Life Assurance Claims

by John N M Nyaga
(Nairobi, Kenya)

Life policies, just like any other insurance policy, provide compensation upon a pre-agreed event, in this case upon maturity (for endowment policies), and death for whole life, term and endowment policies.

An endowment policy is one that has a maturity date and the policyholder withdraws their money plus the interest accrued upon maturity or death whichever occurs first. It could be for five, ten or fifteen years. It is currently the commonest policy in the market.

A term assurance policy pays only upon death of the insured person(s). It is most popular with lenders, employers and other parties where insurable interest only exists for a limited time. In consideration of the large numbers involved and the short period that the insurer is on cover, it is relatively cheaper than the other policies.

A whole life policy pays to the estate of the insured only upon his/her death. It is basically a cushion policy in the event that the breadwinner passes on so that the dependants do not suffer financially.

Death Claims

The claimant writes to the insurer reporting the death and provides the proof of death in form of death certificate. Exhumation may be necessary where suspicions arise. Further, the claimant should prove title by producing: -

  • The original policy document (where cover was on the life of another person)
  • Assignment document where the policy has been assigned (the rights accruing have been transferred) to another person
  • Trustee deed and policy document where the proceeds are payable to a trustee
  • A grant where cover was on the deceased own life. The grant could be a grant of probate meaning the deceased had left a valid will, or grant of letters of administration where there is no valid will.

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