New law eases finding insurance beneficiaries

FROM THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed a bill that supporters say will help make certain that people receive life-insurance benefits after family members die.

The bill (SB 966), sponsored by Senate Banking and Insurance Chairwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, involves requirements for insurers to use what is known as the United States Social Security Death Master File to help find beneficiaries.

The state Office of Insurance Regulation issued a statement after Scott signed the bill saying Florida will be the first state to approve “comprehensive” legislation involving the requirements.

“Today’s new law makes sure all life insurance companies doing business in Florida will abide by the same guidelines in their searches for beneficiaries, meaning more life insurance benefits will be discovered and returned to their rightful owners where they belong,” Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said.

Hager’s office issued a statement that said many life insurers historically have held policy benefits until contacted by beneficiaries. As a result, the companies have not paid benefits if they haven’t been contacted.

“This consumer-friendly bill will ensure that when family members take steps to provide comfort and financial protection by purchasing life insurance, that companies ensure those beneficiaries receive what is due,” Hager said.

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