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Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are some of the frequently asked questions the Scheme has received since it started making payments in June 2011. Simply click on a question to reveal a detailed answer.

If you have a question that is not listed here or you cannot find the information you are looking for, you can contact the Scheme in several ways. Click here to view our contact information.

Am I eligible for the Equitable Life Payment Scheme ("the Scheme")?

What makes me eligible for the Scheme?

To find out whether you are eligible for the Scheme, and whether you are eligible for a payment from the Scheme, please refer to the eligibility criteria, which can be found here.

What makes me eligible for a payment from the Scheme?

To receive a payment:

  • you must have been identified as the payee of an eligible policy.
  • that policy must have made a Relative Loss.
  • your payment due must be £10 or more in total.

I have an eligible policy, but havenít heard from the Scheme. What should I do?

The Scheme has written to all the eligible individual (ie non company pension scheme) policyholders it can to inform them of their status within the Scheme.

If you have an eligible individual (i.e. non-group) policy but have not yet received a letter from the scheme, please first confirm that your policy is eligible for the Scheme by telephoning the Scheme’s “Policychecker” service on 0300 0200 150. After this, you should write to the Scheme to state your eligibility for the Scheme, quoting your full name, address and your Equitable Life policy number. Contact details are available here.

How will you trace eligible policyholders?

The Scheme has gathered data for eligible policyholders from Equitable Life (and Prudential, if a WPA policy was transferred to them). Due to the age of the data the Scheme has adopted a rigorous process for verifying the addresses of policyholders to ensure payments are made to the correct people at the correct address. This involves checking against records such as the electoral roll, the phone book and credit histories. If someone cannot be verified against these various registers then the Scheme may contact them and ask for further proof of identity before making payment.

For information about how the Scheme is tracing Group (company pension) scheme policyholders, please see Information about Group (company pension) schemes.

Equitable Life has written to me recently with a payment. Does this affect my eligibility for the Equitable Life Payment Scheme?

No. Providing you meet the criteria listed in The Equitable Life Payment Scheme design document, this will not affect your eligibility for the Scheme.

I have moved abroad. Will I still receive my payment?

Yes. Providing you meet the eligibility criteria listed in The Equitable Life Payment Scheme design document you will still receive your payment.

I bought my policy overseas. Am I still eligible?

Yes, providing you meet the eligibility criteria listed in The Equitable Life Payment Scheme design document.

Am I eligible if I switched my policy from an ineligible Equitable Life fund (eg. a unit-linked investment) into an eligible Equitable Life With-Profits fund?

The funds from a switch will be treated in the same way as a normal premium when applying the Scheme’s eligibility criteria, regardless of whether a With-Profits policy was started with a switched investment or topped up with a switched investment.

Am I eligible if I transferred my policy from another provider into Equitable Life?

Funds that are received as a consequence of a transfer from a different provider will be treated in the same way as a normal premium. The Scheme eligibility criteria will apply, providing the transfer is into an eligible With-Profits policy.

What can I expect in terms of payment?

How do you work out how much someone is paid?

The Scheme will calculate a payment amount for every eligible policy, based on any Relative Loss that policy has made. For more information see "What is a Relative Loss or Gain?"

The Scheme has detailed rules for calculating payments in relation to the Relative Loss, set out in The Equitable Life Payment Scheme design document. Relative Losses on With-Profits Annuities (WPA's) will be covered in full (see How is Relative Loss calculated for WPA policies?).

For Relative Losses on AWP or CWP policies:

  • If your policy ended before 31 December 2009, then the Scheme takes the Relative Loss value accrued in the eligible period and applies a fixed 4% per year interest up until 31 December 2009;
  • Policyholders will receive a pro rata amount of 22.4% of their total Relative Losses. For more information see Why are AWP and CWP policyholders paid a pro rata amount of 22.4%?;
  • If 22.4% of the total Relative Loss is less than £10 then no payment will be made. This is to avoid disproportionate administration costs;
  • If individuals have more than one AWP or CWP policy then Relative Losses will be offset against Relative Gains on all of these policies. This means that any Relative Loss would be reduced if a policyholder has other policies that have made a gain. For more information see How does offsetting work?

