OFIR's Tips on Locating a Missing Life Insurance Policy

April 5, 2012
Media Contact: Jason Moon 517-335-1700
Consumer Hotline: 877-999-6442

LANSING - Insurance policies are often purchased during life changing moments: the birth of a child, marriage, the purchase of real estate or the addition of other assets worth protecting. But if policy documents are “lost”, you may find yourself trying to find missing policy information. Over time, if an agent or company holding the policy has changed, a search for answers may seem overwhelming. However, the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) today offered tips to Michigan consumers to help find a “lost” life insurance policy.

The task of finding a missing life insurance policy can be difficult, especially if you are helping settle the estate of someone who has passed. Fortunately for consumers, there are measures they can take to help locate this important information,” Commissioner Kevin Clinton said.

About Life Insurance
Life insurance is generally issued as either a term policy or permanent life insurance policy. A term policy covers the insured for a stated period of years and pays a benefit only if the insured dies within that term. A permanent life insurance policy - which goes by several names, such as universal life, variable universal life and whole life - stays in force as long as the premium is paid. Even if a permanent life policy lapses (the insured stops making payment), it's still possible there could be some residual benefit, though it will likely not be the full value of the policy.

What You'll Need
To begin the process, you'll need some personal details of the insured individual. You'll need the full name (including maiden name for a married individual), Social Security number and an idea in which state the policy would have been purchased. If you have an old copy of the policy, that will be most helpful. To claim the benefit you'll also need a copy of the death certificate.

Try to determine:

  • Which insurance company might have issued the policy
  • Which agent or broker might have sold the policy
  • If your loved one might have purchased the policy through an employer, union or association
  • A search online will help you find contact information for the company, agent/broker or employer. Talk with their customer service representatives or human resources department to see if they can provide the policy number and claims information.

For additional help in finding missing life benefit information, consumers are encouraged to call OFIR’s toll-free hotline at 877-999-6442. Please note that OFIR does not have records of specific insurance policies, however they can assist you in locating the appropriate insurance company.

In general, life insurance companies that know an insured has passed, but cannot locate the beneficiaries of the policy, are required to turn over the benefits of the policy to the state's unclaimed property office. Information on claiming and reporting unclaimed property in Michigan can be found at: www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,4679,7-121-44435---,00.html.