Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that more than $665 million in unclaimed life insurance benefits were paid to beneficiaries following a state investigation, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
The Department of Financial Services started an investigation in July 2011 and found insurance companies owed money to life insurance beneficiaries because people who were unaware of policies did not submit claims.
“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 in a statement.
The investigation has resulted in a little more than 89,000 payments with a total of about $665 million to beneficiaries, including about 18,500 payments totaling $206 million to New Yorkers.
The problem is that many people are unaware that they are named on a life insurance policy, and therefore do not submit a claim to their insurance companies. In December, Cuomo signed a law that would require regular searches to locate beneficiaries.
“Most of these lost policies belonged to middle class and working people whose family members will clearly benefit from the payment of fund intended for them,” said Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of Financial Services, in a statement.
The new law requires insurers to complete data searches on a quarterly basis and search for multiple policies that a deceased policyholder may have had. Insurers must also notify the proper entities to identify a policy where no claim was filed.
Individuals can use the “Lost Policy Finder” application on the Department of Financial Services’ website at www.dfs.ny.gov to find lost or unclaimed policies.