Know beneficiaries on life insurance

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 15 2012 | 11:16 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 3:23 am in
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This is something that could happen to you or your loved ones. My wife’s brother died (age 50) three months ago. He was not married and had no kids. He had life insurance through his work. The insurance company would not identify the beneficiary to us. We did not have the money for a funeral.

My brother-in-law’s body was in an Iowa City hospital and could be there only for a few more days. We had to do something. We looked at funeral homes in Cedar Rapids and found one that would work with us until the insurance company let us know who the beneficiary was. Thinking that it would be my wife or her sister/brother, we signed the contract.

Well, after 15 days, the insurance company told us it wasn’t my wife, her brother or sister. It was a lady none of us knew. After a little searching, my wife found the lady. We made phone calls, Facebook and certified letters with no success. The funeral director told us she contacted him for a death certificate, but she is not paying anything toward the funeral. We owe more than $4,000. This lady is probably going to get almost $40,000.

If the insurance company told us who the beneficiary was from the start, we would have done things differently. The privacy rules sometimes hurt more people than it helps. We should have done things differently, but in time of sorrow, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Louis Van Marm

Cedar Rapids

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