TDCI Highlights Importance of Life Insurance During SeptemberLife Insurance Policy Locator Service Can Assist Consumers
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) joins other state insurance regulators in recognizing September as National Life Insurance Awareness Month and reminds consumers that a life insurance policy can help families protect their futures and ease financial burdens.
“Life Insurance Awareness Month is the perfect time to evaluate your current benefits with your family members, especially during these unique and challenging times that we all are facing,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “While discussing life insurance can be a tough conversation to have, it is a valuable one worth having — not only for your peace of mind but, most importantly, for the peace of mind of your family members and loved ones.”
Commissioner Mainda’s thoughts about Life Insurance Awareness Month can be found in their entirety in a new blog post.
According to a new survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) there is a clear need for better communication about life insurance policies across all generations of Americans. When the beneficiary is younger and potentially newer to the experience, the issue is even more significant. Overall, 55 percent of millennials surveyed said they are listed as a beneficiary on a friend’s or relative’s life insurance policy, yet only 30 percent said they are prepared for that role.
Lack of preparation – i.e., sharing and being aware of basic information about policies – leads to millions of dollars in unclaimed benefits each year by beneficiaries who cannot find loved ones’ policies or do not know they exist.
In order to help consumers find life insurance policies the NAIC created the Life Insurance Policy Locator Service to assist consumers in locating life insurance policies and annuity contracts of deceased family members or close relatives.
“Educating consumers about how life insurance works and what they should do if they are the beneficiary of a policy is one of our team’s most important activities,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Rachel Jrade-Rice. “I urge consumers who may be searching for a loved one’s policy to make a search through the NAIC’s Life Insurance Policy Locator Service today.”
If consumers are searching for a loved one’s policy, TDCI recommends first looking through papers or financial records to possibly find where payments have been made to an insurance company. If any of the documents reference payments made to an insurance company, consumers should call the company directly to locate a policy.
Things All Policyholders Should Know
Life insurance policies can be taken out by anyone who can prove they have an insurable interest in the person — meaning financial or emotional interest in the insured person’s life. If you have a life insurance policy, your responsibility does not stop with the paperwork. As a policyholder, there are important steps you should take now and in the future to help your loved ones:
- Have you had a life-changing event such as the birth of a child or a divorce? It is important to update your policies after a major life event to make sure that you have the appropriate beneficiaries listed.
- Check your policies once a year to make sure that all beneficiaries are included and that the contact information for those listed beneficiaries is correct.
- Let your beneficiaries know about the policies. Good communication can save everyone time and reduce confusion in the long-run.
- Provide beneficiaries or trusted advisors, such as accountants and attorneys, with the name of the life insurance company holding the policy.
- Place a current copy of the policy with your will or other estate paperwork in a safe place where family and beneficiaries will be able to easily find it.
Questions about a policy or an agent? For more information, visit tn.gov/commerce or contact the TDCI Consumer Insurance Services Division at 1-800-342- 4029 or (615) 741-2218.