Locating life insurance documents for a deceased relative can be a daunting task – for one thing, there is no national database of all life insurance policies at this time. However, with a little sleuth, you can successfully navigate the paper trail.
Here are some strategies to help make your search easier.
1. View Insurance Related Documents
Search through files, bank safes and other storage locations to see if there are any insurance documents. Also, check the address books for the names of any insurance professionals or companies—an agent or company that sold their auto or home insurance to the deceased—may learn of the existence of a life insurance policy.
2. Contact Financial Advisors
Current or former attorneys, accountants, investment advisors, bankers, business insurance agents/brokers and other financial professionals may have information about the deceased’s life insurance policies.
3. Review Life Insurance Applications
The application for each policy is linked to that policy. So if you can find a deceased life insurance policy, look at the application—there will be a list of any other life insurance policies you owned at the time of application.
4. Contact Past Employers
Former employers maintain a record of past group policies.
5. Check Bank Statement
See if any checks or automatic payments have been made to life insurance companies over the years.
6. Check Mail
For the year following the death of the policyholder, refer to the premium notice or the dividend notice. If a policy has been paid, there will be no intimation of premium payment due; However, the company may still send an annual notice regarding the status of the policy or the notice of dividend.
7. Review Income Tax Returns
Look at the decedent’s tax return for the past two years to see if interest income and interest expense have been paid from life insurance companies. Life insurance companies pay interest on deposits on permanent policies and charge interest on policy loans.
8. Contact State Insurance Departments
Twenty-nine state insurance departments offer free search services to residents looking for lost policies. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a “Life Insurance Company Location System” to help you find state insurance department officials who can help identify companies that wrote life insurance on the deceased. Ho. To access that service, visit the NAIC Life Insurance Policy Locator.
9. Check with the State Unclaimed Property Office
If a life insurance company knows that an insured customer has died but cannot find a beneficiary, it must hand over the death benefit to the state in which the policy was purchased as an “unclaimed asset.” If you know (or can guess) where the policy was purchased, you can contact the state controlling department to see if the decedent has any unclaimed money from life insurance policies. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators is a good place to start.
10. Contact a Private Search Service
Many private companies will assist you in locating a lost life insurance policy, for a fee. They will contact insurance companies on your behalf to find out whether the deceased was insured. This service is often provided through websites.
11. Maybe the policy originated in Canada?
If you believe the policy may have been purchased in Canada, try contacting the Canadian Ombuds Service for Life and Health Insurance for information.
12. Search the MIB Database
There is no central database of policy documents, but there is a database of all applications for individual life insurance processed since January 1, 1996. (NB: There is a fee for each search and many searches are not successful; a random sample of searches found only one match every four attempts.) For more information, visit MIB’s consumer protection page.
source: iii.org only inforation porpus.