Many professional genealogists look for ancestors while others look for descendants. The latter effort is called "heir searching" when someone dies and leaves an estate but the heirs are not easily located. Professional "heir search" firms often find the heirs and then inform them of the (usually) unexpected money they have inherited. The heir search companies make income by taking a percentage of the money, often as much as 30%.
One company in Indiana has a slightly different twist on the "heir search" business: the company starts with unclaimed money from insurance benefits, bank accounts, pensions, and sometimes estates. Employees will then find the rightful recipients.
Indiana Benefits Recovery is a five-person company that also employs an additional 12 genealogists as part-time contractors. Brent Minnick, president, states, “My favorite by far has been a World War II veteran who we initially gave $20,000, who in the first 12 months since we met, we have put $50,000 in his pocket total.” The man will continue to see an additional $25,000 in income and savings each year from a veterans’ pension as well as savings on his prescriptions and medical bills, Minnick said.
Interesting business. You can read more in an article in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette at http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20100221/BIZ05/302219935/1031/BIZ.
The article does state that Indiana Benefits Recovery had $75,000 revenue in 2009, which seems rather low for a company with five employees and additional contractors. I'm wondering if that is a typo.