State Treasurer Urges Action on Insurer Death Benefit Measure

Jun 21, 2016

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, joined by State Rep. Carol Ammons, AARP Associate Director Andre Jordan, and Senator Scott Bennett at the Illinois Terminal in Champaign.
Credit Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs says some insurance companies are sitting on funds that belong to the beneficiaries of deceased loved ones.

And Frerichs says, the companies knowingly avoid paying them to boost their own profit margins.

The Democratic treasurer is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign a bill requiring insurance companies to check regularly to see if a policyholder has died and make an effort to find recipients. 

The bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously last month. Frerichs says insurers like the Kemper Corporation have sued to block the measure, saying they have no obligation to actively seek out death benefit recipients.

"We’ve just heard some really heartbreaking and touching stories about people who were not receiving benefits and from individuals who did, and what it meant to them,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs says one recipient was orphaned at age 16 and learned years later that his late mother had a $100,000 life insurance policy.

Other backers of the bill include AARP and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.