 

Why are AWP and CWP policyholders paid a pro rata amount of 22.4%?

The pro-rata has been set at 22.4% following the advice of the Independent Commission on Equitable Life Payments. This is to be fair to taxpayers as well as policyholders.

Why are you covering WPA losses in full, when AWP and CWP policyholders only get 22.4%?

Given the pressures on public spending, the Government has decided that this is the fairest way to allocate the funds available. Policyholders who held WPAs have been unable to withdraw from this type of policy, which means they are trapped in policies that are providing a declining income in their retirement.

What is a Relative Loss or Gain?

This is the figure used to measure the loss each policy has made. Essentially, it is the difference between the actual returns received, or expected to be received, from Equitable Life and the returns that would have been received if the investment had been made in a similar product with a comparable company. For more information see What do you mean by the 'comparable fund?

  • If the value of the Equitable Life policy is less than it would have been with a comparable company, the policy would be deemed to have made a Relative Loss.
  • If the value of the Equitable Life policy is greater than it would have been with a comparable company, the policy would be deemed to have made a Relative Gain.

Policies may have made a Relative Loss or a Relative Gain, depending on how they performed compared to similar products with comparable companies. Only those policies that have made a Relative Loss will receive a payment. If the payment due on your policy (or across all policies if you have more than one) is less than £10, you will not receive a payment. This is to avoid disproportionate administration costs. If an individual has more than one eligible AWP or CWP policy, any Relative Gains will be offset against any Relative Losses.

See also How does offsetting work?

How is Relative Loss calculated for WPA Policies?

The WPA Relative Loss is calculated by comparing the annuity payments policyholders would have received or are expected to receive from a comparable policy, with the payments they actually received or would be expected to receive from the Equitable Life policy.

So Relative Loss = comparable payout – Equitable Life (actual) payout

The Relative Loss may include past losses and future losses. Broadly speaking, past losses are those suffered between 1 January 1993 and 31 December 2009, and future losses are those that the policyholder continues to suffer (since 1 January 2010).

  • Past losses are the difference between the actual payout received between 1 January 1993 and 31 December 2009 and the annuity payments that a sample of similar with-profits companies would have paid on similar products. The comparable products were chosen from alternative companies offering WPA policies (during the period in question) in which policyholders might have invested had they not chosen Equitable Life.
  • To calculate future losses, it is necessary to make assumptions about future bonus rates beyond 31 December 2009, so the actual and comparable payouts are estimated annuity payments that are assumed to be paid after 31 December 2009.

See also What do you mean by the 'comparable fund'?

How does offsetting work?

The Scheme follows the principle of offsetting in which, for policyholders with multiple policies, Relative Gains will be offset against Relative Losses wherever practicable. This means that:

  • If a policyholder has multiple AWP and CWP policies then gains and losses on these policies will be offset against each other in their final Relative Loss calculation.
  • For WPA policies, where a policyholder has both past gains and estimated future losses, the past gains will be offset against these future losses. In practice this will mean that payments will not begin until the cumulative future losses accrued exceed the value of the past gain.
  • Gains made by one annuitant will not be offset against any losses accrued by a separate annuitant within a single policy.
  • If a policyholder has both WPA policies and AWP or CWP policies then, in accordance with HM Government's decision to cover the full Relative Losses on WPA policies, offsetting will be applied in the following way:
    1. where a WPA policyholder has gains on their annuity or annuities, but no future losses, these gains will offset any losses suffered on any non-Group scheme AWP or CWP policies held by the same policyholder; but
    2. any gains made by a policyholder on an AWP or CWP policy will not be offset against any WPA losses they have suffered (as losses on WPA policies are to be paid out in full).

There are some cases where offsetting will not be possible or where its application would be unfair:

  • Where the recipient of a Scheme payment is not the policyholder, it would be unfair to offset one individual's gains against another's losses. Instead the payments to each payee will be calculated individually, with no offsetting between those payees.

