- Published: Monday, January 23, 2017 09:15 AM
ITASCA- The Illinois State Treasurer’s office has found about $500 million in unpaid life insurance benefits. Soon insurance companies will be required to return this money to Illinois families.
House Bill 302 will require life insurance companies to review their records going back to 1996 to find life insurance customers who died and no benefits were claimed.
State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) sat down with state Treasurer Michael Frerichs and Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) and local advocates from the AARP, NAACP and the Illinois Funeral Directors Association to share information on finding ways to return unclaimed life insurance policies to deceased policy owners’ families.
“Insurance companies have a responsibility to pay death benefits,” Cullerton said. “When your loved ones buy a life insurance policy, they are trying to protect you from financial burdens and hardship. It’s important that we honor their wishes and guarantee that those benefits are given to the family they left behind.”
This new life insurance legislation will protect consumers and put money back in the hands of families, instead of the insurance companies’ bank accounts.
“I’ve never met a man or woman who purchased life insurance with the expectation that the death benefits would be kept by the insurance company rather than paid to their family,” Frerichs said.
This initiative is the next logical step to bring commonsense change to the life insurance industry. Insurance companies have acknowledged not paying out death benefits when they knew or should have known a customer died. It has been found that unpaid benefits are often built into the profit plans.
House Bill 302 is currently in committee in the House. Cullerton looks forward to sponsoring this measure in the Senate.