State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald announced today the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt has reached a milestone of returning unclaimed property to 36,347 rightful owners during the 2018 fiscal year (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018). “Since the program’s inception in 1983, we have returned over $247 million through the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt to more than 592,000 past and present Iowans,” Fitzgerald said. “This milestone reinforces our dedication to reuniting unclaimed property with its rightful owners. While we are proud of this accomplishment, we still have over $315 million to return.”
The average number of unclaimed property claims paid in a fiscal year is 16,000; less than half of what was paid in the last year. Last fall, over 60,000 Des Moines-area properties were added to the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, which was the largest single report loaded into the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt. The additional properties represent over $11 million from the City of Des Moines class action franchise tax lawsuit. “We had a record number of claims filed and paid in the last year,” Fitzgerald stated. “The media attention the program received when the City of Des Moines properties were added to the program dramatically increased the number of overall claims. Many people who didn’t find their name in the settlement found other property to claim. I’m pleased over 36,000 owners received their unclaimed property this past fiscal year; we are ready for another big year!”
The average claim amount paid during this fiscal year was $472.00. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property’s owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the state treasurer’s office, where it is held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, and safe deposit box contents.
Visit the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt at GreatIowaTreasureHunt.gov to begin your search. Keep up with all of our programs on social media (Facebook and Twitter @IowaTreasurer).