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Updating Employee Emergency Contact Information & Beneficiary Data

A workplace emergency is the worst time to realize that employee emergency contact information is out of date or missing. Since we cannot predict when we will truly need it, now is the best time to require all of your employees to update their emergency contact information.

Emergency Contact Information
Make it a point to remind employees that names, phone numbers, email addresses, and other information should be accurate in the company files. EctoHR recommends utilizing a one-page emergency contact form to quickly and easily gather important contact information for all employees. Employers depend on the information to be accurate and accessible at a moment’s notice for the safety of the employee.

Beneficiary Data
As life circumstances change, so may the desired beneficiaries of an employee’s company life insurance policy, 401(k) assets, or health savings accounts. Many times, employees are not aware that these accounts require designated beneficiaries, contingents’ names, distribution percentages as well as current phone numbers and addresses. Costly legal action by the employee’s family is necessary to correct this if the employee dies without the correct beneficiaries listed, or without any beneficiaries listed at all. In some cases, the omission may not be reversible, proving to be very costly for those that should have received the appropriate benefit.

Best Practices

Tracking and updating emergency contact and beneficiary information can be overwhelming and time consuming. EctoHR recommends the following best practices to ensure compliance and accurate record keeping:

  • The start of a new year or new quarter is an excellent time to remind everyone to revisit his or her emergency contacts. Sending a reminder email yearly is a great way to keep information up to date.
  • Make emergency contact and beneficiary designation forms part of a new hire packet or checklist to make sure all new employees are captured throughout the year.
  • Make sure employees can easily access any necessary forms or websites to update their information.
  • Create an audit spreadsheet to ensure 100% compliance when it has been some time since your last beneficiary update or if you have a large number of employees.

EctoHR is here to help
For more information on best practices and required updates, contact an EctoHR team member by calling 810.534.0170, or by email at


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