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$25 Million in Unclaimed Property: Could Some Be Yours?

By: Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email

Tallahassee, FL - It could be easier than winning the lottery.

Florida's Chief Financial Officer announced new unclaimed property accounts are worth more than $25 million.

You can find out if any of it has your name on it.

A lady's platinum ring with sapphire, 11 carats, and eight full cut diamonds.

It's just sitting here, with no one to call its own.

Florida's Chief Financial Officer says there are more than 61,000 new unclaimed property accounts that are worth more than $25 million.

All you have to do is check to see if any of it is yours.

Tallahassee resident David Deveney says, "You would have to be non-intelligent to not at least give it a shot and see if you have anything out there. I would definitely give it a shot. If all it takes is a phone call, why not?"

The office says it took in $376 million last year; one million of that was in tangible items.

Unclaimed money and items come from when a business or entity owes someone such as a credit balance, unclaimed insurance benefits, stocks, or security or utility deposits.

Deveney says, "Who knows if you had a great grandfather and/or uncle that you didn't know about leaving something in your and/or your family's name."

Walter Graham, Unclaimed Property Bureau Chief, says, "We have 1.5 billion worth of accounts and more than 12 million accounts totaling that much money. So, the odds are, if you don't have unclaimed property, I will almost guarantee you that someone that you know will or someone related to you has unclaimed property."

Many items are from unpaid safe deposit boxes that no one has claimed. If no one claims the items after three years, the banks are required to turn them over to the Florida Department of Financial Services.

WCTV discovered that it had eight accounts worth more than 1,300.

To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-5555.


Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater Encourages Floridians to Search $25 Million in New Unclaimed Property Accounts

TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced 61,271 new unclaimed property accounts, worth more than $25 million, are being received as part of a settlement with AIG related to unclaimed life insurance benefits. This represents only the first of what is expected to be additional remittances to be made by the insurer.

“These new accounts represent dollars loved ones set aside to secure financial stability for their families. Holding companies accountable means these dollars will now be returned to their rightful owners across the state,” CFO Atwater said.

The practice addressed in the settlement agreement, signed on Oct. 22, 2012, involves life insurance companies determining an insured has died by comparing policyholder records to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF). Many companies have used this method to stop annuity payments, but have not used the same method to issue life insurance payments. When an insured or beneficiary cannot be located, the insurance company is responsible for reporting and remitting the monetary value of the policy to the insured’s state department of unclaimed property. State unclaimed property programs provide a central means by which the owners, or their heirs, can find out about and claim the funds.

The agreement with AIG is the fifth agreement that Florida has settled that requires large national insurers to appropriately use the DMF to locate life and annuity beneficiaries, and promptly remit payment to the unclaimed property division of each state for beneficiaries that cannot be located. To date, the five settlements have resulted in 73,859 new accounts worth more than $51.25 million being remitted back to the state Bureau of Unclaimed Property for Floridians to claim.

To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-5555.

During Jeff Atwater’s tenure as CFO, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting owners, heirs and businesses with more than one-fifth ($426.78 million) of all money returned since the beginning of the 51-year old program, due largely to aggressive efforts to contact owners. There is no statute of limitations on unclaimed property, and citizens have the right to claim their property, or the proceeds derived from their abandoned property, any time at no cost.

Consumers can access more information about the settlement agreements by accessing the Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services’ webpage at: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/consumers/. To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-5555.


Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida is seeking the rightful owners of $25 million in unclaimed life insurance benefits obtained through a settlement with American International Group Inc.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said Wednesday that the 61,271 unclaimed accounts are the first batch of several expected to be turned over by AIG.

The settlement is the fifth that Florida has reached with national life insurers. In each case the company failed to use the Social Security Administration's Death Master File to locate life and annuity beneficiaries although many have used the file to stop making annuity payments.

Florida's Bureau of Unclaimed Property now will attempt to return the money to owners or heirs.

People can search for unclaimed property on the bureau's web page -- www.FLTreasureHunt.org -- or by calling 1-888-258-2253.


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