CONSUMER ALERT - Life Insurance Beneficiaries
Don’t Let Death Benefits Go Unclaimed
Purchasing life insurance can be an effective way to take care of the needs of your loved ones after you have passed. Sometimes, people take that important step of purchasing life insurance, or enrolling in a group life insurance plan through their employer, but fail to communicate that fact with family members, estate administrators or beneficiaries. Problems also occur when the addresses of beneficiaries are not kept updated. This can leave death benefits unclaimed.
Protecting a Life Insurance Beneficiary
Many, but not all, companies conduct a periodic search of policyholder names to identify unreported deaths, however, the process is not perfect. There are steps policyholders can take now to ensure their beneficiaries receive the life insurance benefits intended for them:
- Tell your loved ones if they have been named the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
- Provide your beneficiary with a policy number and the name and address of the life insurance company.
- Keep copies of any written notices regarding changes to the name, location and contact information for the life insurance company with the policy. If you’ve lost track of company name changes, contact the Nebraska Department of Insurance toll-free consumer hotline at 1-877-564-7323 for assistance.
- Review your beneficiary designations periodically to be sure they’re up-to-date.
- Provide your life insurance carrier with detailed personal identification information about your beneficiaries so they can be located and their identities verified.
- Discard lapsed or expired policies, and save your family from the frustration of tracking down old out-of-force policies.
Unclaimed Death Benefits
If an insurance company knows an insured has died but cannot locate a beneficiary within five years, life insurance proceeds will eventually be paid to the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Fund. You can avoid this outcome by keeping your beneficiaries informed.
To obtain current information on the status of a life insurance company or for more information on insurance-related questions or concerns, please contact the Nebraska Department of Insurance at 402-471-2201, or call our toll-free consumer hotline at 1-877-564-7323. Additional information is also available on our website at www.doi.nebraska.gov.