Find Lost Life Insurance Policies
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Occasionally, documentation for life insurance purchases made decades ago may have been misplaced or lost, leaving little trace of sometimes significant coverage. Executors, trustees and loved ones may find it next to impossible to track down these policies. Following are some tips to help you in your search.
Seek out the deceased's insurance brokers, lawyers and accountants.
Go through the deceased's personal effects to see if there has been any record made of contact with insurance companies, brokers or agents.
Check banking records to see if there are any cancelled cheques or entries in statements or pass books indicating premium payments, and to whom payable.
Check safety deposit boxes, strong boxes, and other storage places like the basement and attic.
Contact the personnel/human resources departments of previous employers.
Contact any associations to which the deceased's occupation indicated that he/she might have belonged.
Contact long-standing friends or neighbours to attempt to determine the deceased's favourite occupational/extracurricular pastimes, which may provide clues to the types of pastimes that may have lead to association membership.
If the person died while travelling, check with the travel agent, airline and credit card company involved in the arrangements for that last trip. There may have been free flight or trip life insurance.
If you find details of any life insurance, even if lapsed, ask that insurance company for a copy of the deceased's application since all life insurance applicants must record particulars of other life insurance in force at the time of application.
If you have not yet been successful and you still believe that life insurance coverage did exist at the time of death, then contact The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI), which is a national independent complaint resolution and information service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance products and services, including life, disability, employee health benefits, travel, and insurance investment products such as annuities and segregated funds. Under certain circumstances, OLHI will ask insurance companies to undertake a policy search for possible insurance coverages on a deceased's life. For OLHI to undertake this search you must meet two basic requirements:  There is a reasonable basis for a search. Due to the size and scope of each search, there must some basic evidence to support the premise that some unlocated coverage does exist.  Specific factual data about the deceased is available. This kind of search will not uncover contracts acquired outside of Canada, nor will it uncover coverage obtained under employer group contracts. You can imagine that such requests to the OLHI put a lot of insurance companies to a lot of work so the OLHI insists that you document your case, as to why you believe the deceased may have coverage and that you have not been able to locate it on your own. Fishing expeditions are not welcome. The OLHI in Canada can be contacted by phone at 1-800-268-8099 or by going to their web site located at www.olhi.ca.
If you reside in Canada and have exhausted all avenues to find a lost policy, you might want to try www.insurecan.com. A fee is charged for a comprehensive search on your behalf.
The American equivilant of the OLHI is the National Insurance Consumer Helpline which can be contacted at 1-800-942-4242. In addition, MIB, a 99-year-old association that represents nearly 550 U.S. and Canadian insurers, maintains information on individuals who have applied for life insurance. MIB keeps a seven-year archive of application related information of people who have applied for life insurance through their member companies. This archive covers approximately 90 percent of all individual policies written in North America and contains nearly 100 million records. While MIB records do not indicate that an insurer has issued a policy, they do show if an insurer requested a data search, and a data search usually takes place when an individual applies for policy coverage. Their web site is located at www.mib.com.
Another potential source of information for U.S. residents is the website at www.lostlifeproceeds.com. A fee is charged.
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