The scheme was set up by the government in 2011 to make fair and transparent payments to policyholders who suffered financial losses as a result of government maladministration which occurred in the regulation of Equitable Life.
Since the last progress report in June 2015, the scheme has issued payments to a further 13,000 policyholders, meaning that over 915,000 eligible policyholders have now been sent tax-free payments. This means the scheme has now paid 88% of eligible policyholders, and 92.9% of the money due.
The figures are broken down as follows:
- 416,726 payments to individual investors have been issued totalling £567 million
- 38,043 With-Profits Annuitants (WPAs) or their estates have been issued payments by the scheme. These initial and subsequent payments total £333.8 million
- 460,684 payments totalling £176.2 million have been issued to those who bought their policy through their company pension scheme
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin said:
I am proud that the government is tackling the legacy of Equitable Life, helping over 915,000 Equitable Life policy holders with almost £1.08 billion worth of payments.
As the Chancellor announced in this year’s Summer Budget on 8 July, the scheme will be closing to new claims on 31 December 2015. Any policyholders who still believe themselves to be eligible are encouraged to call the scheme on 0300 0200 150 before 31st December 2015. The scheme can verify the identity of most policyholders on the telephone, which means any payment due can usually be received within 2 weeks.
In the Summer Budget, the Chancellor also announced that payments to non-With Profit Annuitant policyholders who receive Pension Credit will be doubled. Any policyholders who have made a claim from the scheme by the time it closes on 31 December and are receiving Pension Credit on that date will receive this second payment without having to take any action.
The scheme has made major efforts to trace policyholders, including extensive electronic tracing methods, writing to policyholders’ last known addresses, working with other government departments and liaising with group scheme trustees.
As also announced in the Summer Budget, the Department of Work and Pensions has now sent letters to all untraced policyholders due £50 or more for whom the scheme holds a National Insurance number and other details, such as their name.