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Wisconsin Senate Passes Bill Protecting Life Insurance Beneficiaries


MADISON, Wis. – The state Senate unanimously passed a bill to help ensure life insurance companies pay beneficiaries.

The bill, which passed this fall, would protect families from insurance companies if they refuse or neglect to pay out benefits when a loved one dies. The bill is now headed to the Republican-controlled state Assembly.

If signed into law, life insurance companies would be required to compare their policy records against the Social Security “Death Master File” to determine whether a policyholder or annuitant has died.

If a client has died, the insurance company must take “reasonable steps” to contact his or her beneficiaries and pay them.

State Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Somers, said a troubling segment on “60 Minutes” inspired him to take action. CBS reporters found life insurance companies across the nation are sitting on billions of dollars in unclaimed, unpaid life insurance benefits.

“When I first heard about this issue on ‘60 Minutes,’ my jaw hit the floor, and I knew we had to do something. This bill is the result of a lot of hard work, and I want to thank my Republican colleagues for bringing it forward. It’s a great example of the good work we can do when we work together,” Wirch said in a statement.
Similar laws have passed in Illinois, Florida, West Virginia and New York.

– Image courtesy Pixabay