Question: Who started this business?
People have been buying life insurance for hundreds of years. During that time, there were simple rules: The Policy and its attachments are the complete contract, to be held by the Insured/Policy Owner, who must pay premiums when due. Claims are paid by the Company, following a reasonable investigation of facts presented by the Beneficiary following the death of the Insured, accompanied by a death certificate. During those days, when the Company was not notified of the death of its Insured, the policy would lapse for non-payment of premium or would shrink in value as Cash Values were used up to pay billed premiums. If a beneficiary did not know the policy was in force, or did not know what Company had issued the policy, giving Notice was not achievable in many, many cases; resulting in claims not getting processed.
About 1993, Paul D. Archibald, who served the Life Industry for 30 years at that time, started developing a concept for helping members of the public to find out what Life Insurance was in-force, and how to develop contact information about the Issuing Company. Using E-mail and Telephone as the principal means of communication, he placed an ad in the NY Law Journal in early 1995, inviting inquiries from potential customers and their Lawyers, so that Lost Life Insurance Policies could be located.
Mr. Archibald was a Market Conduct Examiner for the VA State Department of Insurance at the time of publication. He did not obtain prior permission (which would have been denied,) for these activities, and was asked to choose only one of the two “occupations” he was following, to avoid “the appearances of conflict of interest.” He works in the Life Insurance business was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Insurance, but they determined that they had nothing to do with the “Searching for Lost Life Insurance.” Without any of the appearances of Conflict of Interest, advertising for the new venture was started immediately, and he was not permitted to continue his career with the Insurance Department. Thus began the first establishment anywhere in the world dedicated to the Proposition that all men and woman could be assisted and instructed in the art of finding lost or “policies whose whereabouts were unknown,” for a reasonable fee of 18-cents per search letter faxed to licensed life insurance companies on the customer’s behalf. The first web site for the company was started in 1999. MIB wrote in 2002 that they would no longer respond to our faxed inquires to them since they already had “file histories they could sell” without making any additional search efforts; their imitation of our concept turned out to be the second company to discuss matters relating to finding lost life insurance policies. However, at that time, all records more than 8 years old had been destroyed, so they stopped destroying old records when this effort was initiated in 2002.
Question: Paul Archibald: Insurance Hunter - Why that name?
Like all genuine success stories, the start-up and continuation of this business dedicated to serving the Under-served, is mainly hard-work and dedication. Phones ring almost 24 hours a day, and people needing advice and assistance are looking for somebody to talk to who knows “How things get done,” and what makes “Things go wrong.” An answering machine performs none of those functions. Only a trained and talented individual can provide the required support functions. We use an answering machine only in the event of overload, so customers can leave a number, and we call them back between morning and midnight – with the customer stating his preference in the message she or he leaves.
Question: How Long has Paul Archibald: Insurance Hunter been in Business?
We have continuously served the entire U.S. And its possessions, and parts of Canada since our initial beginnings in 1995.
Question: Can you really find Lost Life Insurance policies?
We tell all callers the same facts: If there was a policy in full effect on the day the Loved One Died, we can find it. It is important to remember when making a decision whether or not to pursue a search, that the premium for the insurance must have been paid up to and including the day death occurred for there to have been insurance in effect. (Special consideration for Grace Period.)
Question: Who is Paul Archibald: Insurance Hunter?
Paul Archibald, Now 80 years of age, he started in the Life Insurance business in May, 1962, and he worked for 23 years in 4 different Life Insurance Company Home Offices (all but one of those companies closed or was sold to “New Ownership” since then. He then worked almost 5 years for the VA State Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Steven Foster. He was required to give up his Life and his P&C Licenses while working for the State, but when into Agency/Selling policies work to raise his 4 children while he built L.L.I.F.E. Into a very successful company, helping Widows and Children in all 50 states to this very day.
Learn More About him Here
Question: Who will answer the phone when I call?
The highest-ranking employee in the office when it rings – who is not already on the phone! History reveals that the majority of incoming phone calls are answered by Mr. Archibald himself
Question: How Do you find lost Life insurance policies?
There is no secret to this question. I have told everyone I know over and over again. When I started, there were over 500 separate Life Insurance Companies doing business in the U.S. Today, that number is down to just under 400. If your loved one had a policy in force on the day he died, one of them has it. To find the policy, just write a letter to every one of those companies, give them your identifying information, so they can communicate with you, and give them all the identifying information relating to your loved one, and ask them if they can search their records for you. If you know any facts about the policy, its age, size, type, etc., you should include that information in your letter. If you give them a reasonable time to do a search for you, they will write you back when or if they find matching information. That is what we do, but we have all 400 letters ready to go out for you within 24 hours.
Question: What is the Quickest Way to get results?
By Using our online form, and filling out the information form as completely as possible. If you decide you want to submit your information form and payment via mail, with an enclosed check for payment, please just send it via First Class Mail. Avoid and “Special Services”, such as Registered Mail or Signature Required, as these cause more issues for us, and usually end up with us having to make a 30-minute drive to the post office to pick them up.
question: What Do You Do If You Lose Your Life Insurance Policy?
As soon as you become aware that you may have lost your life insurance policy, several steps should be considered:
1. Conduct careful searches [for] to re-locate those papers.
2. Call the life insurance company who provides the Services and premium notices for your policy. After advising them of your situation, ask for information from them about your policy.
