Wed, Sep 18, 2019 - Page 12 News List

FSC tackles unclaimed insurance funds

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Unclaimed funds have been increasing due to insurance companies’ failure to track down policyholders or trace beneficiaries, with the amount surpassing NT$10 billion (US$322.22 million) as of the end of last year, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Monday.

If benefits of policies are left unclaimed for more than two years, most insurance companies recognize the money as revenue or profit, but the commission wants insurers to book the money as reserves payable to their clients when they have been traced, commission Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said.

The commission does not expect the new regulations to affect companies’ profitability too much, given their sound financial state, Koo said.

In addition, the commission is to demand that insurance companies step up their efforts to track down policyholders and beneficiaries, he said.

Under the commission’s plan, insurance companies would be required to trace 75 percent of the policyholders or beneficiaries of unclaimed benefits by the end of this year, Koo said.

That ratio is to be raised to 85 percent by the end of next year, 93 percent in 2021 and 100 percent in 2022, he added.

The commission said it would be difficult for companies to trace policyholders or beneficiaries of old policies, so it would first require them to focus on those owed unclaimed benefits since April 30, 2016, while property insurers should focus on unclaimed funds since Sept. 30, 2017, Koo said.

The problem usually occurs when policyholders change their job or address, the Insurance Bureau said.

In some cases, insurance firms fail to locate beneficiaries after the policyholder has died, or the benefits are left unclaimed because the beneficiaries are not aware of the policies, the bureau said.

If insurance companies fail to track down the beneficiaries of unclaimed funds, the commission does not plan to fine them, but it would step up its supervision of their business, bureau Director Tsai Huo-yen (蔡火炎) said yesterday.

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