Old Mutual Pensioners mull Court Action

PENSIONERS covered by Old Mutual are considering taking the insurance giant to court in a bid to force the retirement fund organisation to pay them their pensions.

This comes in the wake of reports that Old Mutual had sought approval from the Commissioner of Insurance to start paying pension in foreign currency — a move that pensioners says is a deliberate effort to delay payments.
However, instead of consulting the Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds on a figure to pay, it emerged this week that Old Mutual wrote to its clients that it would pay monthly pensions.
Officials at the Commissioner of Insurance’s office on Wednesday told businessdigest that Old Mutual had taken a wrong channel on the issue.
“Old Mutual, which I believe is part of the Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds was supposed to consult first before rushing to notify it clients,” an official said.
“The normal channel is that all pensions schemes should forward proposals to the association and a uniform figure be determined. But in this instance Old Mutual skipped protocol and took the wrong channel,” said the official.
Early this month Old Mutual wrote to its clients informing them that it had introduced two payment schemes.
Under the proposal, pensioners with pensions of less than US$20 per month were to be paid a one off lump sum while those above US$20 should have been paid on a monthly basis.
Payments would have commenced 14 days after the letters were sent to clients but they were allegedly advised to stop payments by the Commissioner of Insurance, Old Mutual claimed.
It is understood that a meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday to address the issue.
Both the Commissioner of Insurance Manett Mpofu and Old Mutual Managing Director, Luke Ngwerume, were not available for comment yesterday.
However, pensioners now claim that Old Mutual might not be in a sound financial position to pay in foreign currency.
David Frost, a pensioner with Old Mutual under a contributory fund said legal action could be the last resort.
“Should Old Mutual offer to pay pensions that are unacceptably low, then legal action against Old Mutual staff pensions fund and Old Mutual as underwriters should be taken,” he said.

BY NQOBILE BHEBHE

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