The escheat of the life insurance contract

Unclaimed, unpaid, escheated contracts… Whatever name we give it, this type of contract is always characterized by the non-payment of the capital to the insured in the event of the expiry of the contract, or to its beneficiary(ies) on the death of the insured. These situations are likely to arise if the beneficiary clause lacks precision. The insurer may have difficulty locating or identifying the persons mentioned. It also happens that he is not informed of the death of the insured. And it is precisely to fight against the billions of euros sleeping in bank accounts and to promote a better rate of liquidation of insurance policies that the Eckert law of 3-6-2014 was passed. The latter issues various obligations aimed at strengthening the procedures and tools available to insurance organisations.

Focus on the Eckert law

Implemented in 2015, the Eckert law aims above all to protect living policyholders and their beneficiaries. For this, insurers have been imposed several obligations. Initially, the legislative text obliges the various bodies offering life insurance to inform each of their policyholders about the contracts they have taken out and their developments. An effort of transparency is also required through an annual publication of the number of unclaimed contracts. In addition, insurance companies must also consult the National Directory for the Identification of Individuals (RNIPP) each year, in order to check whether the holders of a life insurance policy taken out with them are still alive. In the event of death, the organization must inform the beneficiary or beneficiaries within fifteen days. If he is unable to identify them, he must engage in active research with the administration or notaries, for example, to find them.

What happens to unclaimed capital?

In the event of non-complaint on the part of the beneficiaries and if the insurer has not been able to identify them, the funds are transferred after ten years to the Caisse des dépôts et consignations (CDC) which will in turn keep them. for twenty years. During this period, the beneficiaries still have the possibility of recovering the funds before they are definitively paid to the State, which then becomes the owner. At this stage, the capital can no longer be returned.

Persons likely to be the beneficiaries of a dormant contract can contact the Association for the Management of Information on Risk in Insurance (Agira) to recover the funds from a life insurance contract dating from less than ten years. Indeed, the Agira can be requested free of charge by individuals as well as by insurance companies. When the contract has not been claimed for more than ten years, it is then necessary to contact the CDC via its online tool www.ciclade.fr. To search for an unsettled contract, it is necessary to create a file containing information related to the subscriber (death certificate) and the beneficiary by entering them directly online or by sending them by post.

How to avoid escheating your life insurance policy?

To prevent a life insurance contract from becoming dormant, it is imperative to pay particular attention to the beneficiary clause. This mentions the person or persons chosen by the subscriber to receive the payment of the capital upon his death. While most beneficiary clauses are standardized and designate the surviving spouse or children as the beneficiaries of the contract, the subscriber can also draft it himself. For the insurer to be able to find the beneficiary or beneficiaries, the wording must be as precise as possible. For this, the surnames, first names, maiden names, dates and places of birth, addresses of the beneficiaries must be mentioned carefully. It is also essential to regularly update this clause by modifying the information it contains so that it is in line with reality. For example, a maiden name mentioned in place of a married name can greatly complicate the process of winding up a policy. Marriage, divorce, change of address, birth, signature of a PACS… The insurer must be informed of any change by ordinary mail. The clause will then be amended as many times as necessary. It should also be noted that the contract subscriber is free to change beneficiary when the latter has not validated his appointment.

(By the editorial staff of the hREF agency)

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