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Am I Owed a Life Insurance Payout?

When taking out life insurance policies, most people name others as their beneficiaries.

Some do not take the next step of informing those individuals that money will someday come their way. This may prevent the payout from being made, leaving beneficiaries with money due to them.

A conservative estimate places approximately £2 billion in the category of unclaimed UK life insurance benefits. Though learning that a friend or family member passed away is a sad situation, there is some comfort in realizing that this individual provided for you financially.

Life Insurance Is Often Forgotten

Since it is usually a long-term benefit, life insurance is often forgotten. Without proper recordkeeping or a will, identifying whether a deceased individual had life insurance can be a time-consuming and difficult task. A review of previous bank statements or checkbook registers may reveal life insurance premium payments.

An accountant or solicitor of the deceased may provide some relevant details. Contacting a previous employer to find out whether the deceased participated in a group life insurance policy that is in force is also recommended.

Currently, there is no official tracing service for the life insurance industry in the UK. However, assistance with unclaimed asset searches is available from the Association of British Insurers (ABI). If a potential beneficiary learns that a deceased individual held life insurance but is unaware of the insurer, contacting the ABI via telephone, mail, or its website may prove helpful.

If the insurance provider is known but contact information cannot be located, these details may be found in the online list of ABI members or through a general Internet search.

Experian offers an Unclaimed Assets Register (UAR) that helps some people to identify missing money and contact the holding institution. Anyone can establish an online account with the UAR and use the database to find life insurance policies and other lost assets of deceased loved ones. Each time new information is provided to the UAR by a financial institution, the pre-established search request is run to identify all matches. This alert feature is offered for six years at no charge.

Locating Policies With Friendly Societies

From the late 19th to early 20th centuries, friendly societies were very popular. People formed groups that established associations or local branches of associations that were already operating. Each member paid a fee that was deposited into the association treasury and made available to members when needed. Life, health, and disability insurance were among the various benefits offered to members.

These mutual organizations numbered in the hundreds by the early 1950s but most have since disbanded. The Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) maintains a list of business mergers and transfers of friendly societies, helping surviving beneficiaries to locate life insurance policies. AFM even offers a My Assets Reunited tool to help possible beneficiaries who suspect that a policy exists but do not have any details.

Approximately 85 companies participate in the UAR, representing approximately 4.5 million assets. An organization typically registers assets when it believes that contact has been lost with an asset holder due to relocation or death. Each month, approximately 600 requests are processed by Experian, and about ten percent are matched to potential assets.

The AFM and ABI have also assisted numerous UK residents trying to find life insurance policies held by friends or family members who have died.