Death Claims Guide

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New York Life Income Annuities are annuitant-driven contracts that may pay a claim in certain circumstances. Please be aware that NYL Income Annuities are considered “last to die” contracts, meaning that on policies with joint annuitants, the possibility of a claim only exists after both annuitants have passed away.

This guide will help you determine:

 

What happens when there is a death on an Income Annuity?

  • If the decedent was an owner, but not an annuitant, and there remains a living annuitant on the policy then a claim is not payable at this time. However, a copy of the death certificate is required in order for payments to continue. Click here for mailing instructions.
  • If the decedent was an annuitant, regardless of whether or not they were an owner, a claim may or may not be payable at this time. In either case further action on your part is required.


To first determine if a claim is payable continue reading.

 

When is a claim payable on an Income Annuity?

In order to determine if a claim is payable on a New York Life Income Annuity up to four questions must be answered:

  • Does the policy have Single or Joint Annuitants?
  • What is the Payout Option in the Policy?
  • Is the guaranteed period over?
  • Was a 100% Withdrawal processed on the policy?

 

By answering a few questions, the following guide will walk you through any potential scenario.

Single Annuitant
A claim may or may not be payable. Continue on to the next question: 2. What is the Payout Option on the Policy?

 

Joint Annuitant

  • If both annuitants have passed away a claim may or may not be payable. Continue to the next question: 2. What is the Payout Option on the Policy?
  • If there is still a remaining living annuitant then there is no claim to be paid; however action is required for payments to continue. Click here for important information and instructions.

Life Only: If there are no living annuitants then the policy ends. There is no claim to be paid, however we require a copy of the death certificate to close out the policy. Click here for mailing instructions.

Life with Period Certain: If there are no living annuitants a claim may or may not be payable. Continue to the next question: 3. Is the Guaranteed Period over?

Life with Cash Refund: If there are no living annuitants a claim may or may not be payable. Continue to the next question: 3. Is the Guaranteed Period over?

Life with Installment Refund: If there are no living annuitants a claim may or may not be payable. Continue to the next question: 3. Is the Guaranteed Period over?

Life with 25% or 50% of Premium Death Benefit: If there are no living annuitants a claim is payable. Continue to the following section: Claim Instructions

If there are no living annuitants and the policy has not yet reached the end of the chosen Period Certain, then there may or may not be a claim to be paid. Continue to the following section: 4. Was a 100% Withdrawal processed on the policy?

Examples of determining if the Guaranteed Period is over

Life with Period Certain: On the contract application, the client chose a certain period of time. Let's use 10 years as an example:

  • Example 1: If both annuitants were deceased BEFORE the end of the 10th year of the contract then the guaranteed period is still active, and a claim may or may not be payable. Continue to the final question: 4. Was a 100% Withdrawal processed on the policy?
  • Example 2: If any annuitants were still alive AFTER the 10th year of the contract then there is no claim to be paid, we require a copy of the death certificate to close out the policy. 
  • Click here for mailing instructions.

 

Life with Cash Refund

  • Example 1: If both annuitants died BEFORE they were originally scheduled to receive an amount equal to the original premium then a claim may or may not be payable. For instance: the client provided a $100,000 premium and they were receiving an annual payment of $10,000. Hence, they would have originally been scheduled to receive a total of $100,000 in payments by the end of the 10th year. If both annuitants died BEFORE the 10th year then continue to the final question: 4. Was a 100% Withdrawal processed on the policy?
  • Example 2: If both annuitants died AFTER they were originally scheduled to receive an amount equal to the original premium then a claim will not be payable. For instance: the client provided a $100,000 premium and they were receiving an annual payment of $10,000. Hence, they would have originally been scheduled to receive a total of $100,000 in payments by the end of the 10th year. If both annuitants died AFTER the 10th year then there is no claim to be paid, however we require a copy of the death certificate to close out the policy.
  • Click here for mailing instructions.


Life with Installment Refund

  • Example 1: If both annuitants died BEFORE they were originally scheduled to receive an amount equal to the original premium then a claim may or may not be payable. For instance: the client provided a $100,000 premium and they were receiving an annual payment of $10,000. Hence, they would have originally been scheduled to receive a total of $100,000 in payments by the end of the year. If both annuitants died BEFORE the 10th year, then continue to the final question: 4. Was a 100% Withdrawal processed on the policy?
     
