Higher-tech tools reuniting owners, money

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 7, 2012 - 6:01 PM

Despite the success, about a half-billion dollars remains unclaimed in state.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce said Tuesday that it is reuniting more people with more unclaimed property this year, and that updates to technology will improve the process in the future.

The agency said it has helped 7,200 people locate $19 million from bank accounts, life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, unclaimed paychecks and real estate assets this year. These are items that rightfully belonged to them but had gotten lost because of a death in the family or change of address.

The return rate jumped 13 percent from last year, but that still leaves a lot of property unclaimed. As of March, more than $500 million of property remained unclaimed, according to the department.

Enhanced online tools have been installed to validate claims more quickly, reducing the time it takes to return unclaimed and abandoned property by up to 72 percent, according to a statement by Commissioner Mike Rothman. Minnesota is one of 10 states using the new technology, he said.

State law requires life insurance companies, banks and corporations to try contacting property owners when a financial asset or real estate appears to be abandoned. To date, such institutions have turned over $61 million, a $4.5 million increase from 2011.

To search for property, consumers can go to mn.gov/commerce/topics/Unclaimed-Property/.

For assistance, call 800-925-5668 or send an e-mail to: unclaimed.property@state.mn.us.

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335

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