SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To help guarantee family members receive their loved one’s life insurance benefits, state Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, is backing a measure to require life insurance companies to compare old policies to the Social Security death records and pay any benefits owed to survivors.
“Life insurance is often a topic that many people avoid discussing with their friends and family, but it’s so important that loved ones are able to collect what they are owed,” Burke said. “This legislation will require insurers to hold up their end of the bargain, and hopefully help everyone receive the life insurance they’re entitled too.”
Burke is sponsoring House Bill 302, which requires life insurance companies to compare the Social Security numbers of their policyholders dating back to 1996 to Social Security death records. Her measure builds off a new law signed last year requiring insurance companies to inspect Social Security death records for newly signed policies going forward. Burke’s legislation requires companies to also look back through their records. Life insurance companies would be required to ensure the beneficiaries of these policies receive any funds owed to them. The Illinois Treasurer’s office has identified $550 million in unpaid death benefits in Illinois since 2011. This legislation would also require insurance companies to request updated contact information for policyholders to keep policies from going unpaid.
“I encourage everyone to spend time going over their policy with a close family member or friend,” Burke said. “This will help prevent unnecessary pain and suffering down the road and ensure that the ones you care about receive what you wanted them to have.”