TITLE 12

Decedents' Estates and Fiduciary Relations

Descent and Distribution; Escheat

CHAPTER 11. ESCHEATS

Subchapter III. Unclaimed Life Insurance Funds


(a) This subchapter shall apply to unclaimed funds, as defined in § 1181 of this title, of any life insurance company doing business in this State where the last known address, according to the records of such company, of the person entitled to such funds is within this State; provided that, if a person other than the insured or annuitant be entitled to such funds and no address of such person be known to such company or if it be not definite and certain from the records of such company what person is entitled to such funds, then in either event it shall be presumed for the purposes of this subchapter that the last known address of the person entitled to such funds is the same as the last known address of the insured or annuitant according to the records of such company.

(b) This subchapter shall also apply to unclaimed funds, as defined in § 1181 of this title, of any life insurance company doing business in this State where the last person entitled to any such fund is or was a Delaware corporation and such corporation abandoned, disclaimed or otherwise relinquished all right, title and interest to such funds. This subchapter shall also apply where such corporation terminated or cancelled any life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract, or permitted any life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract to be terminated or cancelled, and such funds resulting from any policy or contract to which the corporation would otherwise have been entitled accrued or became due and payable after such cancellation or termination.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1180; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 278, §§ 1, 2.;

The term "unclaimed funds'' as used in this subchapter means and includes all moneys held and owing by any life insurance company doing business in this State which shall have remained unclaimed and unpaid for 5 years or more after it is established from the records of such company that such moneys became due and payable under any life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract which has matured or terminated. A life insurance policy not matured by actual proof of the prior death of the insured shall be deemed to be matured and the proceeds thereof shall be deemed to be "due and payable'' within the meaning of this subchapter if such policy is in force when the insured shall have attained the limiting age under the mortality table on which the reserve is based. Moneys otherwise admittedly due and payable shall be deemed to be "held and owing'' within the meaning of this subchapter although the policy or contract shall not have been surrendered as required.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1181; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 379, § 2.;

(a) Every such life insurance company shall on or before December 20 of each year make a report in writing to the State Escheator of all unclaimed funds, as defined in § 1181 of this title, held and owing by it on December 31 next preceding; provided, however, such report shall not be required to include amounts of less than $5.00 which on February 29, 1956, shall have been unclaimed and unpaid for more than 10 years or amounts which have been paid to another state or jurisdiction prior to said date.

(b) Such report shall be signed and sworn to by an officer of such company and shall set forth:

(1) In alphabetical order the full name of the insured or annuitant, the last known address according to the company's records and the policy or contract number;

(2) The amount appearing from the company's records to be due on such policy or contract, except that amounts under $50 each may be reported in the aggregate;

(3) The date such unclaimed funds became payable;

(4) The name and last known address of each beneficiary or other person who, according to the company's records, may have an interest in such unclaimed funds; and

(5) Such other identifying information as the State Escheator may require.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1182; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 20, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 417, § 8.;

(a) On or before the first day of September prior to the making of such reports under § 1182 of this title, every such life insurance company shall cause to be published notices based on the information contained in such reports and entitled:

"NOTICE OF CERTAIN UNCLAIMED FUNDS HELD AND OWING BY LIFE INSURANCE COMPANIES.''

(b) For all unclaimed funds payable to a person appearing to be entitled to such funds whose last known address is located in New Castle County, such notice shall be published at least twice in a daily newspaper published in that County. For all unclaimed funds payable where such last known address is located in Kent County or Sussex County, such notice shall be published at least once in a newspaper published at least weekly in the County in which unclaimed funds are payable. For all unclaimed funds payable to corporations as provided in § 1180(b) of this title, notice shall be published in the county of the last known address of the corporation's registered agent in the manner provided in this section.

(c) Each such notice shall set forth in alphabetical order the names of the insureds or annuitants under policies or contracts where the last known address of the person appearing to be entitled to such funds is in the county of publication, together with:

(1) The amount reported due and the date it became payable;

(2) The name and last known address of each beneficiary or other person who, according to the company's reports, may have an interest in such unclaimed funds; and

(3) The name and address of the company.

