Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Death Benefits in Limbo:

By Matt Kaas, Life Marketing Consultant

How to Check If You Are the Beneficiary of an Unclaimed Life Insurance Death Benefit

How many times have you purchased a Powerball or Mega Millions lottery ticket? In 2015, you had a one in 292 million chance of winning the Powerball jackpot – those are some seriously small odds! You have a far better chance of being the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance death benefit. There is at least $1 billion in life insurance proceeds waiting to be claimed by beneficiaries, and the odds that you, or your clients, are one of them is 1 in 600. And although you won’t become a millionaire, the average unclaimed death benefit is $2,000 and has been as high as $300,000.[1]

There is no formal database for all life insurance policies, so tracking down the proceeds of a deceased relative’s policy can be an extremely daunting task. 

Here are three easy steps that someone can take to find out if they are the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance death benefit:
  1. If you were close to the deceased and have access, look for insurance-related documents. Search through old files, safe deposit boxes, and any other places where important documents might have been stored – anything that might point the beneficiary towards an insurance carrier that may have an unclaimed death benefit. Look through checkbooks or old bank records indicating a premium payment to an insurance carrier. And make sure to check the deceased’s mail for at least a year, looking for premium or dividend notices, annual statements, etc. 
  2. Contact state insurance departments. Start with the Life Insurance Company Location System on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website at This tool can help you locate insurance department officials who can assist you in identifying insurance carriers who may have issued a policy on the deceased. 
  3. Check with the state’s unclaimed property office. If an insurance carrier knows that an insured client has passed away but cannot find the beneficiary, the company must turn over the death benefit proceeds to the state in which the policy was purchased as unclaimed property. Contact your state’s comptroller’s office to see if there is any unclaimed property belonging to the deceased. A good place to start is the National Associated of Unclaimed Property Administrators which can be found at[2]

If you have questions about unclaimed life insurance proceeds or if you would like to explore helpful life insurance selling best practices and sales ideas, please give the Life Insurance Department at Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange a call at 800.321.3924.

Matt Kaas | Life Marketing Consultant
Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange
Ph: 800.321.3924 x133 | Dir: 734.786.6133

[1] “How to claim an unclaimed life-insurance policy” Consumer Reports. Feb 2013. Web. Accessed on 2 May 2016 at
[2] “12 Easy Steps To Locating Lost Life Insurance Policy Documents” Insurance Information Institute. Web. Accessed on 2 May 2016 at

Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange and its representatives do not give tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney.

Designed for Financial Professionals.