CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Treasurer’s Office returned $1.1 million in unclaimed life insurance payments in the most recent fiscal year, setting a record for the agency.

The unclaimed property includes payments beneficiaries did not know about, possibly because insurance companies failed to pay out proceeds until a claim was filed.

The Treasurer’s Office pursued litigation in the fiscal year 2012 against insurance companies in order to guarantee payments could be forwarded to recipients. Since then, the Unclaimed Property Division has worked to return $3.2 million to family members, which represents 78 percent of the state’s total proceeds returned.

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West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue

West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue said related work and payments continue to set records for the office.

“This is something I am so proud of. I am so proud of this division and what they do and how hard they work,” he said.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the office made 379 payments, an increase from 233 payments in the 2017 fiscal year. With the increase in claims came an increase in money returned, going from more than $830,000 in the 2017 fiscal year to $1.1 million in the most recent fiscal year, the first year to meet and surpass the $1 million mark.

Perdue said companies are also being more proactive in making sure recipients receive the appropriate assets.

“They’re making tremendous efforts now to find the rightful owners before they turn the money over to us,” he said.

Perdue said while efforts “cost a little money,” the money they give back to the public is worth the time and financial resources.

“It’s the people’s money,” he stated.

The Treasurer’s Office has returned a total of $4.1 million in insurance proceeds in state history.

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