Losing an annuity contract could mean missing out on a valuable income stream. You receive a contract at the time of purchase that details the terms, interest rate and benefits. It usually takes five to 10 years for an annuity to mature, which explains why you may have a hard time remembering where you kept the contract.
Life insurance policies, including annuities, provide death benefits, such as cash payouts to your beneficiaries. Annuities also provide the owner with living benefits in the form of a pension-style income stream. You can only acquire annuities and other policies through state-licensed insurance agents. In some instances, agents earn residual income for policy sales years after the purchase was made. Contact your agent and request a copy of the missing policy. If the agent no longer works in the business, research whether the agent sold the business to someone else. That person should have records of active policies, including your annuity.
Life insurance agents are often independent, which means they sell annuities for a variety of different firms. If you remember the name of the issuing company, contact that firm directly. Make contact by phone or letter and provide basic information, such as your name, date of birth and Social Security number. The company can give you copies of your original contract. Provide the company with your current address to ensure you receive statements on the account.
State Guaranty Funds
Insurance companies are engaged in the business of risk, and some become insolvent as a result. When this occurs, state regulators seize the struggling firms' assets. Every state has a guaranty fund that insures policies, including annuities, up to varying dollar limits. If your policy issuer has gone bust, contact the guaranty fund to check on the status of your investment. Your contract might have been sold to a solvent firm. Even if not, you can reclaim the portion of your money that was protected by the state guaranty fund.
State laws require insurance firms to surrender abandoned property. This includes funds from inactive annuities. In some states, a contract is technically abandoned if the insurance firm has not been in contact with the owner within the last three years. When this happens, insurers hand over or "escheat" the cash to the state. You can search for lost annuities money by searching your state's unclaimed property database. Once you've located lost funds, you can reclaim the money from the state.
- Kansas State Treasurer: Unclaimed Property
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners: How to Locate a Life Insurance Benefit When You Don't Have the Policy
- National Association of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations: What Happens When an Insurance Company Fails?
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners: Annuities
- Marketwatch: Finding Lost Money Is Real, Billions Unclaimed