Did you know that the life insurance industry has 15,166.47 crore of unclaimed money that belongs to policyholders or their beneficiaries, as of FY18? The accumulated amount includes payments such as maturity claims, premium refunds, surrender benefits and death claim that you or your beneficiary has not claimed for more than six months since the settlement date.

The insurance regulator has taken steps to make it easier for policyholders to identify unclaimed amounts and make a claim. Here’s how to go about it.

The process

You can simply go to the insurer’s website to identify any unclaimed amount. While some insurers’ websites have the facility on the home page itself, others have it under customer service.

You will need to compulsorily give your name and date of birth as that is the minimum information the insurer requires to locate any outstanding amount against your name. You can also fill in details such as your policy number, Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Aadhaar number to make the search quicker. Rules allow companies the flexibility to publish details if the unclaimed amount is at least 10,000, but some insurers publish even smaller amounts. A website search is recommended before you approach the insurer.

Once you know the amount, you can approach the insurer directly. Insurers will process the payment only after completing the KYC (know your customer) formalities and getting the bank account details for an electronic transfer. Insurers may have more layers of verification in order to prevent fraud.

Why it’s important

When you invest your hard-earned money, it’s important to keep track of it, but that’s not the only reason why you need to be prompt. You also risk forfeiting your money if you forget about it and sit on it for many years.

According to the rules, amounts with insurance companies lying unclaimed for 10 years will be moved to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF) created by the government. After that policyholders and beneficiaries will be eligible to claim the unpaid dues (unclaimed money) up to 25 years from the date of transfer to SCWF.

If you don’t make the claim even during this period of 25 years, the money will belong to the government and you or your beneficiary won’t be able to claim it.

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