Due to the nature of the data on individual members of Group policies, it is not practicable to match members of Group schemes with any other individual policies they hold, or any benefits they are entitled to within a different Group scheme.

What do you mean by the 'comparable fund'?

The comparable fund is the notional policy that you could have held instead of your Equitable Life policy, if you had followed the same investment strategy with a similar product in a comparable company’s With-Profits fund, during the same time period.

To calculate the value of the comparable fund, the Scheme looks at a range of alternative With-Profits companies that offered the appropriate mix of With-Profits business over the period in question. The value of the comparable fund is used to calculate your Relative Loss, which is the difference in value between the comparable fund and your fund, before adding any interest to your fund.

Are payments from the Scheme subject to tax?

Payments that the Scheme authorises are not subject to UK Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, or (in the case of companies) Corporation Tax. This means you don’t need to declare them to HM Revenue & Customs. These authorised payments include:

  • all direct payments made to those the Scheme identifies as payees
  • Scheme payments by Group scheme Trustees to their members under the Scheme
  • payments from trusts to beneficiaries of the trust will retain their tax-free status where the beneficiary is entitled as of right to receive the payment under the terms of the trust.

The following do not count as authorised payments and as such, will be subject to the usual tax treatment:

  • payments made by the trustees in exercise of a power or discretion given to them by the trust deed are not authorised payments, as they do not directly flow from the receipt of the payment. They will therefore be subject to the usual tax treatment for such payments
  • any other passing on of a Scheme payment.

Furthermore, payments made through the Scheme will not affect recipients’ eligibility for child or working tax credits. For the purposes of social security and social care, the payments will be classed as income (for With-Profits Annuity payments) or as capital (for non With-Profits Annuity payments), and will affect eligibility in the same way as any other change to their income or capital.

Payments from trusts to their beneficiaries will not affect the beneficiary's eligibility for child or working tax credits where the beneficiary is entitled to receive the payment under the terms of the trust.

The following will not be subject to Inheritance Tax:

  • payments to estates of those who die before receipt of payment;
  • the value of Trustees' rights to an anticipated payment, with regard to the 10 year anniversary charge.

The following will be subject to Inheritance Tax in the normal way:

  • payments to living policyholders (because they will form part of their estate);
  • payments made to a trust.

How will I receive my payment?

When can I expect a payment?

Individual (non-company pension scheme) policyholders

The Scheme has used a rigorous process to verify the addresses for all eligible individual policyholders and has now contacted all the With-Profits Annuitants (WPA) and non-WPA policyholders it can trace.

If you think you have an eligible individual but have not yet received a letter from the Scheme, please contact the Scheme directly as soon as possible on 0300 0200 150, quoting your full name, address and your Equitable Life policy number. The Scheme will advise you if your policy is eligible and tell you the next steps you should take.

If you are eligible and have sent documentation as evidence of identity to the Scheme, you will be sent a warrant for payment as soon as this has been verified and processed by the Scheme.

Group (company pension) scheme members

As of 31 December 2013, the Scheme had made 305,956 payments totalling £110m to those who bought their policy through their company pension scheme.

Over the past months the Scheme has been writing to trustees of Group (company pension) schemes as Equitable Life did not hold contact details for most Group scheme members. We now have data sharing agreements with trustees and administrators that cover around 95% of company pension scheme members and have received addresses for over 65% of members.

When the Scheme has received contact details for those members who are due a payment, it will send a letter to them with a statement explaining the value of the payment and the approximate date when it will be sent. For additional information, please see I havenít heard from the Scheme, what should I do?

How will I be paid?

AWP and CWP policyholders will receive any payment due to them in a lump sum. Where possible, an individual who is due payments on multiple AWP or CWP policies will receive all of their payments in a single lump sum.

WPA policyholders, in most cases, will receive their entitlement for losses accrued prior to 31 December 2009 in five equal annual payments and for losses accrued after 31 December 2009 through regular annual payments, one year in arrears. Payments will be made annually for policies that have at least one surviving annuitant. First payments will be made by warrant, provided the policyholder can be identified and traced. Thereafter payments are scheduled to be made annually by bank transfer in May each year.

