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Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy Benefits Search - Demutualization Claims

Frequently Asked Questions:  Unclaimed Demutualization Compensation


What is demutualization
Why do companies demutualize
Who is entitled to receive compensation
How come I didn't know
How is the amount of compensation determined
Am I entitled to receive unclaimed compensation as heir to a deceased policyholder
Are holders of small face value policies entitled to receive compensation
How does demutualization affect my rights as a policyholder
Are there any long-term benefits of demutualization

How do I make a claim
What happens to unclaimed demutualization proceeds
Is there a time limit on claims

What if I have reason to believe deceased family was an policyholder entitled to unclaimed demutualization compensation
What are the tax implications of reclaimed demutualization compensation?


What is demutualization?
Demutualization is the process of converting a mutual life insurance company, which is owned by its policyholders, into a publicly traded stock company owned by shareholders, who may or may also be policyholders. A company demutualizes pursuant to a plan of conversion which must be approved by both policyholders and government regulators. In exchange for their ownership interest in the old mutual insurance company, policyholders are entitled to receive a combination of stock, cash, and/or policy credits in the new company.

Why do companies demutualize?
Mutual insurance companies elect to demutualize because as publicly-traded stockholder-owned companies it is easier to raise capital, effect mergers and acquisitions, and to attract and retain employees through the use of stock options.

Who is entitled to receive compensation?
Each companies plan of conversion defines which policyholders are entitled to receive compensation, and there are differences among them. Eligible policyholders generally include those whose policies are paid-up and in force on or before the date of demutualization, and their heirs

How come I didn't know?
Each plan of conversion from a mutual insurance company to a stockholder owned company specifically addresses what steps must be taken to notify policyholders both of their right to vote on the conversion, and of their potential entitlement to receive compensation for their ownership interest. If you had an unreported change of name (after marriage or divorce) or address, you may not have received the required correspondence. Your entitlement may also have been missed if you are the rightful heir to a policyholder who failed to claim the compensation.

Am I entitled to receive unclaimed compensation as rightful heir to a deceased policyholder?
Yes, heirs are entitled to receive unclaimed demutualization compensation.

How is the amount of compensation determined?
The amount each policyholder is to receive is generally based on a number of factors, including length of time the policy has been in force, face value of the policy, and total premiums paid. For many policyholders, the windfall arising from demutualization can be substantial, and the financial benefits continue to accrue long after a company demutualizes.

Are the amounts substantial - what sort of dollar figures are involved?
The amounts involved vary according to each company's plan of conversion, and where compensation is in the form of stock, how well the demutualized company has performed. MetLife, for example, estimated its unclaimed demutualization compensation at 60 million shares, worth $2,040,000,000 at the current share price.

Are holders of small face value policies entitled to receive compensation?
The answer is often "yes". Millions of small face value policyholders - including owners and heirs with so-called industrial life and burial insurance - are entitled to collect. Due to poor record keeping, these policyholders constitute a disproportionate share of those who have not yet claimed compensation.

How does demutualization affect my rights as a policyholder?
Demutualization does not affect policy benefits for policies that remain in force. It may, in fact, reduce your policy premiums if some or all of the compensation you are entitled to is in the form of policy credits.

Are there any long-term benefits of demutualization?
As a shareholder in the demutualized company, you may now be entitled to share in the company's profits via stock dividends, and benefit from its growth in the form of an appreciated share price. Your shares may be sold at any time, without affecting policy benefits.

How do I make a claim?
The claims process is simple and straightforward. If you are claiming funds for a deceased family member, you will need to provide proof of death and verification of your entitlement.

What happens to unclaimed demutualization proceeds?
If the demutualized company is unable to locate policyholders or heirs owed compensation within a reasonable period of time set by statute, the unclaimed stock and/or cash is remitted to the protective custody of a government trust account. Thereafter owners or heirs can reclaim their funds from the custodian.

Is there a time limit on claims?
No. The demutualization proceeds, once remitted to the government custodian, are generally available for claim in perpetuity. Prompt action should be taken, however, as there is a downside to waiting. Unclaimed stock in the demutualized company may be sold by the custodian after a period of time, generally 1-3 years. Thereafter you are entitled only to the proceeds of the sale, not any dividends or price appreciation which occurred after the sale date. In addition, you may be subject to capital gains tax on the sale.

What if I have reason to believe deceased family was an policyholder entitled to unclaimed demutualization compensation?
If you have reason to believe a deceased family member was entitled to unclaimed demutualization compensation, eventually the proceeds will  be remitted to a government custodian. The statutory length of time that must elapse before the proceeds are turned over is known as the dormancy period. Dormancy periods on unclaimed demutualization compensation vary by state, but generally run one-to-three years.

What are the tax implications of reclaimed demutualization compensation?
Currently the IRS currently maintains policyholders have a zero basis in demutualization proceeds. If you subsequently were to sell shares received from the initial public offering, you may be obligated to pay tax on the capital gains. It is important, therefore, to reclaim as quickly as possible any distributions that have been remitted to a government custodian, as shares are typically sold after a relatively short holding period. (Note: this position is currently facing a legal challenge which may result in the reduction or elimination of tax).

unclaimed demutualization search


American Mutual Life / Amerus Manufacturers Life / Manulife Principal Mutual Life
Anthem Insurance Metropolitan Life / MetLife Provident Mutual Life
Central Life Assurance Mutual of New York / MONY Prudential Life
Equitable / Axa Mutual Service Life Standard Insurance
General American Life Nationwide / Allied Mutual State Mutual / Allmerica
Indianapolis Life Northwestern / ReliaStar Sun Life / Clarica
John Hancock Mutual Life Phoenix Home Life Unum Mutual / Unum

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