LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – It could be an unexpected pay day for five thousand Arkansans. Nearly nine million dollars in unclaimed insurance policies sits untouched at the State Auditor's Office.
"I had no idea that anyone owed me any money," said Jerry Kahler.
Kahler was doing a regular check of the newspaper's unclaimed property list. He didn't find any relatives but he did see a familiar name.
"I found myself!" he said. "It was for an insurance policy that I do not remember anything about."
The policy was from over 20 years ago. And just weeks later, he received a check for $2,400 dollars.
On Thursday, the Arkansas State Auditor's Office announced Past Presents program, an effort to get unclaimed insurance money to its rightful owners.
"Arkansas has received about 8.7 million dollars in abandoned life insurance benefits from life insurance companies," said Jordan Foster, Special Programs Coordinator for the Auditor's Office. "The majority of policies either don't have a beneficiary listed or the beneficiary has no idea that there is a policy to begin with."
State Auditor Charlie Daniels and outside auditing firms have worked together with insurance companies.
Now, nearly 52 insurance companies have turned over thousands of unclaimed policies to the state.
"About 500 of the 5,000 policies that have been turned over had beneficiaries listed," Foster said.
Which means many of the claims have no beneficiary listed. The auditor's website lists the names of thousands of deceased Arkansans. To find one of them, you can click on Unclaimed Property, and then Unclaimed Life Insurance Notice. You can browse by last name to find relatives who may have left behind a present, from the past.
You'll need identification, a death certificate and an affidavit of heir ship to claim the money.
"There have been quite a few people that have been very surprised," Foster said.
Kahler recommends that all Arkansans check the site.
"Look for yourself and your relatives and see if somebody somewhere doesn't owe you some money," he said.