Payments for each policyholder's past losses (i.e. losses up until 31 December 2009) will be evenly spread over a five year period. Future losses (i.e. losses made from 1 January 2010) will be paid in regular instalments one year in arrears over the lifetime of the policyholder. The first future loss payment will accompany the first past loss payment (except where there have been past or future gains which are to be offset against future losses). Where applicable, past and future losses will be paid as a combined sum. The split will be shown in letters sent to policyholders.

Group scheme policyholders who are due a payment will receive a single “lump sum” payment. This will be a separate payment from any AWP, CWP or WPA payments they may receive.

For more information about policies bought overseas see I bought my policy overseas. How does that affect my payment?

Why arenít you paying WPA policyholder losses as a lump sum?

Making regular payments mirrors the income WPA policyholders would have received from their Equitable Life policy. Paying WPA past losses more quickly would "eat into" the funds available for other policyholders. It also enables the Government to continue funding payments beyond the current Spending Review period.

Are there any exceptions to the payment process for WPAs?

If there are difficulties tracing a policyholder that continue after the end of the first year of the Scheme, then any payments that have been “missed” will be rolled up into the first payment when it is made.

If a WPA policy is written with a guaranteed payment period or a fixed term payment period, the payment of losses follows the structure of the policy. For a fixed term policy, this means that payment of future losses would be made annually until the end of the fixed term, or, on death of the policyholder, the outstanding fixed term future losses would be paid as a lump sum to the estate, assuming there is no surviving second annuitant on the policy. If a policyholder dies before the end of the guarantee period, outstanding future losses would be rolled up and paid to the estate, assuming there is no surviving second annuitant on the policy.

How have you decided who gets paid first?

The Scheme accepted the principles recommended by the Independent Commission on Equitable Life Payments. Essentially, the Scheme aimed to:

  • start to make payments to With-Profits annuitants before the end of June 2012
  • prioritise the oldest AWP and CWP policyholders for earlier payment wherever practicable
  • prioritise the estates of deceased policyholders, as the tracing process is likely to take some time

In addition, wherever it is possible or practicable to do so, the oldest policyholders are to be prioritised for payment. As the Scheme makes payments to more complex cases, again those over 75 are paid first.

For details on how the Scheme is putting these commitments into practice, please see the January 2013 progress report.

Can I get my money any sooner, on grounds of hardship?

Regardless of circumstances, payments cannot be brought forward for any reason. The Scheme will make all reasonable efforts to avoid unnecessary delays in making payments.

I have already received a payment but recently I received a letter telling me my policy is not due a payment. Why?

The Scheme may contact you separately about different policies you hold. This includes cases where policyholders hold multiple policies where offsetting does not occur.

For more information about offsetting, see How does offsetting work?

Please check which policy your correspondence relates to by comparing the policy numbers.

 

How will you confirm the identity of payees?

The Scheme may ask you to provide certified copies of original documents in a number of circumstances, for example in the event of:

  • a request for an eligibility check or recalculation
  • a change of name or address
  • the death of one or more named individual on a policy
  • implementation of a Power of Attorney

Where records of address and identity are incomplete, the Scheme may ask you to provide proof of address and identity. A full list of documents that can be used can be found here.

Which documents can be used as proof of address and/or identity?

Where proof of identity is required you need to send us two different documents - one from each list below:

Proof of identity: list of acceptable documents

  • current, valid full passport (certified copies must show nationality, place and date of birth, passport number, expiry date, photograph and signature)
  • current, valid full UK photo-card driving licence with signature or ‘old style’ driving licence
  • current, valid UK photo-card provisional licence
  • Northern Ireland Voter’s Card showing your current address
  • Armed Forces ID Card
  • Residence permit showing your full name and current address. This is issued by the Home Office to non-EU Nationals on sight of your own country’s passport.
  • firearms certificate or shotgun licence
  • HM Revenue & Customs (Inland Revenue) tax document eg tax assessment, statement of account, notice of coding. It must contain your full name and current address. P45s and P60s are not acceptable
  • original notification letter from the relevant benefits agency confirming the right to benefits or state pension