  • Example 2: If both annuitants died AFTER they were scheduled to receive an amount equal to the original premium then a claim will not be payable. For instance: the client provided a $100,000 premium and they were receiving an annual payment of $10,000. Hence, they would have originally been scheduled to receive a total of $100,000 in payments by the end of the 10th year. If both annuitants died AFTER the 10th year then there is no claim to be paid, however we require a copy of the death certificate to close out the policy.
  • Click here for mailing instructions.
  • If a full 100% Withdrawal was processed on the policy then no claim is payable; however we require a copy of the death certificate to close out the policy.
  • Click here for mailing instructions.
  • If a full 100% Withdrawal was NOT processed on the policy, then a claim is payable.
  • Claim Instructions

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What steps need to be taken?


Surviving Annuitant Instructions

If there is a surviving annuitant, NYL will suspend the income payments once alerted to the death of one of the annuitants.

If one annuitant has passed away, but there remains a surviving annuitant, we require a copy of the death certificate and we also request a completed claim form to continue payments. By properly filling out the claim form the survivor will have the opportunity to update important information on the policy.

If a claim form is not sent in please be aware that we will use default beneficiary and tax withholding elections and the payments will be sent via U.S. mail to the address on record, regardless of any previous banking information on file. Even if the same bank account is being used we do require an updated signature to continue sending payments to that account.

Once we receive the copy of death certificate, the income payments will be taken out of suspension, and will continue. Any payment in arrears due to the suspension will be made for the surviving annuitant.

Death certificates should be mailed to one of the addresses below. Note: Death Certificates will not be returned.

 

Claim Instructions

Beneficiaries will need to complete the Death Claim Kit. The completed form needs to be submitted to NYL with a copy of the Death Certificate to one of our addresses.

Click here for mailing address information: Contact Us

What claim options (if any) are available?

Life with Period Certain

  • The beneficiary will receive the continuation of the Payment Stream (default option) until the end of the Period Certain.
  • Lump Sum Option - if selected on the application then the beneficiary will have an option to take the remaining unpaid income through the years chosen as a lump sum payout. If the beneficiary decides to utilize this option (if available) they will receive a commuted value which would be less than the full amount that they would have received had they chosen to receive the continuation of the payments.
  • Note: If payment reduction is selected on the policy, the surviving beneficiary will continue receiving payments, but at the reduced rate. Payments based on joint annuities are guaranteed for two lifespans.

 

Life with Cash Refund

  • Lump Sum Option is the only option available. The beneficiary will receive the remain value of the unpaid premium amount after the annuitant(s) pass away. 
  • Note: If payment reduction is selected on the policy, the surviving beneficiary will continue receiving payments, but at the reduced rate. Payments based on joint annuities are guaranteed for two lifespans.

 

Life with Installment Refund

  • Continuation of payments option (default). NYL will guarantee continued payments to beneficiaries, if the annuitant(s) die before full premium has been paid to annuitants via income stream. Payments continue until the full premium is paid out. 
  • Lump Sum Option is only available if selected on the application. If the beneficiary decides to utilize this option (if available) they will receive a commuted value which would be less than the full amount that they would have received had they chosen to receive the continuation of the payments.
  • Note: If payment reduction is selected on the policy, the surviving beneficiary will continue receiving payments, but at the reduced rate. Payments based on joint annuities are guaranteed for two lifespans.

 

Life with 25% or 50% of Premium Death Benefit

  • The beneficiary will receive a lump sum of 25% or 50% of the original premium, whichever was chosen on the application. There are no other options.


If you require further assistance, please call 1-800-762-6212, Monday through Friday or email us.

Additional FAQs

When the payments continue, will the payments be for same the amount?
Generally, yes. However, if a rider was chosen on the application, e.g. the Reduction of Income Rider, then the payment may be reduced. Call our Service Center at 1-800-762-6212 to have one of our Customer Service Representative review the policy for you.

 

What if payments owed to the Joint Annuitant are missed?
If any payments were missed while the policy was in a pending status the survivor will receive those funds after we have received the death certificate and have updated our policy records.


Issued by New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation (NYLIAC) (A Delaware Corporation), a wholly owned subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company (NY, NY).

