SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, helping guarantee family members receive their loved ones life insurance benefits passed the House Tuesday.
“This legislation guarantees that families receive what their loved ones wanted them to have,” Burke said. “When a loved one passes away, it is often a stressful time for friends and family members and collecting on a life insurance policy is often the last thing on a person’s mind.”
Burke’s House Bill 302 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.
“It’s important for individuals to have conversations with a friend or family member about the life insurance policies they have,” Burke said. “I also encourage residents to update the contact information for existing life insurance plans.”