Proof of address: list of acceptable documents

  • household utility bill (eg gas, electric, water or fixed line telephone but not a mobile phone bill). It must be no more than three months old and show your name and current address
  • current, valid full UK photo-card driving licence with signature or ‘old style’ driving licence. Provisional licences are not acceptable as proof of address
  • bank, building society or credit card statement. It must be no more than three months old and show your name and current address
  • local authority tax bill (eg council tax) valid for the current year
  • local authority rent book
  • solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation (in this case, proof of previous address will also be needed)
  • HM Revenue & Customs (Inland Revenue) tax document eg tax assessment, statement of account, notice of coding. It must contain your full name and current address. P45s and P60s are not acceptable
  • original notification letter from the relevant benefits agency confirming the right to benefits or state pension
  • Northern Ireland Voter’s Card showing your current address

For valuable documents such as passports or driving licences, you may prefer to send us certified copies rather than the original documents. However, if you do send us the original documents rather than certified copies, we recommend you use recorded delivery.

If you are unable to send us any documents from the lists above, we will consider other documents showing your name and current address provided they are from a recognised company or organisation and have been issued within the last 12 months.

I live abroad Ė why canít someone in the UK certify my documents?

Evidence of Identity documents for foreign policy holders must be certified by an approved certifier in the same country of residence as you.

How do you decide which person will receive payment for a policy?

The policyholder will not always be the payee (i.e. the person that receives Scheme payments). This is because, in a number of cases, the person who took out the policy or paid premiums in connection with it is not the person who has suffered a Relative Loss.

For single life WPA policies, payment will be made to the 'annuitant', that is, the person that holds the policy. If the annuitant dies, his or her estate will receive this payment.

If the policy has been assigned to a particular individual then that individual will receive payment.

For joint life policies:

  • The first person named on the policy will be the payee for losses incurred on annuity payments he or she has received. If the first annuitant has died, his or her estate becomes the payee;
  • The second person named on the policy will be the payee for losses on annuity payments he or she has received during the time from the death of the first annuitant to the termination of the policy.
  •  

    For losses incurred on annuity payments due after both annuitants have died (i.e., if there was an outstanding guarantee or fixed term), the estate of the most recently deceased becomes the payee.

    For AWP and CWP policies, the payee is identified according to these criteria:

    • where policies have been permanently assigned, the permanent assignee is the payee.
    • where policies are held under trust, the Trustee is the payee. If this payee has died, an alternative Trustee becomes the payee.
    • for FSAVC policies, the payee is the life assured on the policy.
    • for School Fee Trust Plan policies, the payee is the contributor to the policy.

    For joint life policies where there are two lives assured, the payee is:

    • while both lives assured are alive, the first named life on the policy
    • where one life assured has died, the surviving life assured
    • where both lives assured have died, the estate of the most recently deceased.
    • For all other AWP or CWP policies that have not become claims, the payee is the policyholder.
    • For all other AWP or CWP policies that have become claims, the payee is the person who was the policyholder at the date of the claim.

    For information about identifying Group scheme payees, see How do you decide who receives payment for Group schemes?

Can you change the name listed for the policyholder and/or person receiving payment?

Yes, but only if the name of that individual has changed. The Scheme cannot make the payment to another person or to an institution. If you have changed your name, please call us on 0300 0200 150 for details of how to send us proof of your identity. When the Scheme has received this, it can update your payment details.

For deceased policyholders, please see Who will receive payment if the policyholder has died?

How do you identify estates of deceased policyholders?

For those policyholders who have died before the Scheme began, the Scheme identifies their estates by conducting in-depth tracing and data checking. This is because the Scheme does not have complete and up to date information on which policyholders are deceased, nor does it have contact details for all estates. This process can take some time in the case of estates that have already closed, but it is being completed as quickly as possible.

Payments to the estates of those policyholders who die during the lifetime of the Scheme, but before receipt of payment, are being prioritised where the Scheme is informed of the policyholder's death. However, the Scheme is not conducting tracing and data checking of such estates, so executors or administrators of these estates are advised to contact the Scheme.

