(a) An insurer shall perform a comparison of its insureds' in-force life insurance policies, annuity contracts, and retained asset accounts against a death master file, to identify potential death master file matches of its insureds. Such comparison shall be completed by January 1, 2019. Thereafter, an insurer shall maintain a program designed to compare each such policy, contract, or account with a death master file no less frequently than every three years, it being the intent that insurers fashion a program that best fits their business systems while at the same time protecting consumers by assuring reasonable checks are being performed to identify unreported deaths. For those potential death master file matches identified as a result of a death master file comparison, the insurer shall do all of the following:
(1) Within 90 days of a death master file match:
a. Complete a commercially reasonable effort, which shall be documented by the insurer, to confirm the death of the insured, contract owner or annuitant, or retained asset account holder against other available records and information.
b. Determine whether a policy or contract insuring the insured or annuitant is in force or a retained asset account exists and whether benefits may be due in accordance with the applicable policy or contract and if a policy is in force or a retained asset account exists and benefits may be due in accordance with the applicable policy or contract:
1. Use commercially reasonable efforts, which shall be documented by the insurer, to locate the beneficiary or beneficiaries or other person entitled to payment pursuant to the terms of the policy or contract.
2. Provide the appropriate claim forms or instructions to the beneficiary or beneficiaries or other person entitled to payment pursuant to the terms of the policy or contract to make a claim, including the need to provide written evidence of the loss, including, but not limited to, an official death certificate, medical authorizations, medical records, or other reasonable evidence of the loss or its circumstances such as is ordinarily required by the insurer of similar claimants.
(2) With respect to group life insurance, an insurer is required only to confirm the possible death of an insured when the insurer provides full recordkeeping services to the group policyholder and maintains in the ordinary course of business at least the following information of those covered under a policy or certificate:
a. Complete insured information, including Social Security number and complete name and date of birth.
b. Beneficiary designation information.
c. Coverage eligibility.
d. Benefit amount.
e. Premium payment status.
(b) To the extent permitted by law, the insurer may disclose minimum necessary personal information about the insured or beneficiary to a person who the insurer reasonably believes may be able to assist the insurer to locate the beneficiary or a person otherwise entitled to payment of the claims proceeds.
(c) An insurer shall not charge insureds, account holders, or beneficiaries for any fees or costs associated with a search or verification conducted pursuant to this section.
(d) After the insurer has completed the efforts required in subdivision (1) of subsection (a), any benefits payable under a life insurance policy, annuity contract, or a retained asset account, plus any applicable accrued interest, shall first be payable to the designated beneficiaries, owners, or other person entitled to payment pursuant to the terms of the policy or contract, and in the event the beneficiaries, owners, or other person entitled to payment pursuant to the terms of the policy or contract cannot be found after the insurer has completed the efforts required in subparagraph 1. of paragraph b. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a), shall escheat to the state as unclaimed property in accordance with the provisions of Article 2A, Chapter 12 of Title 35. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to change the terms of any contract or policy concerning contestability or requiring the submission of due proof of loss.
(e) Subject to the provisions of subsection (d), an insurer shall notify the State Treasurer, in accordance with the provisions of Section 35-12-76, upon the expiration of the statutory time period for escheat after all of the following have occurred:
(1) A positive death master file match has occurred.
(2) A life insurance policy or annuity contract beneficiary or retained asset account holder has not submitted a claim with the insurer.
(3) The insurer has complied with subsection (a) and has been unable, after commercially reasonable efforts documented by the insurer, to contact the retained asset account holder, beneficiary, beneficiaries, or other person entitled to payment pursuant to the terms of the policy or contract.
(f) Upon such notice, an insurer shall submit the unclaimed life insurance or annuity death benefits, or unclaimed retained asset accounts, plus any applicable accrued interest, to the State Treasurer, pursuant to Section 35-12-77.