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Are you owed insurance money? Here's how to check

Joseph Bigony receives a long-overdue payment from his sister's life insurance policy CBS News

On 60 Minutes this week, Lesley Stahl revealed thatlife insurance companies are withholding payments owed to a significant number of beneficiaries, many of whom don't realize their loved ones had a policy. Even when the insurance companies could easily determine that a policyholder has died, they don't bother to locate the next of kin.

When 60 Minutes broadcast "Not Paid" in April, 25 life insurance companies admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay out more than $7.5 billion in a series of settlements -- either directly to the unpaid beneficiaries or to individual states, which will attempt to contact the beneficiaries.

So how do you find out if you're owed a life insurance payment from a deceased loved one?

If you know the company that issued the policy, start there. Keep in mind that life insurance companies are often bought and sold, changing their names in the process. If you're unable to locate your company, it may be operating under a new name. The insurance commissioner of the state in which your policy was issued can help you determine your insurer's new company name.

At this website, you can click on the state in which you reside. You will then be redirected to that state's unclaimed property website. Follow the prompts on the screen to conduct the search for every state in which you have lived.

To conduct a multi-state search to find out if you have unclaimed property, visit this site and type your name in the box that says "Start your FREE governmental search for missing money."

Having trouble? Fill out the form on this website and someone will assist you.

Editor's Note: This was originally published on April 17, 2016.

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