insurance

How do I trace old life insurance policies?

Jack HungelmannDear Insurance Adviser,
My father recently passed away. I have two life insurance policies that he paid for, and I am the beneficiary. I am unable to locate either company and assume they were bought or they merged with other companies. How do I track these down? Thank you for any assistance you may offer.
-- Marianne

Dear Marianne,
You're facing a common dilemma. At least you have his policies.

See if he still is being charged a premium for either policy. The billing notice usually lists the company name. If these life insurance policies are paid up, there wouldn't be any additional billing notices, but there would be an annual statement that should still be coming. If you can locate that, you can find out who the current insurance company is.

There are possible Internet resources. Have you tried Googling the original names? Or searching on Wikipedia? You also can try the Insurance Information Institute, an informational arm of the insurance industry. Another possible source is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and its NAIC.org website. It can direct you to your state insurance commissioner's website. If searching there doesn't work for you, try the insurance commissioner's office of the state in which each insurance company was originally based.

It's likely the companies that issued the life insurance policies either were purchased or merged. But it's also possible they may have gone belly up. I hope for your sake that's not the case here.

Good luck!

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