Here is how you can claim unclaimed investments in Bank Deposits & Insurance Policies:
Mr. Anurag bought an insurance policy few years back but did not tell about the policy to any of his family member. Unfortunately, recently he passed away in a car accident leaving behind his family in a shock. As his family members were not aware of the insurance policy, no one claimed the insurance amount thereby leaving the unclaimed insurance amount lying with the insurer. Similar instances happen with many people. In fact, sometimes people tend to forget about their investments resulting in a huge chunk of unclaimed amount lying with the banks and insurance companies.
The post below will give you a brief introduction on the unclaimed investments in bank deposits & insurance policies and the procedure to claim such unclaimed investments.
Unclaimed investment in Bank Deposits
The bank accounts or deposits which have been inactive or inoperative for ten years or more are treated as unclaimed. The amount lying in such deposits/accounts could be an unclaimed fixed deposit maturity amount, or the money lying in an inactive or inoperative savings or current account.
What happens to such unclaimed investment?
The maturity amount in case of bank deposits if not claimed continues to earn returns at the savings bank account interest rate. The amount withdrawn for a forgotten FD will receive only savings bank account interest from the maturity date. However, if you decide to reinvest the maturity amount, you may get the applicable FD interest rates from the maturity date.
Also, according to the RBI norms, bank deposits which have not been claimed for ten years or more will be transferred to “Depositor Education and Awareness Fund Scheme”.
How to locate the unclaimed investment in Bank Deposits?
As per the RBI norms, banks need to display on their website, the list of unclaimed bank deposits/inoperative accounts that are inactive or inoperative for ten years or more. Some of the banks include the complete name of the account holders and address of the account holder in case of unclaimed deposits/inoperative accounts on their list. The list will not contain bank account number and bank branch details of the account holder. While banks such as State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank, provides the search option for the depositors to locate their investment amount.
Depositors can search their records using any of the details listed below:
• Name and Date of Birth
• Name and PAN
• Name and Passport Number
• Name and Pincode
• Name and Telephone Number
• Different banks may provide different search criteria like in case of SBI and HDFC the account holders needs to enter their name for searching the record. In case of ICICI Bank, account holder needs to enter two fields to search the record where Name is a mandatory field and one can enter either of DOB/PAN/Passport Number/Pincode/ Telephone Number (excluding STD/ISD codes) in the other field.
• Search needs to be done only based on the primary account holder’s details.
• If a match is found, the name and address of deposit holder will be displayed.
• In case of corporate accounts, the authorised person’s details, authorised to operate such accounts shall be displayed.
Below are screenshots of SBI and ICICI Bank websites for your reference:
1. In case of claim by the account holder:
Account holder after locating his/her name and address on the List of Unclaimed Deposits displayed on the Bank website is required to visit the branch where he/she has the account & submit the “Claim Form” duly filled in & signed, along with the available details of the account such as Term Deposit/Special Term Deposit Receipts or advices, Passbook/Statements of account, valid address and Identity proof documents (KYC documents) with originals, recent photographs for the verification purpose.
2. In case of claim by the legal heir/nominee:
The legal heir/Nominee (s) has to visit the branch and submit the Unclaimed Deposits Claim Form duly filled in & signed, along with the following documents:
• Passbook/Term Deposit/Special Term Deposit Receipts (advices).
• Valid Identity proof of the claimant(s).
• A copy of death Certificate of the account holder.
3. In case of claim for non-individual account:
For the claim of non-individual accounts including proprietorship and HUF, the Claim forms have to be submitted on Firm’s/Company’s letterhead duly signed by authorised signatories along with valid identity proof.
Unclaimed insurance amount on Insurance Policies
Unclaimed amount comprises of any amount payable to the policyholder as maturity claim, death claim, premium due for refund, survival benefits, indemnity claims, premium deposit not adjusted against premium, etc. which remained unclaimed for a period of more than six months from the due date for the claim amount settlement.
There could be various reasons for the unclaimed insurance amount lying with the Insurance Companies. Few are listed below:
• The insured person did not share the policy details with his/her family members and in the event of a sudden death of the insured, family members did not make any claim for the insured amount.
• The insured forgot to collect the cheque from the insurer.
• If the insured person has changed the communication address and not updated the same with the Insurance Company, it becomes difficult for the insurance company to send the maturity amount.
How to locate the unclaimed insurance amount?
As per the IRDA circular dated August 14, 2014, all the insurers are required to display the information on any unclaimed a mount of more than Rs. 1,000 by the policyholders on their website.
Insurers are required to provide the facility on their website to enable policyholders or their dependents to locate if there is any unclaimed amount due to them are lying with the insurers. Under this facility, a policyholder can enter the following details on the insurer website to find out the information on the unclaimed insurance amount:
• Policy Number
• PAN of the policyholder
• Name of the policyholder
• Date of Birth of the policyholder
• Date of Birth (DOB) and Name of the policyholder are mandatory fields, while Policy Number and PAN are optional.
• If the information entered by the insured matches the database on the website, Name of the policyholder and address of the policyholder against whom any unclaimed amount is lying with the insurer will be displayed.
• The insurance companies are required to update such information on their portal on half yearly basis.
Below is the attached screenshot of LIC and HDFC Bank websites for locating the unclaimed and outstanding amount to policyholders for your reference:
Once you have located the unclaimed amount against your name, you can approach the insurer to claim the amount, or you can claim it on the insurer website . As per the IRDA regulations, all payments due to the policyholder in such policies will be directly transferred to the bank account provided by him/her via Electronic Clearing System (ECS), National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), Automated Clearing House (ACH), Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) or any other electronic mode as designated by RBI.
Also, for new insurance policies, insurers are mandatorily required to take bank account details of the insured /proposer on the proposal form. The insurer may also seek for the documents as a proof of the bank account such as a cancelled cheque, etc. However, there are few exemptions to this clause which are listed below:
• All term insurance policies are exempted. For such policies, in the event of the death claim, bank details of the nominee will be required.
• Policies issued to the policyholder having a bank account with a bank not linked to RBI Core Banking Solutions such as Cooperative or Regional Rural banks.
• All insurance policies in which the annualised premium payable is up to Rs. 25,000 or such other sum as may be specified by the authority from time to time.
It is also required for the insurers to provide an option to the insured for changing the bank account/modify the bank account details. This option shall be made available to the insured without any charge.
To avoid any kind of discrepancies on claim of your investment amount, you can consider the following:
• Inform about your financials to the person whom you trust so that in case of any unfortunate event such as death, he/she can take care of your investments.
• Register your email for the regular updates from the banks and insurance companies.
• Access your online accounts on a regular basis.
• Provide your bank details to the respective companies and ask them to make a direct credit to your bank account on the maturity of your investments.