A Biarrot man ends up receiving the funds from his father’s life insurance 57 years after his death

A Biarrot man ends up receiving the funds from his father’s life insurance 57 years after his death
A Biarrot man ends up receiving the funds from his father’s life insurance 57 years after his death

Alain Rozès decided to laugh about it. At 76 years old, the smiling retiree from Biarritz has just received the benefits of the life insurance of his late father, Jacques. Nothing but very ordinary. Except for one detail: the latter died in… 1967! When the new heir searches his computer to show proof of the transfer made to his bank account on May 6, 2024, the eye glazes over. He prefers to warn: “Hang on, it’s a huge amount.” Smirk. Drum rolls. Fifty-seven years later, he and his 4 brothers and sisters have each received “144 euros and 20 cents!” “.

Originally, it was Simone, their mother, who died in 2022, the beneficiary of the nest egg placed by her husband. She should have touched it quickly after his disappearance but “never saw the color of this money. She probably did not know of the existence of this life insurance and therefore did not claim anything,” says Alain Rozès.

He suspects the insurer at the time of not having put much effort into finding her, even if he had heard of his client’s death. “it wouldn’t have been very complicated: she didn’t change her address. Vianne’s house, in Lot-et-Garonne, where we grew up, remained hers throughout her life. »

It was also the brother of Alain Rozès, who now lives there, who was contacted by the insurance company and gave the contact details of the other members of his siblings. This is how, in January 2024, Biarrot received an enigmatic letter on Axa letterhead, entitled “contact request”.


The brief missive indicates a so-called “whole life” insurance contract number. It is specified that after “investigations” he could be one of the beneficiaries. The explanations end there. He is asked to contact the appropriate service to confirm that he is indeed his parents’ son. On the phone, he learned, stunned, that the subscriber was his father. He is unable to obtain further explanations, neither on the amount nor on the details of the contract.

Alain Rozès, imagine how the file could have gotten lost in limbo over the decades: “When my father died, small local insurance companies were still legion. From nationalizations to denationalizations, from takeovers to regroupings, they ended up being agglomerated to form enormous groups. Today, it’s Axa who finds us but who knows who he subscribed to at the time? “.

“Patience is a virtue that I have cultivated enough to be able to dispense with using it again. »

Life insurance funds never paid, contracts left fallow for years due to failure to record the death of the holder: this is not uncommon. Designed precisely to stem the phenomenon, the Eckert law, which came into force in 2016, now requires insurers to regularly check the computerized national files to which they have access whether the subscribers to their contracts are still alive. In the event of death, regulations require them to use all possible means to find the beneficiaries. If they fail, after ten years the unpaid capital is transferred to the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and ultimately ends up in the State coffers.

This will not be the case for the approximately 720 euros in total that the descendants of Jacques and Simone Rozès share today. Alain Rozès thought that the sum was even lower. “I suspected it would be next to nothing. My father did not have a large income and only had to contribute small amounts. Having sold life insurance for a few months at the start of my professional life, I know that it brings in ridiculous amounts of money and that over time people very often forget the very existence of past contracts. »

“As a matter of principle”

The former social security executive from Bayonne, emphasizes that neither he nor his brothers and sisters “are in need” and that none “run after money”. His mother, finding herself a young widow, “paid minimum wage at the factory with three student children, two in high school and a large house to maintain” would, on the other hand, no doubt have appreciated the mite, even a meager one.

If he is amused, not without tenderness, by the derisory result of his father’s placement after more than half a century and by this unusual inheritance arising from the past, Alain Rozès also admits an ounce of anger. “As a matter of principle”, believing that the funds announced “were slow to be paid” once the beneficiaries were found, he wanted to speed up the maneuver. “Seeing nothing coming, I called the insurer’s telephone platform several times. I ended up writing an email. »

The retiree shows a copy of this mailing dated April 27. He nicely concludes his request that the funds be paid promptly: “patience is a virtue that I have cultivated enough to be able to dispense with using it again. » This is what is said.



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