One time when ‘too good to be true’ is true
There is an estimated R20bn due to as many as 3.5 million South Africans in pay-outs from financial services policies, which have not been claimed.
The unclaimed benefits space is getting a long overdue disruption.
Deidre Wolmarans, Head: Life Events Solutions at Metropolitan, says that most of the money is residuals from lapsed policies, which people are unaware of after they stop their monthly payments; “usually a change of address is involved and we cannot trace the beneficiary, or the policy holder has died, and next of kin are unware of the policy”.
The huge sum does not represent a windfall for service providers as industry regulations ensure that they can never take ownership of unclaimed benefits nor of any interest accruing.
Metropolitan recently step-changed their client-centric approach to finding the missing beneficiaries in partnership with Colab, using their fintech products FindBen and PayBen.
“The primary motivation is simply to do the right thing by our clients by paying the money due to them,” says Wolmarans “and it’s a great positive to surprise and delight them with a completely unexpected pay-out”.
Wolmarans says the new proprietary model uses an unconventional tracing method that is set to disrupt the market and is already yielding a relatively higher success rate than other traditional methods: “In just one exercise with Colab we were able to find and pay out R20 million to 18 140 beneficiaries securely, quickly and more efficiently”.
Colab CEO Will Green says the concept of client-centricity led to them re-defining the benefit funds as ‘unpaid’ instead of ‘unclaimed’ to emphasise the need for proactivity and to use new ways of tracing people.
Green cannot share specific details of the project due to its sensitive nature but believes the model “has demonstrated that we can decrease a fund’s liability, increase overall operational efficiencies and deliver additional goodwill to the fund and their clients”.
Wolmarans points out one curious by-product of Metropolitan’s increased success rate in distributing unexpected benefits: “we often have to overcome a client’s fear of being scammed; some will believe this is too good to be true, but we get around this by sending them to the nearest Metropolitan branch where they can get reassurance and make arrangements for the transfer”.
In spite of the significantly enhanced handling of unclaimed benefits and the recent successes, Wolmarans says that Metropolitan is committed to continuously improving the process: “we still have a long road to travel and we look forward to working more closely with Colab on future projects to pioneer new ways to better serve our clients.”
Wolmarans encourages anyone who suspects there might be an unclaimed benefit owing to them to get in touch with Metropolitan.
For unclaimed benefits enquiries at Metropolitan contact 0860 724 724
Ogilvy Public Relations
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