2015-06-27

Unclaimed life insurance benefits exempted from prescription laws

Tracing beneficiaries

From 1 June 2013, life insurers will be obliged to start the process of tracing policyholders or beneficiaries within six months of the assets becoming payable, either as a benefit or a maturity payment.
Should this process not match the rightful owner with the assets, the life company repeats the tracing process within a three-year period and again within 10 years if the assets remain unclaimed. If after 10 years, the life company cannot trace the beneficiaries or policyholder, an external tracing company must be used. This requirement may only be waived is if the assets are worth less than R1 000 and the cost of tracing exceeds the amount available.

In terms of the Standard, any reasonable administrative and tracing costs incurred after the first attempt to trace the rightful owners may be recovered from the unclaimed assets.