Unclaimed life insurance policies
A life insurance policy provides money for dependants if you die. Life insurance policies are important if you have dependants (such as your spouse, partner or children).
If no one claims a life insurance policy, the insurance company must identify and contact the owner. This requirement is set out in the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003.
If the insurance company cannot find the owners, they classify the policy as dormant.
Dormant life insurance policies
Life insurance policies become dormant after a period of time depending on the nature of the policy:
- If the policy has a specified term, it becomes dormant after 5 years from either 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 becomes dormant if there has been no communication between the company and the customer for 15 years.
You or your next of kin have the right to claim the money in your dormant life assurance policy at any time.
What life insurance policies are covered?
The Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act applies to all insurance undertakings (companies) in Ireland and all life assurance policies that have been taken out by Irish residents. Policies not covered are those that form part of the assets of:
Insurance company responsibilities
Insurance companies must:
- Keep a register of unclaimed policies
- Contact customers whose life insurance policies are worth €500 or more and tell them how to claim the proceeds of the policies
- Advertise in the national press twice a year to inform customers whose policies are worth less than €500
Dormant Account Fund
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.
The NTMA invests Dormant Accounts Fund and distributes its earnings to programmes or projects helping people with disabilities and people who are disadvantaged economically, socially, or educationally. This distribution is organised by the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Fund.
How to apply
Contact your life insurance company. The Irish Insurance Federation keeps a list of insurance providers.