SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation backed by state Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Joliet, which would help ensure that family members receive their loved ones’ life insurance benefits, recently passed the House.
“People pay diligently into life insurance policies to ensure that their families and loved ones receive assistance,” Walsh said. “We can’t stand by while benefits are used to pad the pockets of corporate insurance executives, instead of going to the families that they are rightfully owed to.”
Walsh’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. The measure builds off a new law signed last year requiring insurance companies to inspect Social Security death records for newly signed policies going forward.
Walsh’s legislation requires companies to also look back through their records and 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. Walsh’s measure would also require insurance companies to request updated contact information from policyholders to keep policies from going unpaid.
“The death of a family member can be a very trying time for families which can cause things to fall through the cracks,” Walsh said. “This proposal makes the insurance company responsible for finding the folks who are owed life-insurance benefits.”
House Bill 302 awaits further consideration in the Senate.