3. In most instances , during the conversation with your Company, the insurance company will volunteer to send you a copy of the policy. It is a good idea to get a copy promptly, which will be provided at no charge , and will provide good information to you and to your possible heirs in the event that the original policy is not subsequently located.
4. Consult with the persons you selected to be your beneficiaries – discuss all details about your policy with your Beneficiaries and determine if they have seen (the) contract or know anyone who may have knowledge of its
Question: Do Life Insurance Companies Notify Beneficiaries?
Life insurance company personnel direct routine correspondence to the Owner-of-record, if any, on a timely basis, beginning on the first day after issue of any new policy. The insured person is generally the same person as the Owner, unless otherwise requested by the parties to the policy. (Normally requested as part of the policy application.) Anytime any type of notice or correspondence is produced by the company Home Office, the owner will be the addressee, if the Policy has a dedicated owner, otherwise, everything is sent to the insured person. Common items routinely sent: premium notices, annual reports, and annual privacy notifications, lapse notices and cancellations. Other than that, most correspondence is initiated by the policy owner. If a premium is not paid when due, special extra notices are produced to help prevent unintentional lapse. It is important to be aware that the only obligation placed upon a beneficiary is to notify the company concerning the death of the insured (and to subsequently collect any policy proceeds.) The company will normally be unaware of the death of an insured until timely notice is received, usually directly from a beneficiary. The death of the Insured frequently results in non-payment of premium when due,
so late- and lapse-notices are sent, with the company still unaware of any death of the insured. It is for this reason that it is so important for the beneficiary to give notice as soon as possible, to initiate a policy settlement.
question: Who is My Beneficiary?
The life insurance policy is a business contract between two parties: the company and the policy owner. This contract is property, governed by insurance regulation and principles of law. The definition of “The Beneficiary,” is the biggest secret in the life insurance business! Here is that definition: The beneficiary is the person, designated by the policy owner, who will become the owner of the contract at the moment of the
death of the insured. The reason the beneficiary collects the proceeds (Settlement) from the policy is because the policy terminates at the moment of death, and the beneficiary becomes Owner, (takes control of the contract) at that time. The policy terminates in the releasing the benefits to the then Owner of ththe policy.
Question: What Happens to Life Insurance Policies If No One Claims?
This question is important to many, many insurance consumers, but accurate answers about the terms of a policy are not generally known.
The insurance company maintains its file for every policyholder, which contains mostly information provided by the policy owner/insured person. Very little information is obtained from outside sources after the policy is issued. In general, it is a true statement that the insurance company has very little information about the status of customers from day-to-day, unless and until the insured or the owner, or beneficiary provides that information in written form. The most common form of
status-changing is the “address change.” A frequent occurrence to the policy status is the automatic lapseing of a policy after premiums are not received when due, (and supsequent late notices go unanswered.) The consequence which follows is the automatic lapsing of policy. The steps
followed are contract provisions. Lapsing the policy, however, does not negate the payment of any claim that occurred while the policy was still in active, premium-paying status . The policy is a contract and the obligations of the parties are clearly presented there. The beneficiary has an obligation to notify the company promptly upon the death of the insured. If such notice is not received by the company, the policy usually would continue until it subsequently lapses for non-payment. The provisions of the policy concerning the disposition of any benefit is followed and confirmed by US mail to the last known address.
Because addresses change frequently, and the post office refuses to forward mail after 12 months, there is a prompt obligation upon the beneficiary or other family members to give written notice to the insurance company concerning the death of the insured. Claims processing could be expedited by including newspaper clippings
or death notices from the newspaper or Obituary or Church Bulletin.
question: Unclaimed Benefits Held by Life Insurance Companies
It is the job of family members to notify the life insurance company right
away when an insured person dies. This stops premium billing, yet keeps
the policy in force until the claim can be paid. Did you know that as many
as one-third of all life insurance policy benefits go unclaimed at the death of the insured, because beneficiaries and their heirs often aren’t aware a policy exists, or don’t know how to find it. For these reasons, the death of the insured is not reported to the Life Insurance Company.
When heirs don’t immediately claim life policy benefits at the time of death, then by law, all unclaimed life insurance policy benefits are held in trust until claimants come forward. Little effort can be made to locate lost heirs and beneficiaries because they are so difficult to trace. Names change after marriage, death, or divorce. Unreported changes of address and postal forwarding orders that expire in one short year after a move, conflict with efforts to locate people. Finally, many needed records, if located, are found to be incomplete or illegible. All of the above is just half of the bigger source of accumulating “missing persons’” funds.
Can Life Insurance Companies Refuse to Pay?
The first thing I want to make clear: I am not a Lawyer and I may not give any type of Legal Advice. Only Lawyers can do that. However, I wrote a book-chapter for an Insurance Regulary Association in 1974 about Designating the Life Policy Beneficiary, and I will share what I have taught many Agent License Trainees: A court challenge about a Life Insurance policy is called a “contest.” The only contest permitted must be filed during the first two policy years. Beyond that date, the policy is considered to be incontestable. The claims presented during the first
two policy years are generally based on fraudulent actions by a party to the contract So, in general, a life insurance company may not refuse to pay for any reason after any policy has has been in premium-paying status for more than 24 months.