In recent years, there has been a greater push at the state level to help people find life insurance benefits that may be in their name but which they do not know about. Many of these initiatives have been successful in helping people find thousands of dollars or more that may be due to them, and with that success comes more states wanting to get involved.
Oklahoma recently began such an effort, with its Lost Life Policy Locator Service being launched earlier this month, according to a report from the office of Oklahoma insurance commissioner John Doak. All people have to do is log on to the Oklahoma Insurance Department's website and type in some data about themselves, and the process begins. At that point, the OID will go about the business of contacting all life insurance companies licensed to operate within the state to see if that person has any unclaimed benefits - either from life insurance or annuities - in their names. If this is the case, the insurer will then have to contact the person in question.
This can help to make the process of obtaining the benefits that might be owed to state residents much easier, the report said. In many cases, people might not know all the details involved with a policy, and that might make it difficult for them to track down even if they're aware of it. In many others, however, beneficiaries might be altogether in the dark as to whether such policies even exist.
Further work ongoing
In addition to the effort on the part of the regulatory body, the state is also working to improve access to these benefits through the legislature, the report said. Currently, two proposals are working their way through the legislature that would aid in people's search for policies that they might have coming to them, and Doak's continues to work to come up with the best possible common-sense legal course going forward.
This kind of effort at the state level is certainly something to which life insurers and annuities issuers may want to pay more attention going forward. They may also do well to become a little more proactive in contacting people whenever possible about some benefits they may have in their name, and simplifying the claims process so they can avoid any future difficulties.