Help with life insurance claims

Help with life insurance claims


How claims are processed and proceeds are paid


How are claims submitted?

To file a claim, the employer completes and submits the life insurance claim form online. The employer or family member can call us at 800-245-1522 to report the death and initiate the claim process.

Or, the employer completes and submits the group life claim (PDF):

  • Mail: Principal Life Insurance Company
    Attn: Group Life & Disability Claims Department
    711 High St.
    Des Moines, IA 50392-0002
  • Email:
  • Fax: 800-255-6609
Is there a filing limitation for submitting a group life claim?

No, there isn’t a filing limitation for submitting a group life claim. However, the sooner you can submit the claim, the easier it will be for us to obtain the information needed to process it. Over time, it can become more difficult to get needed documentation and proof-of-loss information. It’s up to the beneficiary to provide the required information to substantiate coverage and loss.

How long does it take to process a group life claim?

Once all information is received, we generally process claims within 5 working days. In some cases, more information may be needed, and the process could take a little longer.

How are group life benefit checks issued?

Benefit checks are issued in a lump-sum payment.

Are life insurance proceeds taxable?

Beneficiaries should speak with a tax advisor to answer this question.

What if there isn't a named beneficiary at the time of death?

If there is no named beneficiary, or the beneficiary is deceased, the contract provides us with guidance on whom the proceeds should be paid to. This is called facility of payment.

Can the beneficiary make a funeral home assignment?

Yes, the beneficiary can assign proceeds to a funeral home. The beneficiary needs to get a funeral home assignment form from the funeral home. This form should designate Principal Life Insurance Company as the insurance company, specify a dollar amount for the assignment, and list the policy number and funeral home tax ID number. The beneficiary must also sign the form.

What's needed if the group life proceeds are to be paid to an estate?

Before proceeds can be issued to an estate, we need to receive court documents of appointment. These documents are referred to as the letters of administration (issued when there isn’t a will) or the letters of testamentary (issued when there was a valid will at the time of death). This documentation needs to name the personal representative of the estate, often referred to as the executor, administrator, executrix, etc.

What's needed if the group life proceeds are to be paid to a trust?

Before proceeds can be issued to a designated trust or trustee, we will verify that the trust is in force and that the trustee hasn’t changed. We need to receive a copy of the trust, which names the trustee. After receiving this documentation, proceeds will be paid to the designated trustee.

What's needed if the group life proceeds are to be paid to a minor child?

By law, minor beneficiaries aren’t capable of giving a valid release for the receipt of any benefits paid to them.

  • Whenever possible, proceeds are paid to the legal guardian or conservator of the estate of the minor. We need to receive a copy of the court order appointing guardianship, along with the claim form, before making payment of proceeds.
  • If guardianship documents aren’t submitted, the proceeds are paid to an interest-bearing individual annuity account to be claimed when the minor reaches the age of majority.
  • In some instances, the Uniform Transfers to Minor Act (UTMA) can be used to pay the proceeds. Many states have specific criteria, which must be met to use this option of payment. In general, Principal Life would select a custodian, who would select a bank. The proceeds are paid to the custodian and minor beneficiary and forwarded directly to the bank account.
Is life premium waiver offered on every group life contract?

No, life premium waiver isn’t included on every group life insurance contract. The employer must elect this provision as part of the employer-sponsored benefit program. This is noted in the policy in the “life coverage during disability” section.

How does an employee file a life premium waiver?

When we review a long-term disability claim—and there’s also group life insurance from Principal—we automatically check the life insurance policy for a life premium waiver benefit. If there isn’t long-term disability coverage, an employee submits the same disability claim form (PDF) to initiate a life premium waiver only claim. Written proof of total disability is required within one year of the date total disability begins.

When should conversion be offered?

When group life insurance coverage from Principal ends for any reason, review the “individual purchase rights” provisions in the policy to determine if/when conversion should be offered. If applicable, offer the employee conversion. If the employee already has an approved claim for life premium waiver, you don’t need to offer conversion. If we denied a claim for life premium waiver, we’ll provide conversion rights to the claimant.

Resources to help beneficiaries cope with a loss

Coping with a loss can be difficult, so we offer grief support, financial planning support, and will services (for spouses only and up three months after death) to help beneficiaries through these times at no cost.

Contact information for these valuable services:

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Don't see the topic you need help with?

Give us a call at 800-245-1522 for help in English and 800-243-1404 for help in Spanish.

Or send us an email.

This information is provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting or tax advice. Consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, or  accounting obligations and requirements. 

Insurance issued by Principal Life Insurance Company, Des Moines, IA 50392.