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Insurer Challenging Death Search Law

July 17th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Four Florida Insurers were in court this afternoon in the State Capitol, challenging a law that requires them to locate life insurance beneficiaries going back 25 years. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the companies say they don’t have to find anyone before the law was passed.

A year old Florida law requires life insurers to keep track of their customers who die and then track down the beneficiaries if a claim hasn’t been made. the four companies in Court say they are okay with finding beneficiaries polices of policies that were sold after the law took effect, but Attorney Barry Richard says the state can’t make them go back to 1992.
“What they can’t do Constitutionally, is impose it retroactively and say even though you followed the law, we’re going to change the law and you are going to go back and fix it at your cost” says Richard.

28 companies have settled and are not challenging the law.

The majority of the companies that settled with the state were already actively searching death records, so they knew when one of their policy holders died. They just didn’t do anything about it.

When passed, sponsorLizbeth Benacquisto estimated the state residents could be entitled up to up to a billion dollars.

“And if the beneficiary did not know they were named in that policy, and didn’t make a claim for those monies, the insurance companies kept the money” Benacquisto told the Senate.

The Companies in court say they never searched death records.

“The insurance company had an obligation to pay benefits upon proof of death, presented to it by survivors. It didn’t require insurance companies to constantly search records to see who died” says Richard.

An adverse ruling for the state in this case, could effectively stop the searchers being made prior to last year, leaving thousands of deceased policy holders wishes unfulfilled.

 

This afternoon, A circuit Judge in the Capitol told the state is must limit what records it wants to see and also limited the questions it can ask company officials when being deposed. The state promised to appeal the ruling.

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