Investing & Money
piece written on the 10th August 2017 by  

Towards the end of last year, I wrote a blog post about ‘digital life after death’ and took a stab at questioning what happens to your online footprint once you pass away. I feel that it’s a really important topic and perhaps one that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. I think that in time it will become hugely popular as the plugged in generations start to get older.

Like last time, I was approached to write something up for*, and this time we’re going to branch away from the previous topic but not too far away that we lose full context. This time we’re looking at the concept of unclaimed Life Insurance. I know that most people umm and ahh when it comes to life insurance, but in my experience, that’s mostly people who don’t have a full understanding of it. I was exactly like that, but when my child was born and I revisited the topic my opinion did change. However, this isn’t a post about selling life insurance so I’ll stop right there. Instead, the topic at hand is: Do You Have Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits?

What is an unclaimed benefit?

This really might catch you by surprise, but an unclaimed benefit is exactly what the name says; it’s a benefit that hasn’t been claimed. In other words, your insurance policy has matured, you’re owed money and you haven’t collected it. Surely that doesn’t happen very often you might ask? Wrong. Did you know that in South Africa there are 3 million people who have unclaimed benefits to the tune of 45 billion Rand! That got you sitting up in your seat, didn’t it?

What if you’re one of those people? What if right this moment you’re owed money?

By my understanding, it isn’t up to the insurance company to continually ensure that they have all your correct details; as a policy holder, it’s crucial that you update them. Insurance companies have processes that take place to track people down, but they don’t always work and your money may ultimately end up going into a separate account and no longer be available to you.

Want to know if you’re owed money?

Maybe you moved, maybe something in your family changed, maybe you’ve been lazy? If you answered yes to any of those, then here are 3 ways you could find out if you’re owed money or have forgotten about a policy you’re linked to:

  1. Contact your insurance company, and provide the policy details and your ID number. You will need to motivate why you have an interest in a specific policy of course. The company shouldn’t take longer than 7 working days to provide you with feedback.
  1. If you believe that you’ve lost a policy, there’s an option called ‘Lost Policies’ on this Contact Page, which allows you to download a form for completion. Don’t forget to submit all the required documents.
  1. VeriFi is another option. You enter in all your details and you’ll receive an email report with any life insurance or investment policies you may be linked to.

With 3 million people being owed money to the value of 45 billion, there is a possibility that you or a loved one is owed money that you honestly might not even know existed. Imagine your parents set up a policy 50 years ago and have been contributing to it but have become elderly and forgotten about it. This might be the money needed to support them in the years ahead, or it might be inheritance available to assist your children with their education. Whatever it is, there’s a possibility and you really should follow the steps above to ensure that you’re aware.

As always, if you have any questions, please pop me a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.

* Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial services provider.