A mutual insurance company is one that is owned by its policyholders. So when you take out a policy, you are buying a tiny portion of the company and get to share in the profits of the company in the form of dividends or reduced insurance premiums. Insurance demutualization is when a company owned by its customers transforms into a publicly traded stock company. Maybe the most recognizable mutual insurance company is Mutual of Omaha, famous for sponsoring the Wild Kingdom TV show in the 1960s through 80s.
That one is still a mutual company, but more than 200 US-based mutual insurance companies have demutualized since 1930. They include biggies like John Hancock, Metlife, Mutual of New York and Prudential. Now here’s where it gets interesting: When those companies demutualized, they had to buy out their policyholder-owners. But many policyholders didn’t realize they were owned money because over the years they had always gotten discounts on their premiums rather than dividend checks.
In fact, on Episodes 1 and 2 of Easy Money, I interviewed Spencer Hathaway, who I helped find several different unclaimed money accounts, and 2 of the biggest he found were available because of insurance company demutualizations.
The rest of the story is that Spencer had let his policy lapse, when he bailed out of the fraternity, and he STILL got $600 in unclaimed money from it!! Remember, most of these demutualizations occurred between 1930 and 2001. That’s a long time span when you or your family may have owned a policy. So be sure to check MissingMoney.com and unclaimed.org to see if you and yours are owed any unclaimed money from insurance demutualizations.
Search for your unclaimed money: missingmoney.com
Find your unclaimed property: www.unclaimed.org