Illinois treasurer seeks payout of unclaimed life insurance

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State Treasurer Michael Frerichs backs a bill

PEORIA — A measure backed by Illinois’ treasurer could help ensure that insurance companies have paid out money properly to beneficiaries of life insurance policies.

The proposed legislation would require companies to examine the past 20 years of their records to ensure that money was distributed properly, the (Peoria) Journal Star reported.

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said the measure is important for individuals who don’t know they have funds owed to them.

“We think there are tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars more that should be paid out to the loved ones, the heirs or beneficiaries, of Illinois life insurance holders,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs’ office has been working with about 20 of the largest companies that sell such policies in Illinois. So far, there has been about $500 million found in unpaid life insurance benefits.

Not all such companies cooperated with the efforts of the treasurer’s office. Some of the insurance businesses weren’t responsive, and others told the office they didn’t want to participate.

Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand said the proposed legislation is common sense.

“It seems so self-evident that the one event that the policy protects and covers, the death, would be the one responsibility the insurer would have,” he said. “Death is a certainty, and that’s why the life insurance policy was created.”

The proposed legislation is also backed by the NAACP, AARP, the activist group Citizen Action and the Illinois Funeral Directors Association.

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