(a) Each insurer admitted to transact insurance in this State which, without the written consent of the beneficiary, fails or refuses to pay the death proceeds or death benefits in accordance with the terms of any policy providing a death benefit issued by it in this State within 30 days after receipt of satisfactory proof of loss because of the death, whether accidental or otherwise, of the insured shall pay interest, at a rate not less than the then current rate of interest on death proceeds left on deposit with the insurer computed from the date of the insured's death, on any moneys payable and unpaid after the expiration of the 30-day period. As used in this subsection, the phrase “satisfactory proof of loss because of the death” includes, but is not limited to, a certified copy of the death certificate; or a written statement by the attending physician at the time of death that contains the following information: (i) the name and address of the physician, who must be duly licensed to practice medicine in the United States; (ii) the name of the deceased; (iii) the date, time, and place of the death; and (iv) the immediate cause of the death.
(b) Within the meaning of this section, payment of proceeds or benefits shall be deemed to have been made on the date upon which a check, draft or other valid instrument equivalent to the payment of money was placed in the United States mails in a properly addressed, postpaid envelope, or, if not so posted, on the date of delivery of such instrument to the beneficiary.
(c) This section does not allow an insurer to withhold payment of money payable under any policy providing a death benefit to any beneficiary for a period longer than reasonably necessary to determine whether benefits are payable and to transmit the payment.
(d) This section shall not apply to policies of insurance issued prior to the effective date of this section to the extent that such policies contain specific provisions in conflict with this section.
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