THE Insurance and Pension Commission of Zimbabwe (Ipec) says pension funds have more than $28 million worth of unclaimed benefits, a symptom of lack of knowledge, which is one of the problems burdening the insurance sector.
By Melody Chikono
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds (ZAPF) annual congress in Victoria Falls last week, Ipec official, Josphat Kakwere said there was need for the sector to come up with a holistic approach of dealing with unclaimed benefits.
“At the moment, $28,03 million of benefits sitting in pension funds are actually unclaimed,” he said.
“As Ipec, we are on a drive educating members of pension schemes and the public on their rights as pension members.”
Kakwere said the high number of unclaimed benefits was mainly due to lack of awareness of the benefits, as beneficiaries were not adequately informed.
He said the sector was being weighed down by weak corporate governance, conflicted board of trustee members and poor oversight in the management of pension funds.
“There is also the issue of undefined roles of players in the pensions industry resulting in certain players acting outside their mandate, for example, professional fund administrators underwriting annuity business and even acting as fund managers,” Kakwere said.
He said the sector was also afflicted by low levels of confidence, high costs of running funds, as well as contribution arrears or rentals arrears.
Kakwere said the industry needed to take a holistic approach in coming up with pension reforms.
“There is need for cost-containing measures that deal with the issue of expenses through putting expense caps and consolidation of industry, dissolution of financially unsound funds as well as amendment of the legislation to empower the commission to effectively supervise industry,” he said.
“Repositioning of the industry will depend on the quality of reforms to be adopted, which should be anchored by other factors,” he said.