Most people today are concerned with protecting their personal information .. and rightfully so. Identity theft in the US has increased approximately 10 percent per year since 2008, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. More than 10 million Americans become victims of identity theft of some form every year.
A Social Security Number (SSN) is one piece of personal information targeted by identity thieves. Keeping your SSN secure is an important key to preventing identity theft. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, you are not always required to provide your SSN when asked. There are some situations in which it is required such as employment applications, driver’s license applications, credit applications and some financial account applications.
A Social Security Number is Required to Apply for Term Life Insurance
Accounts that require reporting to the federal government will require you to provide your SSN. Term life insurance applications fall into this category. When you apply for term life insurance, the company will require your SSN. Life insurance companies are also responsible for monitoring application and claims activity to help prevent criminal activities such as identity theft and money laundering. The companies look for inconsistencies in recording numbers across several documents, as well as check suspicious SSNs against criminal databases.
In light of terrorist activities throughout the world over the past 10 years, life insurance companies are also required to verify the identity of individuals applying for life insurance coverage. Life insurance is just one vehicle known to be used by terrorist groups to fund terrorist activities and to launder money. The following is a notice of such practices, provided by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company website.
CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION PROCEDURES
The USA PATRIOT Act requires all financial institutions, including The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, to obtain, verify, and maintain information that identifies each person who opens a new account with the Company, or assumes ownership of an existing policy or contract. To meet this federal obligation, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth or articles of incorporation or similar documents and other information, including a driver’s license or other government issued identification that will allow us to verify your identity. This process may include the use of third party sources to verify the information provided.
Aside from federal requirements for reporting, life insurance companies also have practical reasons for requesting your SSN on a life insurance application.
- MIB Report – Although not required to request a Medical Information Bureau (MIB) report, a SSN will greatly improve the likelihood of obtaining the correct report. Without it, the odds of receiving an incorrect report due to mistaken identity increase (you’re not the only Mike Smith in town, ‘ya know?).
- Pharmacy Report – The same reasoning as the MIB report applies here. The Rx report helps life insurance companies evaluate the risk associated with an application. It is much more helpful to them, and to you, if they get your report and not someone else’s.
- Medical Records – Once again, obtaining the wrong set of medical records can derail a life insurance application. At the very least, it can slow down the process considerably. In the worst case, information from the incorrect medical records can end up on someone’s MIB Report! This is extremely rare and often correctable, but the risk is there if the SSN is not available.
- Motor Vehicle Report – Nobody likes to hear they have 2 DUI’s on their MVR that they know nothing about. Life insurance companies don’t like to hear that either. It’s in your best interest, as well as theirs, to get the correct report the first time.
The bottom line is you will be required to provide your SSN to apply for term life insurance with any life insurance company. For the vast majority of people this is not usually a problem, and most provide the information willingly. However, if you are uncomfortable listing your SSN on your application forms, most companies will allow you to call in and provide the number over the telephone. Of course, our representatives will always work with you to help keep your personal information and identity safe!