2013 North Dakota Century Code
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UNCLAIMED LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS
As used in this chapter:
1. "Contract" means an annuity contract issued in this state. The term does not include
an annuity used to fund an employment-based retirement plan or program in which the
insurer is not committed by terms of the annuity contract to pay death benefits to the
beneficiaries of specific plan participants.
2. "Death master file" means the United States social security administration's death
master file or any other database or service the commissioner has determined is at
least as comprehensive as the United States social security administration's death
master file for determining that an individual has reportedly died.
3. "Death master file match" means a search of the death master file or revised death
master file which results in a match of the social security number or of the name and
date of birth of an insured, annuity owner, or retained asset accountholder.
4. "Policy" means any policy or certificate of life insurance issued in this state which
provides a death benefit. The term does not include:
a. A policy or certificate of life insurance which provides a death benefit under an
employee benefit plan subject to the federal Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 [Pub. L. 93-406; 29 U.S.C. 1002 et seq.];
b. A policy or certificate of life insurance which provides a death benefit under an
employee benefit plan under any federal employee benefit program;
c. A policy or certificate of life insurance which is used to fund a pre-need funeral
contract or prearrangement; or
d. A policy or certificate of credit life or accidental death insurance.
5. "Revised death master file" means the names added to the death master file since the
insurer's most recent semiannual comparison required under this chapter.
26.1-55-02. Insurer conduct.
1. Before November 1, 2014, an insurer shall perform a comparison of the insurer's
insureds' in-force life insurance policies and retained asset accounts against a death
master file in order to identify potential matches of the insurer's insureds.
Semiannually, an insurer shall perform a comparison of the insurer's insureds' in-force
life insurance policies and retained asset accounts against the revised death master
file in order to identify the potential matches of the insurer's insureds.
2. For each potential match identified as a result of a death master file or revised death
master file match, within twelve months of the potential match, the insurer shall:
a. Complete a good-faith effort, which the insurer shall document, to confirm the
death of the insured or retained asset accountholder against other available
records and information;
b. Review the insurer's records to determine whether the individual who has died
purchased any other products with the insurer; and
c. Determine whether benefits are due in accordance with the applicable policy or
contract, and if benefits are due in accordance with the applicable policy or
contract the insurer shall:
(1) Use good-faith efforts, which the insurer shall document, to locate the
beneficiary or beneficiaries; and
(2) Provide the appropriate claims forms or instructions to the beneficiary or
beneficiaries to make a claim, including the need to provide an official death
certificate, if applicable under the policy or contract.
3. With respect to group life insurance, for each potential match identified as a result of a
death master file or revised death master file match, the insurer shall confirm the
possible death of an insured if the insurer maintains at least the following information
of those covered under a policy or certificate:
a. The social security number or the name and date of birth;
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b. Beneficiary designation information;
c. Coverage eligibility;
d. Benefit amount; and
e. Premium payment status.
Every insurer shall implement procedures to account for:
a. Nicknames, initials used in lieu of a first or middle name, use of a middle name,
compound first and middle names, and interchanged first and middle names;
b. Compound last names, maiden or married names, and hyphens, blank spaces,
and apostrophes in last names;
c. Incomplete date of birth data and transposition of the month and date portions of
a date of birth; and
d. Incomplete social security numbers.
To the extent permitted by law, for each potential match identified as a result of a death
master file or revised death master file match, the insurer may disclose minimum
necessary personal information about the insured or beneficiary to:
a. A person the insurer reasonably believes may be able to assist the insurer locate
the beneficiary; or
b. A person otherwise entitled to payment of the claims proceeds.
An insurer or an insurer's service provider may not charge an insured, accountholder,
or beneficiary for any fees or costs associated with a comparison, search, or
verification conducted pursuant to this section.
The benefits from a life insurance policy or a retained asset account, plus any
applicable accrued interest must be first payable to the designated beneficiaries or
owners and if the beneficiaries or owners cannot be found, escheat to the state as
unclaimed property as provided under this chapter.
Within twelve months following a potential match identified as a result of a death
master file or revised death master file match, an insurer shall:
a. Notify the state abandoned property office that a life insurance policy beneficiary
or retained asset accountholder has not submitted and completed a claim with
the insurer and that the insurer has complied with subsections 2 and 3 and has
been unable, after good-faith efforts documented by the insurer, to contact the
retained asset accountholder, beneficiary, or beneficiaries and unable to complete
the necessary payment; and
b. Submit any unclaimed life insurance benefits or unclaimed retained asset
accounts, plus any applicable accrued interest, to the state abandoned property
office under chapter 47-30.1.
Except as otherwise provided under this chapter, chapter 47-30.1 applies to the
escheatment of unclaimed life insurance benefits or unclaimed retained asset
The commissioner may adopt rules to limit an insurer's death master file comparisons and
revised death master file comparisons required under this chapter to the insurer's electronic
searchable files, to allow the commissioner to approve an insurer's plan and timeline for
conversion of the insurer's files to electronic searchable files, and to allow for phasing-in
compliance with this chapter according to an insurer's plan and timeline approved by the
Section 47-30.1-07 and chapter 47-30.1, relating to unclaimed property, apply to a contract
or policy to the extent the laws do not conflict with this chapter.
26.1-55-05. Unfair trade practices - Liability limitation.
Failure to meet any requirement of this chapter is a violation of chapter 26.1-04. This
chapter does not create a private cause of action for violation of this chapter. Once an insurer
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submits unclaimed life insurance benefits or unclaimed retained asset accounts, plus any
applicable accrued interests, to the state abandoned property office in compliance with this
chapter, the insurer is relieved and indemnified from additional liability to any person relating to
the proceeds submitted. This indemnification from liability is in addition to any other protections
provided by law.
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Title 26.1 Insurance
Chapter 26.1-55 Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits
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