Thought Leadership Thursday
Giving Back to Employees through the Unclaimed Property Program
Thought Leadership Thursday Article
State Unclaimed Property Programs do an excellent job of returning money to the rightful owners, and I enjoy learning about the creative ways your teams market and reach your constituents. Here in Louisiana, I'm proud of the work of our Unclaimed Property Program, particularly with an innovative new initiative I'd like to share with you. We are always looking for data sources that contain current addresses, and we realize that employers should have that information on their employees.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Louisiana Unclaimed Property Program, and to celebrate, we launched the Great Employee Give Back of 2023, where our unclaimed property team works with business owners and their Human Resources departments to gather data on the employees to be matched against our unclaimed property database. Most of the participating employers have given their employees the choice of whether or not to share their personal information through an opt-in or opt-out process. Companies submit their data, including current addresses and social security numbers, and our Unclaimed Property team compares the information with our records. If we find a match and the amount is under a certain value limit, we issue checks without any action needed from the employee. I’ve been delivering checks in person at events set up by the employers. In addition to returning money to the rightful owners, this is also a great opportunity for employers to do something positive for their employees. For large amounts, we deliver the necessary claim forms and it’s easy for them to complete the process.
The Great Employee Give Back project began as a pilot program with a large Louisiana hospital system with more than 4,000 employees. The idea for the program came after the health system received its own check at the end of 2022 when leaders started thinking about how to do the same for their team members. A few weeks later, we showed up at the hospital to deliver 572 unclaimed property checks totaling more than $42,000 in a room filled with happy employees. It was a cheerful scene with refreshments, music, the CEO giving thanks for our program, and an overall good time. Many of the recipients opened the envelopes immediately and were excited about the amount received. Local television crews were present, and we received a lot of post-event publicity. The hospital executives even sent letters to other large corporations encouraging them to follow suit.
That was a few months ago. Since then, we have performed the Great Employee Give Back with businesses, nonprofits, school systems, and organizations across the state with an average return rate of 20%. So far we have returned more than $250,000 in automatic checks to employees and we are still going strong with more companies expressing interest in participating.
Over the past fifty years, Louisiana's Unclaimed Property Program has issued 1.38 million unclaimed property checks, totaling $727 million, to the rightful owners. More than half of those checks have been issued since I have been Treasurer. I will continue to push for creative new ways to return money to the citizens of the great state of Louisiana.
Feel free to reach out to me or my staff to learn more.
John M. Schroder
Louisiana State Treasurer