If you are the executor or administrator of the estate of an eligible policyholder, but have not yet heard from the Scheme, it is advisable to telephone the ‘Policychecker’ service in order to confirm the eligibility of the policy in question. This service can be accessed on 0300 0200 150. Once the policy’s eligibility has been confirmed, please contact the Scheme as soon as possible, quoting the name and address of the policyholder and the Equitable Life policy number. You will then be advised of the next steps to take.

Who will receive payment if the policyholder has died?

Where the payee on a policy has died (unless specified below) his or her estate becomes the payee. In practice this means making payment to the executor or administrator of the estate.

For single life policies, if the policyholder dies during the five year period in which payments for past loss are being made, the estate of the policyholder will then receive the remainder of any unpaid past loss and any remaining unpaid future loss, to date of death (or fixed guarantee term), as a lump sum.

For joint life policies, if the first annuitant on the policy dies, the estate of the first annuitant will receive the remainder of any unpaid past loss and any remaining unpaid accrued future loss as a lump sum. If there is a surviving second annuitant for whom future losses then start to accrue, the payment of these losses will begin to be paid to the second annuitant one year in arrears. On the death of the second annuitant, any remaining unpaid future losses will be paid to the estate of that annuitant.

Executors and administrators of estates that are to receive a payment will be traced and contacted as a matter of priority. In the majority of cases it is expected that this contact will enable the Scheme to make payment to the executor or administrator, but there may be some cases where this is not possible. These will be resolved on a case-by-case basis. Where there are difficulties tracing estates initially, it may take longer to contact executors and administrators.

The Scheme is not tracing the estates of those eligible policyholders who die during the lifetime of the Scheme but before receipt of payment. Executors or administrators of these estates are advised to contact the Scheme to ensure that any payment can be made successfully to the policyholder’s estate.

The Scheme will not seek to trace and contact estates of policyholders who are not due to receive a payment.

Why are payments made by warrant?

A warrant works like a cheque. It is one of HM Government's standard methods of payment, and NS&I currently sends out over 13 million payments by warrant every year. The Scheme has chosen warrants for making payments to policyholders for reasons of efficiency and security. On receiving a warrant by post, you should pay it into your bank within 3 months, as you would a cheque.

The Scheme is unable to pay £ sterling AWP and CWP policyholders by bank transfer, as they are one-off payments. The Scheme would need to collect your bank details to achieve this, which would add to administration costs and risk potential delays to the way all payments are made across the Scheme. The Scheme has chosen the most cost effective way to make all the payments as quickly as possible.

I bought my policy overseas. How does that affect my payment?

If you bought your policy in a foreign currency, i.e., pre-Euro currencies, Euros or US Dollars, then your Relative Loss has been calculated in the currency in which it was bought and then converted into pounds sterling using the exchange rates applicable at 31 December 2009. This is the amount we will pay you in the form of a pounds sterling warrant if you are due a payment from the Scheme.

If you live outside the UK but bought your policy in £ Sterling, you will receive a £ Sterling warrant if you are due a payment.

If you hold a With Profits Annuity (WPA) policy, we will pay any regular annual payments you are due by £ Sterling warrant.  For more information on WPA payments please see How will WPA policyholders be paid?.

We have decided to pay policyholders with foreign currency policies or who live outside the UK by £ sterling warrant, rather than electronically, in order to make these payments more quickly.  This means we do not have to verify your bank account details in order to send your payment and, if you have a foreign currency policy, there is no need for the Sterling amount to be converted into either Euros or US dollars before your payment is made.   You can also choose the most convenient and cost effective method to cash your warrant, for example choosing to bank the warrant in Sterling in a UK bank account or in your choice of currency, as you bear the cost of banking  any payment that you receive from the Scheme.

 

I have a query about my statement, what should I do?

If you cannot find the answer to your question on this site or in the The Equitable Life Payment Scheme design document then you can contact the Scheme. Contact details are available here.

