What you need to know about finding life insurance policies after a death

17 July 2018

After someone close passes away, there’s often lots to think about and a stack of paperwork to sort through. So perhaps it’s not surprising that life insurance policies can sometimes be overlooked. This is especially true if the deceased didn’t leave a will or if the relevant paperwork is nowhere to be found. Finding unclaimed life insurance policies may require a little detective work.

How much unclaimed life insurance is out there?

Life insurance is, by its nature, long term, so it’s not surprising that people can sometimes lose track of the paperwork or even forget that they have a policy. This may explain why so many life insurance policies go unclaimed.

It’s not clear just how much the UK’s unclaimed life insurance adds up to, with different sources estimating anywhere between £100 million1 and £2 billion2.

Where should you start to look for lost insurance policies?

The first step to is to establish whether the deceased had a life insurance policy, and if they did, whether it’s still valid. You should be able to find out by looking at their bank statements to see whether they were paying a regular life insurance premium. If they were, the statement should also reveal the name of the insurance company receiving the payments.

If the deceased had an accountant or a legal adviser, it would also be a good idea to contact them, as they may be able to point you in the right direction and provide some further details.

Where can you find help to track down lost insurance policies?

Once you know that the deceased had a life insurance policy, and which company provided it, you should try contacting the provider directly. Even if you’re missing the specific details of the policy itself, they should be able to track down the policy given a few key details.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) can help you find the contact information of many UK insurance companies on its searchable member database. This database will also help you to find insurance companies that have merged, changed their name, or been taken over by other companies.

Some firms offer a paid service to try and help you locate unclaimed policies.  This might be worth considering if you do not have details of the policy or know the name of the insurance provider, fees may vary and results are not guaranteed.

How can you find unclaimed life insurance from mutual and friendly societies?

Friendly and mutual societies appeared in the 19th century as organisations that people paid into and received benefits from, like financial services, social and health care. By the 20th century, many also offered forms of life insurance.

In recent decades, many of these societies have undergone mergers and demutualisation and so no longer operate in the same way3. However, it’s not as difficult as you might expect to track down defunct societies. The Association of Financial Mutuals looks after the interests of remaining mutuals and their members, and they offer help in tracking down lost insurance policies on their Tracing a Society page. You can search their list of members and their register of closed societies to find details of societies past and present, and who now owns their assets.

If you’re still drawing a blank, the Financial Conduct Authority should be your next stop, where you’ll find the searchable Mutuals Public Register, a public record of mutual societies both currently and no longer registered.

Have you considered your own Life Insurance?

Depending on your own individual circumstances, Life Insurance could help provide you with some peace of mind.

Why not explore what our Life Insurance could offer you

1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/savings/8319678/Billions-unclaimed-in-dormant-accounts.html
2. https://unclaimedassets.co.uk/lost-life-insurance-association-of-british-insurers-abi/
3. https://www.financialmutuals.org/owned-by-you/mutuals-a-history