Corporate Interests Pushing Little-known Commission to Benefit From Unclaimed Life Insurance and Other Property

Report Details Alarming Conflicts of Interest, Special Interests Looking to Profit From the Bereaved and Unsuspecting

Read The Full Report Here:

A report out today from Allied Progress, an organization that deploys hard-hitting research to hold powerful special interests accountable, outlines how life insurance companies and other corporate interests are pushing a little-known commission to change the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act to, among other things, make it more difficult for ordinary people to collect on life insurance policies when a loved one passes away.

The report, “Death Trap: How Powerful Special Interests Are Looking to Cash in on the Bereaved and Unsuspecting,” comes as a drafting committee of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) meets in Washington, D.C. today to discuss possible changes to the longstanding Uniform Unclaimed Property Act that could ultimately be recommended to state legislatures. To date, around 40 states have adopted some version of the Act over the years.

In addition to life insurance, efforts are also being made to change provisions of the Act as it relates to forgotten bank accounts, unused gift cards, and other unclaimed property.

Among those leading the charge for changes that would make it more difficult for life insurance policy beneficiaries and others entitled to claims – but who do not yet know that is the case – are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council of Life Insurers. In addition to other revisions, they are pushing to provide corporations with the ability to limit the time by which property must be claimed and make it more difficult for states to use non-governmental professional auditors to enforce existing unclaimed property laws and ensure such property is reported by large multi-state corporations.

In addition to pressure from these corporate interests, the report details how a longtime ULC commissioner responsible for co-chairing the drafting committee has worked to undermine state unclaimed property laws and is a partner in a law firm whose clients would benefit greatly if the Act is gutted.

“The passing of a loved is often one of the most difficult and challenging experiences an individual can face. You’re talking about people who don’t even know they are entitled to a life insurance claim. To make it easier for a corporation to hold onto these benefits and keep them from the rightful owners — these grieving families — is unconscionable,” said Allied Progress executive director Karl Frisch. “Members of the Uniform Law Commission need to stand strong in the face of these powerful corporate interests. They should be dubious of any leaders among their ranks who have a vested interest in changing the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act to benefit industry and reject efforts to water down the safeguards currently enshrined in the Act.”

The ULC most recently made changes to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act almost exactly 20 years ago – stating that the measure was aimed at preventing “ordinary people for the most part, from losing their rights to property that is justifiably theirs. It is theirs because they earned it, inherited it, or were given it.” The changes the ULC is currently considering would benefit corporate interests by keeping beneficiaries separated from property that is rightfully theirs for as long as possible. When big corporations are able to do this they win and consumers lose.

Read The Full Report Here:


To speak with Allied Progress about this report or other issues, contact Alec Saslow at 720-319-4948 or Madison Donzis at 210-488-6220.

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