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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater Encourages Floridians to Search $25 Million in New Unclaimed Property Accounts

1/9/2013

Contact: Alexis Lambert
(850) 413-2842
  
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced 61,271 new unclaimed property accounts, worth more than $25 million, are being received as part of a settlement with AIG related to unclaimed life insurance benefits. This represents only the first of what is expected to be additional remittances to be made by the insurer. 
 
“These new accounts represent dollars loved ones set aside to secure financial stability for their families. Holding companies accountable means these dollars will now be returned to their rightful owners across the state,” CFO Atwater said.

The practice addressed in the settlement agreement, signed on Oct. 22, 2012, involves life insurance companies determining an insured has died by comparing policyholder records to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF). Many companies have used this method to stop annuity payments, but have not used the same method to issue life insurance payments. When an insured or beneficiary cannot be located, the insurance company is responsible for reporting and remitting the monetary value of the policy to the insured’s state department of unclaimed property.  State unclaimed property programs provide a central means by which the owners, or their heirs, can find out about and claim the funds.

The agreement with AIG is the fifth agreement that Florida has settled that requires large national insurers to appropriately use the DMF to locate life and annuity beneficiaries, and promptly remit payment to the unclaimed property division of each state for beneficiaries that cannot be located. To date, the five settlements have resulted in 73,859 new accounts worth more than $51.25 million being remitted back to the state Bureau of Unclaimed Property for Floridians to claim.
 
To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-5555.

During Jeff Atwater’s tenure as CFO, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting owners, heirs and businesses with more than one-fifth ($426.78 million) of all money returned since the beginning of the 51-year old program, due largely to aggressive efforts to contact owners. There is no statute of limitations on unclaimed property, and citizens have the right to claim their property, or the proceeds derived from their abandoned property, any time at no cost.

Consumers can access more information about the settlement agreements by accessing the Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services’ webpage at: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/consumers/.  To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-5555.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away capital, and ensuring transparency and accountability in spending.