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Legislature passes bill to require life insurance companies do more to find beneficiaries

Life insurance companies will have to do more to find beneficiaries of those who die under a bill that passed the Florida Legislature on Thursday and now heads for Gov. Rick Scott's desk.

Under Senate Bill 966 insurers would be required to search the Social Security Administration's Death Master File for all of their policyholders retroactively to 1992 and every year going forward. If a beneficiary cannot be found, the insurance company must turn the policy over to the State of Florida’s Unclaimed Property Program, currently overseen by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, where the state will continue to look for rightful beneficiaries.

Atwater has made the issue a top priority this year because he said too many life insurance companies are sitting on billions of dollars in overdue, unpaid life insurance benefits. He said some companies are doing little to track down families whose loved ones paid their premiums for years.

The Senate voted 39-0 for the bill. The same legislation cleared the House on Monday by a 109-0 vote.