Manage your Life Insurance Claim
We're here to help during a difficult time

No one can eliminate the void, shock or grief that people experience following the death of a loved  one. However we can eliminate some of the strain by helping you file a claim.

Step 1: Notification

Report the death to John Hancock (U.S.A.) by either:

      a)  Using our quick and easy Notification Form OR

      b)  Contacting John Hancock at 1-888-887-2739

Do not complete a claims form if it is the first death of a survivorship policy (only Notification is required).        

Step 2: Completing the Claim Form

Communication is key to settling your claim quickly and seamlessly. If you need additional assistance, please contact us with any questions, weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time at 1-888-887-2739.  

Forms can be viewed, completed, e-mailed and printed from this site.

NOTE: There may be other requirements depending on various circumstances (you will be notified of any other requirements when the death report is received). 

Step 3: Submitting Requirements

Submit all requirements to the Claims Department at the address found on the claim form.

Step 4: Receiving Proceeds

The death benefit will be disbursed via check, Safe Access Account (not available for John Hancock New York), or electronic funds transfer (depending on the amount and your preference). The disbursement will include interest. EFT is only available for policies issued after December 31, 2004.

If you have questions or require further information, call our Customer Service Center at 1-888-887-2739.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Claim forms vary by the Issue State, Beneficiary Residence State and Insured's Residence State at Death.  Our report of death forum will guide you into making the selection of the correct form.  

  • Generally funds are disbursed within six to ten days.

  • If the primary beneficiary passed away prior to the policy owner, and there is no contingent designation on file, the proceeds are payable to the policy owner or the policy owner’s estate (if deceased). If the primary beneficiary passed away after the policy owner, the proceeds are payable to the beneficiary’s estate. In either case, a copy of the beneficiary’s death certificate will be required.

  • Generally, if there are multiple beneficiaries and any have pre-deceased the policy owner, the death benefit will be split between all remaining living primary beneficiaries at the time of the death of the insured. The beneficiary designation on file would need to indicate specific “per stirpes” instructions in order for a death benefit to be payable to the living heirs of a deceased beneficiary. Additional requirements for the beneficiary’s estate and remaining heirs will be required.

  • If an estate is opened, then the executor or administrator of the estate must provide a court certificate of appointment, also known as Letters Testamentary, along with the Life Insurance Claim Form and IRS Form W-9. The Claim Form and IRS Form W-9 should be completed using the Tax ID number of the estate and signed and dated by the executor or administrator. For death claims less than $50,000, in the event that no estate is open, it is now closed, or it is not being probated, then you must complete the Estate Affidavit Form (available on, along with the Claim Form and IRS Form W-9.

  • A Claim Form completed and signed by the Trustee(s) of the Trust and a Trustee Certification Form is required. In addition, the IRS Form W-9 should be completed in the name of the Trust, with the Employer Identification Number (EIN) of the Trust provided and signed and dated by the Trustee(s). When a testamentary trust is a policy beneficiary, the trustee must provide the trust’s EIN and not the EIN of the insured’s estate.

  • The death benefit will be payable based on the beneficiary designations on file at John Hancock, regardless of the instructions in the deceased’s will.

  • The death benefit is generally based on the face amount of the policy, less any loans, or other deductions from the policy. The death benefit payment may also include interest on the proceeds at the rate and for the period of time required by the life insurance policy and state law. A lapsed policy status may impact the death benefit.

  • In most cases, only the interest credited on the death benefit is subject to income tax. We report the interest to the IRS and the beneficiary on Form 1099-INT. Please note that part of the death benefit may be taxable if the policy was held in a qualified retirement plan or had been transferred for value. Please consult your tax advisor for further details specific to your situation.

  • As part of the claim settlement process, each beneficiary must submit an IRS Form W-9. If a beneficiary is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien, or other U.S. person, an IRS Form W-8 must be submitted instead. Please refer to the instructions to Forms W-8 and W-9 on how to properly complete each form. One copy of the IRS Form W-9 is included in this package. You can also obtain both forms and their instructions on the IRS website at

  • If the proceeds are less than $10,000, John Hancock will generally, allow a legal guardian of a minor beneficiary to claim the proceeds upon presentation of a birth certificate for the minor.  

  • A claim is considered contestable if the insured dies within a two-year period of the issue date or two years from the reinstatement date of a lapsed policy. Generally, we complete a routine investigation to verify the information that was provided at the time of underwriting and policy issuance or reinstatement, as applicable.

  • If benefits have been assigned to a funeral company or similar entity, this does not make them a beneficiary, only an assignee. Therefore, the funeral home or assigned company should not complete a Claim Form. Claim Forms should still be completed by the beneficiary.

  • You must provide a copy of supporting legal documentation. Examples include a marriage certificate, birth certificate, court document, etc. If the beneficiary is a corporation and the name has changed due to a merger, Articles of Amendment and/or documents issued by the State Department of Commerce will be required.

Ready to file right away?

Start the process by notifying us of the death by completing our online form.

File a Death Claim