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France: Life insurance – research of beneficiaries

21 March 2014
When informed of the death of the insured, the insurers are required by law to find the beneficiary, and if this research succeeds, to inform the latter of the stipulation made in his favour (article L. 132-8). Following the review of the market practice, the French banking and insurance supervisory authority (ACPR) has issued a position dated 13 February 2014 in this respect pursuant to which it considers unlawful to apply against the amount of the death benefit paid to the beneficiary all or part of the costs incurred by the research of the latter, irrespective of whether or not such charge is provided for in the insurance policy. The ACPR recommends that the beneficiary exercise vigilance and invite them to refuse the charging of research fees on the death benefit. Shortly thereafter a draft law has been adopted by the French National Assembly which purpose is to grant the French Caisse des Dépôts the centralisation of the unclaimed assets at the expiration of a 10 years period following the knowledge by the insurer of the insured's death.
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