Treasurer Frerichs Eclipses $2 Billion in Unclaimed Property Returned

13.06.24 19:44 Uhr

Record-setting Mark Reached by Returning $500,000 Life Insurance Policy to Lake County Veteran Who Lost Wife

Video of the news conference will be posted athttps://cms.illinois.gov/agency/media/video/videos.html

CHICAGO, June 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced today that his office has returned more than $2 billion in unclaimed property on his watch, a record-setting total for a state program that's been around for more than 60 years.

Illinois State Treasurer's Office (PRNewsfoto/Illinois State Treasurer's Office)

Treasurer Frerichs urges people to check the I-CASH site twice a year to see if there is money waiting for you.

More than 1.7 million people have been reunited with their missing money during Frerichs' tenure. Frerichs reached the $2 billion mark by allowing people to file electronic claims, cutting red tape, and taking on powerful insurance companies.

"I have never stopped fighting to return money to people that rightfully belongs to them," Frerichs said. "We used common sense to improve the unclaimed property program, and as a result, so many Illinoisans have money in their pocket that can be used to help our state's economy."

The Treasurer's Office reached the $2 billion mark in May by returning $500,000 to a Lake County veteran whose late wife, also a veteran, had taken out a life insurance policy through a former employer.

The man, who didn't want his name used to protect his privacy, said he didn't know about the life insurance policy and at first thought the call he received trying to return the money was a scam.

"I want other families to know, that even when we lose someone, they might leave something behind for us," said the man, a United States Postal Service mail carrier. "And without Treasurer Frerichs working to reunite people with what is rightfully theirs, and his outreach with state legislators, this would have never happened."

"When we lose someone dear to us, we co-exist with their death. This news was a blessing," he added. "While I was surprised to learn of it, I was not surprised of my wife's actions to take care of our daughters and me, even after her death."

Libertyville State Sen. Mary Edly-Allen's staff and State Treasurer's staff worked after hours to help the veteran get his money.

The money from the policy was returned as a direct result of the 2017 legislation that established the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act, sponsored by then-State Rep. Robert Martwick of Chicago. Previously some life insurance companies did not pay death benefits when they knew, or should have known, a customer died.

Treasurer Frerichs took on the life insurance industry to change this unethical practice, and more than $500 million in unclaimed life insurance policies has been paid directly to beneficiaries and the Office is trying to return another $300 million that has been turned over after Frerichs' push.

Treasurer Frerichs urges people to check the I-CASH site twice a year to see if there is money waiting for you.

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SOURCE Illinois State Treasurer's Office