By Stephen Seitz
The tree. The gifts. The parties. The relatives. The travel. That begins to add up.
However, there may be money out there waiting for you. Most people are familiar with Vermont’s unclaimed property division, but now a new tool has been added to the lost money finder system: the life insurance policy locator.
The locator is a service of the National Association of Insurance Carriers. According to a statement from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulations in the past year, 34 people in Vermont have collected $112,125 since the service was launched in 2016.
The statement quotes DFR Commissioner Michael Pieciak as saying, “This tool helps consumers easily navigate among each and every life insurance company licensed to do business in Vermont and connect them with any lost or unknown policies and any associated payments they are rightfully owed.”
Using this tool is not as easy as typing in your name and address and hoping to get lucky. You have to go through all the deceased’s records and documents first, including the contents of safety deposit boxes. The life insurance companies will only contact you if they have found something, and they may require additional information.
In its first two years, the locator has matched 24,934 consumers nationally with policies, totaling $368 million, according to DFR. More than 48,000 consumers have conducted searches nationwide in that time. During its first year, the policy locator initially found $92.5 million in lost benefits for consumers. As more matches were made to requests from that year, the first-year total has increased to $166.7 million.
The other way to find money is through the Unclaimed Property Division. Vermont will let you search the possible claims by name and/or town. To do this, visit vermonttreasurer.gov, and find the Unclaimed Property Page.
To use the Life Insurance Policy Locator, visit eapps.naic.org/life-policy-locator/#/welcome.