholders had died, but were investing beneficiaries’ payouts in retained asset accounts for profits, officials required companies to begin checking the lists regularly to ensure payouts occurred.

Since that time, John Hancock Life Insurance has been sued for failure to seek out a beneficiary after a policyholder died and other insurers were required to pay a sum of $262 million in 2012.

The insurers indicated in the most recent investigation have gone unnamed, but have reportedly cooperated with investigators.

100,000 Beneficiaries Paid Unclaimed Life Insurance

The same announcement from DFS revealed that life insurance companies had agreed to repay the unclaimed life insurance benefits to deserving beneficiaries.

As noted by Governor Andrew Cuomo in a prepared statement, state investigators working with the insurance companies were able to make payments to 100,000 consumers nationwide. With the oldest claim attributed to a death in 1960, he says he wants to make sure deserving beneficiaries are paid.

“Going forward, we will continue these efforts to ensure consumers get every single penny they are entitled to,” Cuomo stated.

Approximately $339 million of the more than one billion in policy dollars has still gone unclaimed as beneficiaries or heirs have yet to be found.

To help people locate unclaimed policies written by New York insurers, officials worked with companies to set up an online lost policy finder: Unclaimed life insurance benefits are being held until beneficiaries step forward to claim the money.

(Image courtesy of anankkml /