What happens if a person with life insurance goes missing and is found many years later?

Suppose a person has life insurance and goes missing while the policy is valid. His body is not found, noone saw anything which would be an evidence of the person death. Suppose going missing is not an exception to the policy, so some time passes to be sure that the person is indeed missing and the insurance company pays.

Ten years later the person is back. What happens? Is an investigation started by the insurance company? Does it request the money back?

2 thoughts on “What happens if a person with life insurance goes missing and is found many years later?

  1. Nathan L

    There are actual cases where this has occurred. In cases where the beneficiary was suspected of knowing that the insured person was alive, they have faced fraud charges. In cases where they appeared to act in good faith, the legal consequences are less severe, but the likelihood of the insurance company to sue for their money back will depend on the circumstances and the amount of the payout.

    One interesting case was a woman who abandoned her family and didn’t reappear until 11 years later. The family didn’t know where she was, so they probably won’t end up paying back the relatively small $100,000 that they received.

  2. mhoran_psprep

    In the United States if the person insures an article and then claims a loss of that article, the insurance replaces the missing/destroyed article. If later on the item is found the original is owned by the insurance company. The person who purchased the policy doesn’t get to keep both.

    Of course if the item was so valuable to be priceless the insurance company would be open to an exchange of items or money.

    But if they suspect fraud…then it becomes a legal matter.

    Even when a life isn’t involved it can be a source of dispute: http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/news/spencer/spencers-art-law-journal5-7-10.asp


    Kenneth S. Levine

    This essay is about the word “subrogation,” which frequently appears
    in insurance policies. An insured painting is stolen and the insurance
    company pays the owner’s claim for the value of the painting. Many
    years later, when the painting is recovered, its value is many times
    what it was when the insurance claim was paid. The insurance company
    takes the position that it owns the painting, while the owner says I
    own the painting, less the value of the insurance proceeds received.
    The resolution of this dispute depends on the meaning of the word
    “subrogation” in the insurance policy.

    When life insurance is involved, the item being replace is the lost stream of income. The question of returning money and how much would be a legal issue. They would also want to know if there was fraud, and who was involved.

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