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A company that issued a life insurance policy may have changed its name, merged with another company or sold a block of policies to another insurance company. Because of this, you may have problems locating the life insurer that services and pays claims on a policy. If this occurs, you should start your search by collecting the following information:
- Make sure you have the entire legal name of the insurance company. This should be listed on the policy or the binder.
- Check to see if there is a mailing address and phone number in the policy or binder.
- Check old bank statements, or contact the insured's auto or homeowner agent who sometimes knows about the insured's life insurance.
- If possible, determine in what state the policy was purchased and when it was purchased.
- Once you have this information, you should contact the insurance department of the state in which the deceased resided at the time he/she purchased the policy.
- If that insurance department cannot help you, you should contact the state insurance department in which the insurance company was located at the time the policy was issued. Many times the domestic insurance department for the insurance company will be able to track name changes or mergers that impacted the insurance company.
- You may also go to your local library and request Best's Insurance Reports. This annual report lists insurance company names and addresses, reorganizations, mergers, name changes and bankruptcies during the last year.
- Finally, many life insurance companies are members of life insurance trade associations. You should also contact one of the following trade associations for additional assistance in locating the company that services your existing policy such as the American Council of Life Insurers at www.acli.org.
Ohioans with questions about life insurance can call the Department's toll-free consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. A life insurance informational toolkit is also available on the Department's website at www.insurance.ohio.gov. The toolkit provides tip sheets, publications and links to other helpful websites.