Consumers demand firms reclaim lost pensions and life insurance policies left in dormant accounts

Amidst the foreshadowed closure of Experian’s Unclaimed Assets Register (UAR), new research conducted by Gretel has identified what consumers think financial firms should be doing to reclaim over £50bn currently sitting in lost or dormant accounts.

Related topics:  life insurance,  UAR
Tabitha Lambie | Editorial assistant, Barcadia Media
24th August 2022
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"We’re at a point in time where consumers face a cost-of-living crisis and the number who are considered vulnerable, continues to rise."
- Duncan Stevens, Gretel chief executive

While the UAR doesn’t cover all financial services and comes with a fee (£25 for each search), it has been a key port of call for consumers tracking down dormant and lost accounts.

Nearly 20 million customer accounts with a combined value of over £50bn have been lost or forgotten by their rightful owners in the UK alone. These accounts include pensions, investments, and life insurance policies.

Hence with less than a week to go until the service is decommissioned it is unclear what the providers that had partnered with the service will do to help their customers going forward.

Consequently, Gretel asked consumers what they thought were the most important things financial firms should be doing to reconnect them with these dormant assets.

This research has revealed that half of UK adults (53%) believe that financial services should be sharing records with a central organisation to better help them reconnect with dormant assets. This statistic is even higher amongst those over the age of 55 (63%).

Furthermore, 40% think financial firms should be more proactive in their efforts to remind customers to update their details to minimise the chances of them becoming disconnected. 32% believe this should be achieved through an increase in the regularity of communication with customers over dormant assets.

Additionally, 25% think financial services need to change how they communicate with customers. Examples suggested included written communications rather than phone calls or email.

Commenting on these findings, Duncan Stevens, Gretel chief executive has said:

“We’re at a point in time where consumers face a cost-of-living crisis and the number who are considered vulnerable, continues to rise. Coupled with this, one of the primary vehicles for them finding their lost assets – valued at £50bn - is set to close its doors in a matter of days with no alternative provision put in place seemingly from the providers previously using the service.

“We are working with the financial services industry to show how our exclusive technology can help solve a number of challenges ranging from lowering the cost of customer reconnection, to digitisation of vulnerable customer journeys, to rectifying legacy data quality issues and to restart financial conversations.”

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