A little over $16 million in life insurance proceeds have gone to the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division in the past four years, and West Virginians who’ve lost family members since 2012 may have money owed to them.
In 2012, the State Treasurer’s office filed a lawsuit against dozens of life insurance companies, alleging the firms were either not paying beneficiaries their due proceeds or failing to report the money as unclaimed property. That litigation is ongoing today, according to a press release from the State Treasurer’s office.
West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue says over the past few years, several court cases have been filed against insurance companies for not notifying families who were owed money or for not reporting unclaimed property. In June 2015, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the death of the insured triggers a duty to locate beneficiaries or report proceeds as unclaimed.
Before 2012, only $2.5 million in life insurance proceeds had been reported, which is more than five times less than the current number at $16.4 million.
Purdue is encouraging West Virginians who’ve lost family members since 2012 to check the unclaimed property list if they believe a family member may have passed away with life insurance money due to them.