FNB Life: insurers must do more about unclaimed benefits

29 May 2018

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FNB Life has identified over R160 million worth of unclaimed policies in its books and is embarking on a campaign to track down nominated beneficiaries, family members or the next of kin who are eligible beneficiaries.

This came from a media statement issued by FNB Life, a new division of South Africa’s third largest bank First National Bank (FNB). It could be a PR that has somewhat blown the whistle on peers for not doing enough to solve the problem of unclaimed insurance benefits.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life

The FNB Life statement implies that insurers need to do more to ensure that insurance benefits are paid out as quickly as possible when due.

The stamen said to date FNB Life has paid over R5 million, from the R160 million, across different products to nominated beneficiaries who had no idea that the policies existed before they were traced. The highest claim identified was R3.6 million for life cover and R100 000 for funeral cover.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life, said it is gravely concerning and unfair that consumers who have spent their hard-earned cash paying insurance premiums have to lose out on claims due to insurers not being able to contact their loved ones, or beneficiaries not being aware of the policies.

“Therefore, it was imperative that we not only place emphasis on educating consumers on measures to avoid dealing with unclaimed policies, but proactively exhausts all possible measures to assist consumers who find themselves in this unfortunate situation,” said Bromfield.

He added that although many insurers place the onus on the insured to ascertain that beneficiary details are always up to date in order to pay out a claim. FNB Life equally takes on the responsibility by going the extra-mile to ensure that claimed and unclaimed benefits are always paid out, where possible.

He said in a bid to tackle the ongoing issue concerning unclaimed insurance benefits, FNB Life has embarked on an initiative to proactively identify customers who have not submitted claims in the past.

The bank will do this by proactively accessing and analysing data from the Department of Home affairs in order to identify potential beneficiaries and pay out what is due to them.

The FNB Life statement said one of the common reasons that often prevent insurers from being able to pay out claims is the failure to submit a valid claim and the inability to contact beneficiaries due to incomplete, missing, outdated or inaccurate information. And consumers who have multiple policies with different insurers find it challenging to maintain and keep all beneficiaries informed about the policy.

The statement said it is also essential that policy holders actively inform all their beneficiaries and family members whenever they take out cover.

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