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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater wants Floridians to start searching through the 61,271 new unclaimed property accounts.

The accounts total more than $25 million, according to a release from Atwater's office.

The office received the unclaimed property as part of a settlement with AIG related to life insurance benefits, the relesae said. Atwater's office said the 61,271 new accounts is the first half of what is expected to be additional remittances by insurer AIG.

Atwater said, "These new accounts represent dollars loved ones set aside to secure financial stability for their families. Holding companies accountable means these dollars will now be returned to their rightful owners across the state."

The release said AIG would determine an insured person died by comparing policyholder records with the Social Security Administration's Death Master File (DMF). Atwater said many companies will use this practice to stop annuity payments but not to issue life insurance payments.

When the insurance company cannot locate an insured person or beneficiary, the release said the insurance company is responsible for notifying and remitting the value of the policy of the insured's state department of unclaimed property.

The state's unclaimed property department is the central means by which heirs, owners and insured persons can find out about the funds, Atwater said.

Atwater said the agreement with AIG is the fifth one between the state of Florida and the insurer. Part of the agreement requires large national insurance companies to use the DMF to locate life and annuity beneficiaries and to property place funds in the unclaimed property division for the beneficiary's state if a beneficiary cannot be located.

The five settlements resulted in 73,859 new accounts worth more than $51.25 million being remitted to the Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property to be claimed, according to the release.

To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org or call 1-88-VALUABLE or 850-413-5555.

To access more information about the settlement agreements, visit the Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services' webpage at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/consumers.

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