During the third quarter 2016, the NAIC leveraged its technology and data platforms and launched a structured program for locating lost or forgotten life insurance policies. Consumer Reports has estimated that at least $1 billion in life insurance benefits are currently unclaimed. The Life Insurance Policy Locator application was initially announced in the NAIC 2016 Summer National Meeting specifying the NAIC plan to initiate the first phase in creating a national system. The program also covers locating misplaced annuity contracts. The service will be available through the NAIC’s Retirement Security Initiative site. The program evolved from a history of state insurance departments receiving frequent inquiries from people regarding whether a deceased family member has a life insurance policy and how to go about finding these potential policies. The service is free to consumers. A number of states have formally implemented the system into their programs.
As technology has made substantial strides over the past 30 years, this problem should become less of an issue in the future as electronic archival techniques provide consistent location and search methods. However, in the meantime, a number of policies issued in the first half of the 1900s involved pure manual issuance and filings and policies were pigeonholed in safe deposit boxes or manual home filing systems. System recordkeeping for these transition period policies became somewhat spotty as the computer systems evolved. The NAIC locator approach should provide a potential solution to this transition process. And, it could be something you use with your policyholders and/or personally in the very near future.
You can access the NAIC’s locator by clicking here.