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New York Life Fixed Annuities are owner-driven contracts that may pay a claim in certain circumstances. Please be aware that NYL Fixed Deferred Annuities are considered “first to die” contracts. What this means is that on policies with joint owner/annuitants, the possibility of a claim exists when one owner-annuitants have passed away. The contract ends and is not continued automatically by the survivor. In very specific circumstances, the Fixed Deferred Annuity may be continued. 

This guide will help you determine:


What happens when there is a death on a Fixed Deferred Annuity?

  • If the decedent was an Owner, and there remains a living Owner on the policy, then a claim is potentially payable. If the Action is required for payments to continue, go to "What steps need to be taken?"
  • If the decedent was an annuitant, regardless of whether they were an owner, a claim may or may not be payable at this time. In either case, further action on your part is required. To first determine if a claim is payable, go to "When is a claim is payable on a Fixed Deferred Annuity"

 

When is a claim is payable on a Fixed Deferred Annuity?

By answering a few questions, the following guide will walk you through any potential scenario.

  • Does the policy have Single or Joint Owners?
    • Single Owner –  A claim is payable. Continue to the next question: “What is the Payout Option on the Policy?”
    • Joint Owner - A claim may be payable. 
  • Is the Owner a Trust or a Corporation?
    • If the policy is owned by a Trust or Corporation: Claims are payable when the Annuitant dies
       
  • Is the owner a Natural Person?
    • Claims are NOT payable when the policy is owned by a non-living entity such as a Trust or Corporation and a trustee or authorized signer dies*
      • *In the case where the trustee or authorized signer is not the annuitant, see Non-Claim Instructions

  • Can the surviving owner of a Fixed Deferred Annuity continue the policy? 
    • When “Surviving Spouse” is Named as the Beneficiary on the Application

 

What steps need to be taken?

Now that we have determined whether a claim is payable on the NYL Fixed Annuity, one of the two following arrangements that must be followed:

  • If no claim is payable, read “Non-Claim Instructions” for instructions and next steps
  • If a claim is payable, read “Claim Instructions” for instructions and next steps in making a death claim 
 
Non-Claim Instructions (continuing policy as Spousal Beneficiary)

Fixed Annuities are owner-driven policies, and there may be certain circumstances where an owner/annuitant has died, but the policy will continue. If the policy is registered for joint, spousal owners, then the policy may continue. If either owner dies, the surviving spouse will be able to continue the policy if “Surviving Spouse” is the listed beneficiary. 

If one owner has passed away, but a living owner remains, please notify NYL of the death, and provide a copy of the certified death certificate. If the surviving spousal owner is the also the beneficiary as “Surviving Spouse,” he/she will need to complete the Death Claim Kit.

Death certificates should be mailed to one of our addresses, or faxed to 1-508-599-6109. Note: Death Certificates will not be returned.

 
Claim Instructions

Beneficiaries, including Spousal Beneficiaries, will need to complete the Death Claim Kit. The completed form needs to be submitted to NYL with a copy of the Death Certificate to one of our addresses.


What claim options (if any) are available?

If you require further assistance, please call 1-800-762-6212, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., or email us. 

 

New York Life fixed annuities are issued by New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation (NYLIAC), A Delaware Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

Some restrictions may apply. The death benefit is distributed in one single payment. (This is the only option available for Estate and Testamentary Trust beneficiaries.)

The surviving spouse and sole primary beneficiary of the policy will continue the policy and defer taxes. The policy will continue in the spousal beneficiary's name in accordance with the terms of the original policy. The surviving spousal beneficiary must complete section 7 to name new beneficiaries, or the new beneficiary will become the Estate.

If there were any scheduled activities on the policy and the surviving spousal beneficiary wants the scheduled activities to continue they must complete sections 5 and 6 of the claim form. Otherwise any previously scheduled activity will automatically be discontinued, including (but not limited to) those listed below.

  • Periodic Partial Withdrawal Arrangement/Required Minimum Distribution
  • Automatic Asset Reallocation (Variable Accounts Only)
  • Dollar Cost Averaging (Variable Accounts Only)
  • Interest Sweep (Variable Accounts Only)
Some restrictions may apply. The death benefit is distributed in one single payment. (This is the only option available for Estate and Testamentary Trust beneficiaries.)

