A new bill has just been signed by the state governor that requires firms to search for beneficiaries.
Governor Steve Bullock has just signed a new Montana bill that will require that life insurance companies always search for policy beneficiaries when the policyholder has died.
This is the case even when there have not been any claims submitted following the policyholder’s death.
The bill was created as a response to a number of settlement agreements that have been made across the country in which life insurance companies had been charged with efforts that were either too small or nonexistent, for finding a policy’s beneficiaries, following the death of the policyholder. Instead, the death benefits from those policies had been held by the firms for years before the states received them in the form of unclaimed property.
The life insurance bill was first requested by the state commissioner and was sponsored by a senator.
Senate Bill 34 had been sponsored by Senator Mary Caferro (D-Helena) after it was requested by Monica Lindeen, the Insurance Commissioner for Montana. It says that life insurance companies within the state have to perform a bi-annual Social Security Administration file check in order to determine whether or not any of their policyholders have died during that time.
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Should they discover that a policyholder has, indeed, died, then it is up to the company to make the effort to find out if any of the surviving family members are eligible for the life insurance benefits, so that those payments can be made. Otherwise, the unclaimed money has to be turned over to the state as unclaimed property.
According to a statement that was issued by Lindeen, “Montanans buy life insurance to help their families after they pass away.” She went on to explain that “far too often, insurance companies do nothing to find and pay Montanans the money they are owed on these policies.”
The hope is that this new life insurance law will assist the residents of Montana in being able to receive the benefits that are their due when their policy carrying loved ones have died. The bill was signed into law after having passed the Senate at a vote of 48 to 1, and the House at a vote of 92 to 4.