The Scheme will be able to address some general queries and complaints at the call centre, but may ask you to submit more complex ones in writing. The Scheme is unable to give out personal details over the telephone. If any of the information on the statement such as name, address or policy number is wrong, then please inform the Scheme as soon as possible. However, if you think the payment has been wrongly calculated, please be aware that the Scheme can only recalculate your payment where the original Equitable Life records were inaccurate. The Scheme cannot alter the method used to calculate your payment, so there will not be an opportunity to recalculate the payment amount if the Scheme rules have been correctly applied to your Relative Loss and payment calculations.

Information about Group (company pension) schemes.

I am the trustee of an eligible Group scheme and I have not heard from the Scheme Ė what should I do?

If you are a trustee and have not heard from the Scheme, please write to the Scheme or phone the helpline. Contact details are available here

I am a member of a Group (company pension) scheme - how do I know if my policy is eligible for the Scheme?

You are eligible for the Equitable Life Payment Scheme if you hold, or have held, an Equitable Life Accumulating With-Profits (AWP) Group scheme policy (or policies) that either started between 1 September 1992 and 31 December 2000 inclusive, or had at least one premium paid into it between 1 January 1993 and 31 December 2000.

If you are unsure whether a policy you hold, or have held, is eligible for the Scheme, please telephone the Scheme’s policychecker service on 0300 0200 150.

How is Relative Loss calculated for Group schemes?

Relative Loss on Group scheme policies is calculated in the same way as for individual policyholders, but with the following exceptions:

  • Where someone has one or more AWP or CWP eligible individual policy and is also part of a Group scheme policy, then the Group policy will be treated separately to the AWP and CWP policies.
  • Where a policyholder has made a Relative Loss on a WPA policy, but has one or more AWP, CWP or Group scheme policies that have made a net Relative Gain, then Relative Gains on non WPA policies will not be used to offset Relative Losses on WPA policies.
  • If more than one Group policy is held by an individual within the same Group scheme, then offsetting will occur. More information about offsetting is available here. However, due to the nature of the data on individual members of Group policies, it is not practicable to match members of Group schemes with any other individual policies they hold, or any benefits they are entitled to within a different Group scheme. In these cases offsetting will not be applied.

More information on Relative Loss is available here.

The Scheme will inform each Group scheme’s Trustee of any members who are not due a payment, and leave it to the Trustee’s discretion as to how (or if) to inform their members. The Scheme will not directly contact members of Group schemes who are not due a payment.

How do you decide who receives payment for Group schemes?

Policyholders will not necessarily always be the payees, i.e. the individuals that receive Scheme payments. This is because, in a number of cases, they will not be the individuals who have suffered a Relative Loss. The Scheme has the following criteria for identifying the appropriate payee for Group policies:

  • for Defined Benefit schemes, the Trustees of the Group scheme are the payees;
  • for Defined Contribution schemes, the individual members of those Group schemes are the payees, except where Equitable Life has no records of the individual members within the Group scheme. In this situation, the Trustees of the Group scheme will be the payees. The Trustee will act as a paying agent to the individual members of the Group scheme and they must hold the authorised payment separately from the actual pension fund.

Furthermore, where a person who would have been due a payment is deceased, the Scheme will be making payments to that person’s estate.

When will I hear more?

Individual (non-company pension scheme) policyholders

Individual (non-company pension scheme) policyholders who have not yet heard from the Scheme should write in or call the policy checker service on 0300 0200 150 when they will be instructed on the next steps to take. Please have any policy number(s) to hand before calling.

If you need to find out your policy number, please call Equitable Life Client Servicing Centre on 0845 603 6771 between 9am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. Charges for 0845 numbers may vary. Mobile phones typically cost more than landlines, so please contact your network provider for details of these costs.

Group (company pension) scheme members

Over the past months the Scheme has been writing to Trustees of Group (company pension) schemes as Equitable Life did not hold contact details for most Group scheme members. We now have data sharing agreements with trustees and administrators that cover around 95% of company pension scheme members and have received address data for over 65%.

When the Scheme has received contact details for those members who are due a payment, it will send a letter to them with a statement explaining the value of the payment and the approximate date when it will be sent.