Not available on immediate income or annuitized policies. Minimum of $5,000. Amounts elected below must equal one year of payments. For detailed information regarding the settlement options, please refer to the Settlement Account Option section on page 5. Entities must provide trustee/annuitant information in section 8 including Social Security Number, date of birth, address, and telephone. Must complete sections 5 and 6.

  • Income for an Elected Period*
  • Choose the number of years that you want to receive payments (2 to 30 Years).
  • Income of an Elected Amount*
  • Choose your minimum periodic payment.
  • Life Income: Guaranteed Period**
  • Choose your guaranteed period (5, 10, 15, or 20 years).
  • Life Income: Guaranteed Total Amount**


*Not Available for Beneficiaries that are residents of New York on the Secure Term Fixed Annuity II/III
**Not Available for Non-Living Entities (Trusts, Corporations, etc.)

Payments must begin within a year of the decedent's Date of Death. If a date is not selected or if the date has past, we will default to one month from the issue date of your settlement account. You may not select the 29th, 30th or 31st of any month. If any of these dates are selected, we will default to the 28th.

Payment Frequency: May elect a mode of Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annually, Annually. If not checked, payment will be made Monthly.

Transfer of proceeds to a New York Life policy. Must be accompanied by a New York Life annuity application. (If you wish to open a new annuity with New York Life, please contact a licensed broker or agent.)

Transfer of proceeds to another carrier. MUST PROVIDE TRANSFER OR 1035 EXCHANGE PAPERWORK SIGNED BY THE RECEIVING COMPANY. Must be within one year of the date of death due to RMD's (if applicable) and distributions. Beneficiary 1035 Exchanges are not allowed on Immediate Annuities.

Complete section 8 or provide a letter of instruction.

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New York Life (NYL) understands well that our issued annuity contracts represent a promise to our mutual customers and their families. NYL understands the special nature of the relationship you have with your customers—that it is built on trust. We take seriously the trust your firms have placed in us while giving us valuable space in your product lineups. When you place our annuities with your customers, they can be certain that NYL is worth that trust through every step of their lives–and we will be worth that trust to their families, as well. NYL understands the responsibility placed on us, and we remain committed to ensuring payable death claims due to beneficiaries are paid quickly and efficiently upon us being notified of an owner/annuitant death.1

If you receive the unfortunate news of a customer passing, you can feel confident that reaching out to us as early as you are able will help begin internal processes here at NYL, so that eligible claims are paid quickly and with relative ease. We understand that not only does this assist the family that may be grieving and need the financial resources —but it is part of who we are at NYL.

Please note, we do not require notification from the agent or their staff. And we do not require that a family member of the deceased notify us–we can take a notification from any individual. However, an individual acquainted with the deceased may be able to provide the most pertinent details that assist in locating a beneficiary.

We are here to assist with answering your claims questions at 1-800-762-6212, Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-5:30PM (ET). Before you call, check out the next section on information that will assist us in making claims swiftly and efficiently.

Helpful information to have before you call

The following information may be useful to help us locate and contact named beneficiaries but is not required. We have resources in place to help us locate and notify beneficiaries that a claim may be payable to them. The following information, if provided to us, will help hasten payments from NYL to the beneficiaries:

  • The deceased policy number
  • The date of death
  • Beneficiary names
  • Beneficiary address (if different/not on file)
  • Beneficiary phone number (if different/not on file)
  • Beneficiary email address
  • If the beneficiary is a trust or the estate of the deceased, the name and contact info for the trustee or executor

When You Call

When you call to report a death, we understand that this may not be business as usual, and our customer service professionals are prepared to answer any and all concerns and questions you may have. We understand that in many cases, there may be questions about payout options available. Please feel free to utilize that time to ask questions to feel comfortable with the process. We understand that not only is this a difficult time for the family who lost a loved one but may also raise complex questions for beneficiaries at this time, for example: “What are my available options”, “what about taxation”, or even “when will NYL require beneficiaries to make a claim for a payout?”.

We understand death claims create complex scenarios for the agent, impacting their own role and relationship, and how this presents opportunities to assist a new customer in making the right choices due to the circumstances. In short, NYL knows this may open opportunities for new business, whether with NYL, or with another product with your firm.

Please feel welcome to discuss the payout options available on the policy for each beneficiary as you may see fit and inquire as to how we may assist the process even further!

If you require further assistance, please call 1-800-762-6212, Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-5:30PM (ET).

For Agent use only.

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