Unclaimed life insurance policies
The Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003 requires insurance companies to identify and contact the owners of unclaimed life insurance policies. If the owners cannot be traced, the proceeds of the policies will be transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund, which is managed by the National Treasury Management Agency.
The contents of the Dormant Accounts Fund are invested and the surplus disbursed by the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Fund to be used on programmes or projects to help people with disabilities and people who are economically, socially or educationally disadvantaged.
When is a life insurance policy considered to be dormant?
The dormancy period depends on whether the life assurance policy has a specified term or not. If the policy has a specified term, it will be considered dormant if the customer has not been in contact with the insurance company for 5 years from the date the policy matured or the company's last communication with the customer, whichever is later. If the policy does not have a specified term, it will be considered to be dormant if there has been no communication between the company and the customer for 15 years.
Dormant life assurance policies must be transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund in April of each year.
You have the right to claim the funds contained in your dormant life assurance policy at any time.
There is no time-bar on account holders or their next of kin reclaiming dormant funds, as their rights are preserved. This means that even if the funds have been transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund, you or your next of kin still have a claim on your funds.
What life insurance policies are covered?
The Unclaimed Life Assurance Act applies to all insurance undertakings in Ireland and all life assurance policies that have been taken out by Irish residents, with the exception of policies that form part of the assets of occupational pension schemes, group health insurance or disability benefit schemes and sponsored superannuation schemes.
What do insurance companies have to do under the terms of the Unclaimed Life Assurance Act?
Insurance companies must personally contact customers whose life insurance policies are worth €500 or more and tell them how to claim the proceeds of the policies. Companies must also place advertisements in the national press twice yearly to inform customers whose policies are worth less than €500.
Insurance companies must keep a register of unclaimed policies.
The insurance companies must calculate the cash value of unclaimed life insurance policies on the date that they are transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund. Companies must only transfer the investment value of the policy and must retain the insurance element.
How to apply
Contact your life insurance company. The Irish Insurance Federation maintains a list of insurance providers.