Texas Returns Life Insurance Benefits — and Closes an Expensive Loophole

AUSTIN, July 1, 2017 - Since fiscal 2013, the Comptroller’s office has returned more than $41 million in unpaid life insurance benefits to its rightful owners. We examine the issue of life insurance — and an important new Texas law affecting it — in the latest issue of Fiscal Notes.

Traditionally, life insurance companies were not required to pay benefits, even when they knew an insured person had passed away, unless they were notified by the beneficiaries. That practice even allowed companies to continue drawing on a deceased person’s policy for premium payments, sometimes until its value ran out.

“I’m proud to say Texas has joined 24 other states by adopting a new law that shifts the responsibility of notification away from beneficiaries, giving the insured some additional peace of mind,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “This policy change will also have a significant impact on one of our agency’s key responsibilities — the return of unclaimed property by reuniting lost benefits with the families of loved ones.”

In this issue, we also look at the work of our Economic Growth and Endangered Species Management Division, which works with university scientists, federal regulators, industry stakeholders and communities to ensure we can protect endangered species in a way that also preserves private property rights and local economies.

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