Where no Relative Loss has been made, or where Relative Loss is less than £10, the Scheme will not contact individual members. Instead, the Scheme will inform the Group Trustee and leave it to the Trusteeís discretion as to whether to inform their members. The Scheme will also not contact members of Group schemes who are not eligible for the Equitable Life Payment Scheme.

You can check if your Group (company pension) scheme is eligible on the A-Z list of Group schemes. Not all policies within a listed Group scheme are eligible under the Scheme rules. You can check your policyís eligibility by calling the policy checker service on 0300 022 150. Please have your policy number(s) to hand before calling.

Have you taken over as the Trustee of my Group scheme policy?

No. The Scheme is only administering the payments made under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme. Your Group scheme policy will continue to be managed by its Trustee.

I have questions about my Group scheme policy. Who do I contact?

For questions that relate specifically to your Group scheme policy, or to register a change of name or address, please contact your Group Trustee or Administrator. As Equitable Life does not hold current details for members of Group schemes, we are working with administrators and Trustees to obtain this information. If you are a member of a defined contribution scheme and due a payment, your scheme’s Trustee will confirm your details to us and we will contact you direct.

Contacting the Scheme

How do I contact the Scheme?

The best way to contact the Scheme about your case is to write to them at:

Equitable Life Payment Scheme

PO Box 4110

Glasgow

G58 1EL

 

Please quote your full name, address and your Equitable Life policy number in all correspondence. Your policy number will be on all correspondence from Equitable Life.

However, if you think you have an eligible individual (i.e. non-group) policy but have not yet received a letter from the Scheme, it is advisable to first confirm that your policy is eligible for the Scheme by telephoning the Scheme’s “Policychecker” service on 0300 0200 150.

The Scheme will be able to address some general queries over the telephone, but for reasons of policyholder security, we ask that, for more detailed questions about your policy, you contact the Scheme in writing.

Further contact information is available here.

How do I register a complaint?

If you have a complaint about the way the Scheme’s rules have been applied or how the Scheme has handled your case, you should write to the Scheme’s Complaints Department with details of your complaint at this address:

Complaints Department

Equitable Life Payment Scheme

PO Box 4110

Glasgow

G58 1EL

 

The Scheme will acknowledge the complaint within 5 working days and aim to resolve the complaint within 8 weeks. A full investigation of the problem you have raised will be carried out and the Scheme will write to you to let you know the outcome.

If you are unhappy with the outcome and the Scheme can assist you no further in resolving the complaint, you may request the Independent Review Panel to consider your case. The Independent Review Panel provides a final review process to people who have not been able to resolve their complaint through the Scheme’s complaints process.

You will receive an Independent Review Panel Referral Number and a form to complete to send to the Review Panel. The Review Panel will then correspond with you directly. The Independent Review Panel cannot consider your case until you have completed the Equitable Life Payment Scheme complaints process and all contact with the Panel must be in writing.

Click here to visit the Independent Review Panel Website.

How will you keep people informed of the progress of the Scheme?

The Scheme publishes regular progress reports on this website. The latest is available here.

Progress has been and will continue to be tracked and evaluated throughout the lifetime of the Scheme. In relation to management of contracts, operations and risks, the Government will give Parliament updates on the progress of the Scheme.

What is the role of NS&I?

National Savings and Investments (NS&I) has been chosen by HM Treasury to process payments and services for the Equitable Life Payment Scheme. This decision was taken as NS&I, through its outsourced partner Atos, provides similar banking services to its customers, and so can provide a cost effective service to the taxpayer. As part of a modernisation programme NS&I outsourced its 'back office' and customer facing operations to Siemens IT Solutions and Services in 1999. On 1 July 2011, Atos acquired Siemens IT Solutions and Services.

NS&I cannot give advice or information on individual cases for the Scheme. It has no influence on the amount paid. The records for Equitable Life policyholders are secure and kept separately from those of NS&I customers.

Payments made from the Scheme are from a separate Government funding source and have no link to, or effect on, NS&I's savings business or interest rates.