Life Insurance Benefits Bill Passes in House

During legislative veto session in the House of Representatives, a measure to amend the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act was brought forward for consideration. The bill, HB302, is an initiative of State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, to provide beneficiaries with the benefits of all insurance plans that have lapsed, and encourage insurance companies to more aggressively search for beneficiaries following the death of policy holders.

After finding that nearly $550 million was unclaimed in death benefits between 2011 and 2015, Frerichs backed this legislation to ensure money is rightfully paid to family members from life insurance policies. Under this measure, it would make it easier to claim life insurance benefits when a policyholder dies.

According to the bill, life insurance companies would be required to compare electronic records of its policies in force since 2000 with the Social Security Administration’s list of deaths to determine whether a life insurance policy should be paid. Current law only calls for companies to make payments when requested by the beneficiaries.

Representative Winger stood in support of this measure when it was presented during veto session, recognizing the need to put more pressure on life insurance companies to pay what is rightfully owed to beneficiaries.

In the House of Representatives, the veto was overridden with 71 members voting in favor of the bill. The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration, and if the motion to override receives the required votes in that Chamber, HB302 will become law.

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