– To ensure that beneficiaries are made aware of any life insurance benefits owed to them, Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks) authored legislation which would require insurance companies to compare their in-force life insurance policies with the U.S. Social Security Death Master File (DMF) to identify matches. The House passed the legislation unanimously with bipartisan support.
House Bill 1403
is meant to ensure that going forward, death benefit claims will be timely initiated and paid or reported as unclaimed property. Some insurance companies have been using the death master index in the annuity side of their business, so they know when to stop paying benefits, but not on the life insurance side of their business, when the company needs to pay a benefit.
“This asymmetrical business practice is simply unfair,” said Quinn. “Beneficiaries deserve to receive their money in a timely fashion, not years later when it may have lapsed into the Treasury’s unclaimed benefits.”
Periodically the state treasurer reminds people to search for unclaimed property. While many of the searches result in finding less than $100, people frequently discover that they have been left money through a life insurance policy.
“It is not uncommon for the people who are named as beneficiaries to be unaware of their status. So, instead of the deceased person’s life insurance policy being paid out to that person years later, my legislation will get it to the right person through the periodic DMF searches,” said Quinn.
This bill is a result of a national group of legislators working together for good insurance public policy. Similar bills have been passed in numerous other states.
As the bill was passed in the House, the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Marguerite Quinn
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans