By Russ Van Arsdale, executive director Northeast CONTACT
Posted Aug. 15, 2016, at 7:29 a.m.
Unfortunately, answering that question isn’t always as simple as looking in your home safe or a shoe box. The answer may come via a new Lost Life Insurance Policy Service announced recently by Maine’s Bureau of Insurance.
When someone dies, a surviving family member may not know that he or she had been named as a beneficiary in the deceased’s life insurance policy or annuity contract.
People using the new service will need to provide specific information about the deceased to the bureau, which will then reach out to 277 companies that already have agreed to take part in the locator service. The companies will then check their records to determine if a policy or annuity was in effect and whether the person making the inquiry has a valid claim.
The bureau is hoping the service is used by potential beneficiaries, executors and legal representatives of deceased persons who may have lived in Maine when a policy was written or an annuity sold.
On its website, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners or NAIC lists 13 other states that offer locator services. If consumers believe a policy may have been written in some other state, the NAIC site offers guidance in tracking down the details.
Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says he would like to see all insurance companies, large and small, take part in the new program.
“We will continue to encourage all companies to do the right thing by cooperating with the bureau, joining this effort, and assisting Maine consumers who have a lawful claim,” Cioppa said in a statement.
Individuals or companies with questions about the service can contact Violet Hyatt, consumer health care division deputy director, at 207-624-8453 or 1-800-300-5000.
We wrote earlier this year about allegations that some insurance companies balked at paying benefits that were owed to consumers. You can find that article on our blog at https://necontact.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/how-to-ensure-your-life-insurance-benefit-will-be-paid/.
Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer, ME 04412, visit https://necontact.wordpress.com or email email@example.com.