The Importance of Contact Details

A number of Sanlam Corporate: Group Risk (hereafter referred to as SGR) clients enjoy the benefits provided through the Universal Educator Protector (UEP) insurance.  The UEP insurance benefit assists with the expenses associated with the educational needs an employee was responsible for at date of death and would have become responsible for in the future for all his/her eligible children.  This includes, for the rest of their schooling, the payment of tuition fees for school and tertiary education, as well as the costs of books and residency fees (at tertiary level). 

Recently, following an intermediary change, a large and long-standing client of SGR underwent a thorough data clean-up process, the results of which highlighted the importance of providing an insurer with updated member information and contact details.

At inception of this particular benefit, the employer selected the value added service for affected UEP qualifying children.  As a result of this they received a school starter kit (which includes a backpack and stationery) at the start of each calendar year.  However, given the volumes of beneficiaries involved, the initiative was later reviewed as it was not practical to facilitate the logistics of providing the school starter kits directly to the qualifying children.  Since 2015, the school starter kits were replaced with an Ackermans cash voucher, delivered via SMS in January of each year to each guardian’s cellphone number on record, for the purchase of school uniform items and/or stationery.  This voucher is paid in addition to the UEP insured benefit stipulated in the policy, which further assists in improving the lives of these affected guardians and children.

With the appointment of a new intermediary in January 2019, the scheme benefit structure was investigated to establish if it was still appropriate for the client.  Discussions ensued and statistics were analysed, which included the utilisation of the UEP benefit.  From the analysis concluded in August 2019, it was evident that, although the claims experience have been high throughout its existence, which meant many death claims have been processed, the client was not making full use of the UEP benefit for many of the children who were left without a father or mother.

A total of 225 claims were admitted since inception of the scheme, with 112 claims still receiving policy benefits.  However, perhaps more significantly, a further 555 claims were reflected as provisional, with 503 children still of school going age, indicating that these children could potentially claim but did not. 

During the project SGR and the intermediary attempted to contact as many of the guardians of these children as they could with the data available to them, with the objective of assisting them to register their potential claims.  The two trust fund administrators that the client had made use of over the years, provided additional assistance, and their data was cross-referenced with data captured on our platform.  This enabled SGR’s data to be updated with valid contact information, not only for these provisional records but also for the actively in payment records, thereby ensuring that all beneficiaries receive and redeem their Ackermans vouchers in 2021.

Furthermore, the trust fund administrators agreed to refer all guardians with whom they have contact to SGR to verify whether they could potentially still claim the UEP benefit.  Similarly, to ensure communication to the families at claim stage is more effective, the same communication drive was implemented at all levels of the client’s Human Resources department.

In May 2020, a further analysis was done, and due to the project, the admitted claims grew to 278, and the actively-in-payment claims rose from 112 to 164, which depicts a remarkable increase of 46%.  As a result of this analysis, close to R900 000 was paid out additionally to schools, text book stores and residences in respect of these children.  This illustrates a real success story of what can be achieved when stakeholders collaborate with the welfare of beneficiaries in mind, and the importance of contact details being provided to the service providers.

SGR will continue to collaborate with the client, the intermediary and the beneficiary trust companies, with the hope that we make even more progress on this journey, ensuring that we provide all the qualifying children an opportunity to be educated so that they can help generate wealth within our societies. 

This experience is not unique, and is a perfect example of why the Policyholder Protection Rules require long-term insurers to collect member data and contact details, and it also demonstrates that insurers are not using the contact information for nefarious purposes – but for the benefit of members.

Insurers require the support of intermediaries and employers to collect the requisite information on a proactive basis.  This ensures that the communication required in terms of the Policyholder Protection Rules reaches the members, thereby educating members and beneficiaries of the benefits available to them; furthermore it enables insurers to trace the beneficiaries (when required) to ensure that they obtain the benefits that they are entitled to.

SGR has attempted to simplify the Policyholder Protection Rules, as it is lengthy and detailed, into a one-page infographic, which aims to highlight the responsibilities of each stakeholder at each stage of the insurance process.  Intermediaries and employers can use this as a guideline, with the knowledge that we are available to offer support at any time – we can only get this right if we work together.

Warm regards