Turk File

$31 million? We’ll take it.

by Leslie Turk

State treasury uncovers $31 million in life insurance benefits, including $500K for one widow, that should have been paid.

State Treasurer John Kennedy
Photo by Robin May

State Treasurer John Kennedy said today that audits of life insurance company policies uncovered more than $31 million in unclaimed property for beneficiaries in the past eight years.

“We compared the outstanding policies of a dozen insurance companies with the Social Security Death Master File (DMF),” Kennedy said in a prepared statement. “By making these comparisons, we were able to return money to Louisianians who did not realize they were in line for money from insurance policies. We cannot bring back their loved ones, but we can make sure insurance proceeds are distributed as intended.”

The Louisiana Department of the Treasury works with Versus Financial LLC to conduct the audits. The audits are necessary because families often are unaware an insurance policy exists. Unless an insurance company makes an effort to locate beneficiaries or heirs, the benefit would not be paid without the audits.

“My staff just spoke to a widow who tried talking to the insurance company after her husband died and gave up because they were so difficult. Our audits uncovered her husband’s policy. We’re writing her a check for more than $500,000,” Kennedy said in the release.

The audits are just one component of the Unclaimed Property Program. Since 1972, the program has returned more than $338 million to nearly 570,000 Louisiana residents.

Kennedy encourages residents to search for missing money online at www.LATreasury.com or call the office’s toll-free hotline at 1-888-925-4127 (Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).