Life insurance benefits totaling $5,546,340 have been located for Tennesseans so far in 2020 through a life insurance claims return tool offered by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI).
The Life Insurance Policy Locator Service, which has been available through the NAIC since 2016, enables beneficiaries, executors or legal representatives of a deceased person to locate life insurance policies and annuity contracts of their late family members, clients or friends.
“During these difficult times when families face stresses like never before, the Life Insurance Policy Locator Service is a useful resource to help ease the burden that family members and loved ones may face after the passing of a loved one,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “While spending more time at home, I remind Tennesseans to familiarize themselves with their life insurance policies and their coverage to help them reduce any of the questions and uncertainty that may arise later.”
As of May 31, 2020, Tennesseans submitted a total of 1,102 requests to the NAIC for service this year and more than half of those requests (678) were matched to life insurance benefits. Last year over $27 million was located for Tennesseans through this tool.
Unfortunately, lack of preparation about being a life insurance beneficiary is a common occurrence among Americans of all ages. According to a recent NAIC survey, only 22% of Generation Z say they are prepared to be a life insurance beneficiary. Despite the fact that 45% of Generation Z (18–23 years old) surveyed say they are listed as a beneficiary on a friend or relative's life insurance policy, just 22% say they are prepared with the information they need. According to the survey, just 23% of Generation Z beneficiaries say they know where the policy is stored, and only 25% know the name of the insurance carrier.
“Lack of preparation, including awareness of beneficiary status and basic policy information, leads to millions of dollars in unclaimed life insurance benefits each year,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Rachel Jrade-Rice. “Tennesseans who have questions about their insurance policies or feel they have been unfairly denied a claim by their insurance company should contact our team today.”
The locator service does not track beneficiary information or claim payment after matches are reported. The total claim amount only includes the amount reported by companies tied to a match.
If Tennessee consumers are searching for a loved one’s policy, TDCI recommends first looking through papers or financial records to possibly find where payments have been made to an insurance company. If any of the documents reference payments made to an insurance company, consumers should call the companies directly to see if a policy can be located.
To make a request, visit the NAIC’s website and complete a request form. Once the request has been made, the NAIC will send the policyholder’s information to all licensed life insurance companies in Tennessee. Then, companies will check their records to determine if they have a policy matching the beneficiary’s information. The company will respond within 60 days if a match is found.
For more information, visit tn.gov/insurance or contact the TDCI Consumer Insurance Service Division at 1-800-342-4029 or (615) 741-2218.