The new year of 2017 is only weeks old and state legislatures have wasted little time in updating and introducing significant unclaimed property legislation.
The new pending legislative actions are as follows:
Keane will continue to track and monitor all legislative activity and provide updates here on our blog and within our Compliance Portal. To stay informed, we encourage you to sign up for our legislative alerts to receive real-time updates on the latest happenings within the unclaimed property industry.
Arkansas HB 1142 – Amends Dormancy Provisions & Requirements for Stock
Arkansas House Bill 1142 was introduced on January 9th and seeks to amend Section 18-22-202(a)(3) of the Arkansas Code. HB 1142 proposes to increase the presumption of abandonment for stock or other equity interest in a business association or financial organization, including a security entitlement under the UCC from five years to seven years after the earlier of:
- The date of the most recent dividend, stock split, or other distribution unclaimed by the apparent owner; OR
- The date of the second instance of returned mail (RPO) of a statement of account or other notification; OR
- The date that the security holder or payee is presumed lost or unresponsive under Section 17 C.F.R. Section 240.17Ad-17, as it existed on January 23, 2013
The bill also seeks to amend Section 18-26-208(b) by stating that if the property reported to the state administrator is a security or a security entitlement, then the Holder of a security or entitlement shall:
- Liquidate, redeem, or sell the security or entitlement, AND
- Remit the proceeds acquired from the liquidation, redemption, or sale of that security or entitlement to the state administrator
The Administrator would also be required to liquidate the security or security entitlements currently in the state’s possession within ninety days of the effective date of the act.
The projected date of enactment is June 12, 2017 – which is subject to change as a result of an emergency clause allowing it to become effective on the date of approval by the Governor.
Illinois House Bill 302 – Amendments to Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act
On January 11th, Illinois introduced House Bill 302 which proposes to amend its Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act to add that an insurer is required to compare all policies, including lapsed or terminated policies, or acquired policies from another insurer against the complete Death Master File (DMF) to identify potential matches within six months of acquisition.
If previously acquired policies have been compared against the DMF, then the insurer must compare those policies against all DMF updates since the date that the previous insurer had already conducted the complete search to identify any potential matches.
This new bill applies to all policies, annuity contracts and retained asset accounts in force at any time on or after January 1, 1996.
Nebraska LB 137 – Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act
Nebraska started off 2017 with two bills being introduced on January 9th. To start, the introduction of NE LB 137 proposed to enact an Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act. Under this piece of legislation, insurers would be required to compare their policies and retained asset accounts against a death master file (DMF) to identify potential matches of its insureds and either pay out benefits or report such benefits as abandoned to the state.
Nebraska LB 141 – Adoption of Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act
NE LB 141, also introduced on January 9th, seeks to significantly overhaul its unclaimed property statute by adopting the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) but with several differences. The main differences of RUUPA include:
- A shortened dormancy period for HSA and similar plans that qualify for tax deferral under the current income tax laws;
- Exemptions for gift cards/certificates that do not expire and do not have fees assessed. If fees are assessed, then a 3 year dormancy period from the date of issuance for gift card/certificates which remain unredeemed applies, as well as for in-store credits for returned merchandise;
- Deposits and withdrawals, other than automatic deposits and withdrawals previously authorized by the owner or an automatic reinvestment of dividends or interest will be considered “owner interest.”;
- The withdrawal of an indemnity provision for holders facing liability claims resulting from good faith delivery of property even after compliance is determined by the state, and
- Additional penalties that will be assessed for failure to maintain records.
The operative date for NE LB 141 will be July 1, 2018, pending approval.
New Hampshire HB 473 – Definition of a Gift Card
Introduced on January 5, 2017, New Hampshire seeks to revise the definition of gift cards by removing the requirement for it to be in writing and increases the threshold for which merchants can sell gift cards without expiration dates from $100 to $250.
New York SB 1105 – Increase in Dormancy Periods
New York seeks to increase the dormancy periods from three years to five years for demand deposit accounts and other banking-related properties, as well as for life insurance properties.
Oregon SB 113 – Dormancy Period for Gift Instruments
On January 9th, Oregon introduced Senate Bill 113 and proposed to set the dormancy period for gift cards at five years. If the owner has not used the gift card within five years of the date of the last transaction, the person providing goods or services would be required to transfer any remaining balance on the gift card or certificate to the Department of State Lands.
Prior to the introduction of OR SB 113, Oregon’s unclaimed property statute did not address regulations for reporting unclaimed gift cards or certificates.
Regarding unclaimed property legislation, the beginning of each year is often the busiest. With more legislative changes on the horizon, it will become increasingly important to track these changes in order to stay in compliance and keep your organization’s unclaimed property program in order.