Life insurance allows its beneficiaries to receive benefits upon the death of the subscriber. But the beneficiaries still have to be findable! What happens when no one comes to claim insurance benefits?
Life insurance is designated as unclaimed when none of the beneficiaries has come forward to receive the benefits due to them for 3 years.
Not only has the life insurance been unclaimed from beneficiaries for some time, but it also means that the insurer has sought to contact or trace the beneficiaries of the unclaimed life insurance policy during this entire time, in vain.
An unclaimed life insurance situation mainly occurs when:
- the insurer was not informed of the death;
- the insurer fails to identify or trace the beneficiaries.
Unclaimed life insurance is, therefore “dormant” and tied up sums of money, often because the beneficiaries are simply not aware of it.
Note that a beneficiary’s waiver of benefits is also considered unclaimed life insurance.
What happens to unclaimed life insurance funds?
Until the 1990s, unclaimed life insurance sums were kept by insurance companies.
Today it is the law on unclaimed property that governs the benefits of unclaimed life insurance and the sums of dormant money that these policies represent.
As soon as the insurer is informed of the death of the insured or as soon as the insured is 100 years old, the insurer benefits from 3 years to contact, seek, or find the beneficiaries of the life insurance policy.
If at the end of this period and despite all possible in-depth searches by the insurer, the beneficiaries are still untraceable and unreachable and nothing has been claimed, then the insurer must contact Revenu Québec, to whom the amount in question will be refunded.
The sum is therefore transferred to the Generations Fund of the Quebec government, which is used in particular and in large part to repay the country’s debt.
Once unclaimed life insurance benefits are in the hands of the government, beneficiaries have 10 years to claim their benefits for $500 or less.
Note that Revenu Québec will most certainly deduct a sum from the amount according to the value and the services which will be displayed as “administrative costs”.
After 30 years, claims by beneficiaries to receive life insurance benefits are no longer accepted.
How do I find old life insurance?
How do you know if a deceased person had life insurance? When to claim life insurance? Relatives of a deceased person can search their papers for proof of life insurance subscription, such as the statements that the insurer is required to send each year. Another method: check the bank statements of the deceased to find the trace of payments.
Conversely, life insurers have 3 years to search for beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance in their hands.
To find the beneficiaries of life insurance, insurers obviously have several levers to activate, starting with the contract and the insurance policy file. They can also do research with credit agencies like Equifax, which have a lot of information on Quebec creditors.
Search for unclaimed life insurance: how to do it?
Be aware that the most common cause of unclaimed life insurance is the fact that the beneficiaries do not have the slightest idea of the existence of this life insurance which they are to inherit.
After reading this, if you want to find out if you are the beneficiary of today’s unclaimed life insurance, you have several options:
- check if the deceased person had a will and if the life insurance cover is mentioned therein;
- consult the Register of unclaimed property: go to the official website of Revenu Québec;
- get in touch with the Ombudsman of the insurances of the persons having a service of research.
Quebec now offers many ways to find unclaimed life insurance, it’s up to you to seize the opportunities and keep yourself informed.
Finally, you can also:
- find out about the last employee of the deceased. He will probably be able to give you information on employee group insurance.
- look for associations in which the deceased was a member. Some of them offer life insurance (like the CAA for example).
- check with travel insurance if the person died during a stay.