From Clark Howard's show notes
John Hancock has reached a settlement with 22 states for failing to contact beneficiaries after policyholders pass away. The respected insurer was allegedly using the money for itself instead.
Because of the settlement, John Hancock will now be required to do a state records search of deaths if they suspect a policyholder is deceased. That's a very simple step.
Of course it's easier for everyone if the life insurance policy owners inform the beneficiaries about the policies before their deaths. Clark recommends that you put together a list of assets updated each year for your wife and/or family members.