California controller adds unclaimed life insurance search

Sep 29, 2014   //   by Chad   //   Latest News  //  No Comments

This month, California state controller, John Chiang added new search functionality to make it easier to search for unclaimed life insurance proceeds and/or premiums.  Here is an explanation of the recent litigation settlements as reported here:

State Controller John Chiang’s audits of national insurance company practices, which started in 2008, revealed an industry-wide practice of companies failing to pay death benefits to beneficiaries. Often, companies would draw down the cash value of the life insurance policy to continue paying premiums, even when they knew or should have known the policyholder had died and the beneficiaries should be paid. The policies then would be canceled — without notifying the policyholder or their family members.

To protect life insurance policyholders and their beneficiaries, the Controller has led the national effort to end this practice. To date, Controller Chiang has reached global settlements with 19 life insurance companies to restore the full value of impacted accounts dating back to 1995 and to abide by the State’s unclaimed property laws to return these accounts to the owners or, in many cases, the owners’ heirs. These 19 life insurance companies have agreed to restore an estimated $266.7 million in unpaid benefits to Californians, and an estimated $2.4 billion nationally.

Through July 2014, 15 of the 19 life insurance companies have transferred $190.3 million to the Controller for safekeeping until their beneficiaries can be found. During very early efforts, nearly $60 million has already been returned to the rightful owners. In July 2014, the Controller successfully petitioned the Legislature for additional budget resources to expand his office’s ability to locate the beneficiaries of these recovered insurance policies. To continue his push to find the beneficiary of every one of these recently-restored policies, Controller Chiang launched a new online search at

Editor’s note:  Although this is a great new tool for specialized and in-depth searches, Discovered Money recommends you search the entire state database, including the life insurance proceeds and premiums at their main search website at

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