The notice shall also state that such unclaimed funds will be paid by the company to persons establishing to its satisfaction before the following December 1 their right to receive the same and that not later than the following December 20 such unclaimed funds still remaining will be paid to the State Escheator who shall thereafter be liable for the payment thereof.

(d) Publication as required by this section may be waived in the discretion of the State Escheator where the amount involved in a particular policy or contract does not exceed $50.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1183; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 417, § 9.;

Any amounts paid by a life insurance company to newspapers for any publication of names as required by this subchapter may be charged against all unclaimed funds held or owing by such life insurance company at the time of such publication.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1184; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1.;

(a) All unclaimed funds contained in the report required to be filed by § 1182 of this title, excepting those which have ceased to be unclaimed funds, less the amount paid for publication under § 1184 of this title, shall be paid over to the State Escheator with the annual report on or before December 20.

(b) The State Escheator shall have the power, for cause shown, to extend for a period of not more than 1 year the time within which a life insurance company shall file any report and in such event the time for publication and payment required by this subchapter shall be extended for a like period.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1185; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 417, § 10.;

Upon the payment of such unclaimed funds to the State Escheator, the State shall assume, for the benefit of those entitled to receive the same and for the safety of the money so paid, the custody of such unclaimed funds, and the life insurance company making such payment shall immediately and thereafter be relieved of and held harmless by the State from any and all liability for any claim or claims which exist at such time with reference to such unclaimed funds or which thereafter may be made or may come into existence on account of or in respect to any such unclaimed funds.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1186; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1.;

Any life insurance company which has paid moneys to the State Escheator pursuant to this subchapter may make payment to any person appearing to such company, in accordance with its customary rules and regulations governing the payment of claims, to be entitled thereto and upon proof of such payment the State Escheator shall forthwith reimburse such company for such payment out of the General Fund of the State.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1187; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 1.;

(a) Any person claiming to be entitled to unclaimed funds paid to the State Escheator may file a claim at any time with such official. The State Escheator shall possess full and complete authority to accept or reject any such claim. If the Escheator rejects such claim or fails to act thereon within 90 days after receipt of such claim, the claimant may within 4 months thereafter apply for a hearing and determination of the claim by the Tax Appeal Board. The procedure before the Tax Appeal Board for such hearing shall be the same as that provided for by § 329 of Title 30 and the Board shall have the same power to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence as is provided in § 330 of Title 30.

(b) Within 30 days after notice of a decision upon such hearing, the State Escheator or any claimant may appeal such decision to the Court of Chancery, upon notice to all parties to the proceedings before the Tax Appeal Board, and upon such other notice as the Court of Chancery may order.

(c) The Court of Chancery may make such rules as it may deem proper for the perfection, hearing and determination of such appeals.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1189; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 718, § 19; 57 Del. Laws, c. 741, § 48C; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Any claim which is accepted by the State Escheator or ordered to be paid by the Escheator by the Tax Appeal Board or the Court of Chancery shall be paid out of the General Fund.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1190; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 741, § 48C; 59 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The State Escheator shall keep in the office a public record of each payment of unclaimed funds received by the Escheator from any life insurance company. Such record shall show in alphabetical order the name and last known address of each insured or annuitant and of each beneficiary or other person who, according to the company's reports, may have an interest in such unclaimed funds and with respect to each policy or contract its number, the name of the company and the amount due.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1191; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

No other provisions of this Code relating to escheat or abandoned or unclaimed funds shall apply to life insurance companies nor shall any statute enacted after February 29, 1956, so apply unless specifically made applicable by its terms.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1192; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1.;

Repealed by 73 Del. Laws, c. 417, § 3, effective July 22, 2002, and effective for reports filed or required to be filed on or after July 22, 2002.;

The making of a wilful false oath in any report required under this subchapter shall be perjury and punishable as such according to law.

12 Del. C. 1953, § 1194; 50 Del. Laws, c. 568, § 1.;

Nothing in this subchapter shall prevent the State Escheator from making claim to any fund, to which the State would otherwise be entitled, because it has not been reported in accordance with this subchapter.

59 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 4.;