N.Y. Looks to Return $150 Million in Unclaimed Insurance, Bank Funds

New Yorkers this fiscal year are expected to recover about $150 million from lost bank accounts, insurance policies and other funds, state Comptroller Alan Hevesi said last week.

The abandoned funds include old bank accounts, telephone or utility deposits, uncashed checks, insurance benefits and policies and wages. The funds are sent to the comptroller’s office, which then searches for the proper owner.

New York residents have recovered $437 million in abandoned property over the last three years, more than double the $199 million they recovered over the prior three years, according to a report issued by the comptroller’s office. In the 2003-04 fiscal year, the state returned the most, $151.4 million, to the rightful owners.

Unclaimed funds currently total $7.2 billion. Fifty-three percent of the claims are worth $100 or less, and 36 percent are for $50 or less. The largest unclaimed account is $1.7 million, according to the report.

The biggest amount paid last year was a $5.9 million claim made by heirs to an estate.

Those owed money can claim it from the comptroller’s office. They are asked to call (800) 221-9311. Searches for missing funds can be done through the comptroller’s Web site.

Source: Office of the State Comptroller: http://www.osc.state.ny.us