Is it true that faked-death life insurance fraud really happens? Have funeral homes tried to change the beneficiary information on a policy while burying the dead? The answers are YES!
The John Darwin case was an investigation into the faked death of a prison officer who turned up alive five years after he was believed to have drowned. He fraudulently obtained a passport and his wife claimed the money. He was living in a house next door. Yes, there are cases of life insurance fraud all the time but there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim:
Check an Insurance Agent’s License
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners can offer information on state license information and regulations. This is a good place to start if you have any consumer questions. However, every state has their own regulations and guidelines.
Read Documents Thoroughly
Do not give social security numbers, bank account or credit card information prior to reading and signing documents.
Beware of Fake Promos
New cars and too good to be true incentives are usually just that and should not be trusted.
Premiums Will Go to the Insurance Company, Not to the Agent
An agent does not handle payments once accepted. But, a good agent will explain in detail how the underwriting and acceptance process and premiums are handled.
No Blank Spaces
If your documents have any blanks that have not been filled in, check and double check. Ask questions why.
Always Check Out the Company if Unfamiliar
Checking the status on the Internet is a place to find out how new the company is and its history. Your state insurance site will also be able to give you information.
Check Standard and Poor’s Financial Ratings
As one of the world’s largest insurance rating organizations, they maintain reports and ratings on more than 3,000 insurance entities in approximately 70 countries.
Buying Life Insurance
When you send in your application, you send in your first premium. If for some reason you are denied, you will be reimbursed. In most cases, you are insured during the underwriting process.
Contact Your State Insurance Commission for Regulations
If you access your state department of insurance, you will find information for all types that include homeowners and auto. On Illinois’s website, for example, there is a guide that will help you access your needs for life insurance, the advantage of buying at a young and healthy age and mandatory provisions. Illinois has a free look period of ten days where you can review your policy in that time and return it with a full refund.
Fortunately, most insurance companies want a certified death certificate not a copy when claiming benefits. This is a raised seal or multicolored signature seal from the county, city or state that issued the certificate. This should also have a signature from the officer of the county, city or state.
Faked-death life insurance fraud really happens and if you are the recipient beneficiary on a policy, be cognizant on receiving the death benefit.