RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginians in search of lost or misplaced life insurance policies and annuity contracts to use the free Life Insurance Policy Locator offered by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
“Since the launch of the policy locator tool in November 2016, more than 1,000 Virginians have already recovered millions of dollars to which they were entitled,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Using secure technology, the service enables consumers to obtain money that was promised to them through life insurance and annuity contracts,” he said.
Thousands of consumers nationwide have benefited from this tool, which has matched more than 36,500 beneficiaries with lost or misplaced life insurance policies or annuities totaling more than $528 million. So far in Virginia, 1,141 consumers have recovered more than $15.7 million using this service.
Here’s how the Policy Locator works:
- Beneficiaries, executors or legal representatives of a deceased person may submit a search request form to the NAIC by going to the SCC Bureau of Insurance website at https://www.scc.virginia.gov/boi/cons/index.aspx or to the NAIC website at http://locator.naic.org. Requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality.
- Using the information submitted, the NAIC asks participating companies to search their records to determine whether they have a life insurance policy or annuity contract in the name of the deceased.
- Participating companies that have policy information are asked to respond to the requester if the requester is the designated beneficiary or is authorized to receive information. Neither insurance companies nor agents should assess a fee to anyone making a request through the service.
To facilitate your search for a policy, the Bureau of Insurance recommends trying to determine which insurance company issued the policy; which agent or broker sold the policy or whether the policy was purchased through an employer, union or association. You will need some personal details about the insured individual, including the individual’s full name (as well as the maiden name for a married individual), Social Security number and the state where the policy was purchased. To claim a life insurance benefit, you will also need a copy of the death certificate.
Under Virginia law, life insurance companies that know that a policyholder has died but cannot locate the beneficiaries of the policy are required to turn over the benefits of the policy to the state’s unclaimed property office if the benefits are not claimed after a certain number of years. If you know the state in which a life insurance policy was written, check with that state’s insurance department or the office that handles unclaimed property.
To avoid lost policies, the Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginians to keep beneficiary information up-to-date; alert beneficiaries of the policy and provide them with the name of the insurance agent and the company that issued the policy; place a current copy of the life insurance policy in a safe and accessible place with wills and estate documents, and ask the insurance company for an annual policy statement if one is not provided.
For questions or additional information about the policy locator and other life and health insurance matters, contact the Consumer Services Section of the Virginia Bureau of Insurance Life and Health Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit www.scc.virginia.gov/boi.