Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has called for statewide hearings to educate the public on how life insurance companies avoid paying death benefits. The first hearing is scheduled for August 17th in Normal, Illinois. According to Frerichs, since 2011, the Illinois State Treasurer’s office has identified more than $550 million in death benefits that were not paid to Illinois families and nationally, $7.4 billion in unpaid benefits has been identified. Frerichs has established a task force on unclaimed life insurance policies that includes members of the General Assembly, Citizen Action Illinois, AARP, and the NAACP. Three life insurance companies sued Frerichs in November 2015 to block an audit claiming that Frerichs is overstepping his authority. The statewide hearings coincide with legislation prompted by Frerichs that would require life insurers to use the federal Death Master File to identify deceased policy holders whose life insurance proceeds have not been paid. That legislation, HB 4633, was passed on May 31 and awaits Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature.
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