Gov. Rauner issues amendatory veto of life insurance bill

SPRINGFIELD --House Bill 302 was designed to help people get the life insurance benefits they’re entitled to, but Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized it as he issued an amendatory veto of the measure Wednesday, saying it may be unconstitutional and isn’t fair to the insurance industry.

From South Side pastors to the mothers of disabled children, people lashed out against the governor’s amendatory veto of HB 302 Wednesday. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says there are hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid death benefits from life insurance policies that beneficiaries don’t know about, and said the veto will only make it harder for loved ones to receive the money that’s theirs.

“What governor Rauner did was take away the one tool we have to hold insurance companies accountable,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs and others at a Thompson Center press conference said they were deeply unhappy with Gov. Rauner.

Lynn Lucchese-Soto adopted two special needs children after their biological mother and sister were killed in a car crash. Only after an audit did Soto find out from Frerichs about a life insurance policy for the children. But there are many others in the same predicament.

Pastor Mark Henton didn’t know his Monument of Faith Church was the beneficiary of any life insurance policies. But a state treasurer's audit revealed devoted members of his congregation were leaving money for their beloved church.

Known as the Life Insurance Reform Act, H.B. 302 would have required life insurance companies to compare their searchable electronic records of customers back to 2000 to the Death Master File to help identify unclaimed benefits. But in a written statement defending his amendatory veto, Gov. Rauner said there were serious problems with the legislation.