Members of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) united policyholders, beneficiaries, investors and heirs with unclaimed assets worth R8.1 billion in 2018. The forgotten assets were held in 71 233 risk policies, savings and investment policies, annuity polices and accounts in Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) portfolios.
Rosemary Lightbody, senior policy adviser at ASISA, says despite the efforts already made by member companies, it is estimated that unclaimed assets worth R17.1 billion held in 147 221 products still need to be reunited with their legal owners.
Lightbody explains that ASISA members will honour claims on unclaimed policy benefits and investment proceeds no matter how long it takes for the policyholder, beneficiary, investor or heir to come forward. This effectively means that ASISA members will not rely on the Prescription Act in cases where valid claims are made that would otherwise have prescribed.
ASISA this week released the first update on the tracing activities of its members since the enhanced version of the ASISA Standard on Unclaimed Assets came into effect on 1 January this year. The Standard was first introduced in 2013, but was only applicable to long-term insurance members. In 2016, the reach of the Standard was extended to include CIS management companies and Linked Investment Service Providers (LISPs). The Standard does not apply to retirement annuity policies and preservation fund products, which are dealt with in terms of the Pension Funds Act.
The Standard encourages the use of enhanced tracing procedures so as to keep unclaimed assets at a minimum level and guides members on how to treat unclaimed assets.