Tracing lost Life Insurance

By: Michael Challiner

You know what it is sometimes like trying to find your financial documents. You file them away in a safe place, thinking you will know where they are. But the one day that you need them you cannot remember where they have been hidden.

It can often be the case that they actually become permanently lost.

It is understandable how this can happen with the very nature of something like life insurance. But here is an interesting fact about life insurance policies. There are in fact about ?2 billion pounds worth of them that remain unclaimed.

The reasons for this are wide and varied, but here are some.

People forget or do not know that their loved ones took out one of these policies in the first place.

Or if someone has not left a will, the relatives have no evidence to show there was a life insurance policy paid for.

Another reason is that when one in 16 people move house, they forget to tell the financial companies they have moved. So they basically just fall out of communication.

In fact, in the second half of the 20th century, many of the life assurance policies that were sold doubled as savings vehicles and as a result were very popular.

Many of the companies offering these policies have since been bought by those larger than themselves.

The company that someone took the policy out with might no longer exist, but there is still money there waiting to be claimed in some account somewhere.

So if you have a life policy and the company does not exist anymore, you need to track it down because the money is, after all, yours.

Start by looking on the internet. A suggestion is that you can put the company’s name into ‘google’ and see what comes up. Your search might lead you to a website which will reveal the company that took over the firm with which you took out your insurance policy.

Next call the Association of Friendly Societies on 02072167436 or look on its website, which is www.afs.org.uk.

Basically, this organisation is a trade body which keeps old records relating to friendlies and mutuals from the past.

Another place to call the Mutual Societies Registration (ph 0207066 4916), now part of the Financial Services Authority. This organisation will also tell you what has happened to the company with whom you had your life insurance policy. Ask for the best person at that company to contact.

Just because you  cannot remember the name of the company which you had that policy with it is still no reason to panic. Something called the Unclaimed Assets Regsiter ( ph 08702411713) holds information about all of the unclaimed investments from dividends to life policies. You have to pay ?18.50 to find this information, but if you can provide certain details, like your date of birth etc, the organisation could be hugely helpful. Those asking for the information must be either the policy holder or have power of attorney of another’s finances.

The financial experts suggest to policy holders or powers of attorney to collect as much information as possible before embarking on the search for the company that holds your funds. And stick with it - even it costs a small sum of money to find your fund. It is out there somewhere.

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