Insurers making mistakes on pension claims, says Dutch watchdog
NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has called on pension insurers to review their administrative processes after a survey suggested the registered amounts quite often fail to reflect actual pension claims.
The watchdog said its survey of insurers of collective pension schemes showed the differences were often based on errors and miscalculations that could benefit or disadvantage participants.
"However," DNB spokesman Cees Verhagen added, "this is about principles and accuracy - the insurers must have their figures right."
The DNB attributed the discrepancies in part to the increasing complexity of pension plans and subsequent legal adjustments.
It said a large number of mutations during a long-term pension accrual - as well as the integration of administrations following mergers of insurance companies - were also to blame for inaccurate figures.
The DNB said it asked the insurers involved to draw up a plan showing how they would solve the problem in the short term.
The regulator's survey also found that source documents are not always kept for the minimum required period of seven years.
It recommended a cross-check of registered pension claims at crucial moments, such as retirement and value transfer, as long as the integral check of files had not yet been completed.
The DNB study looked not only at the administrative processes of insurers, but also the effectiveness of their infrastructure.
Officials at the DNB stressed that the importance of correct figures had increased since the recent start of the digital Pension Register.
They published a similar survey of the administration of pension claims at pension funds earlier this year.
The Dutch Association of Insurers (VvV) said it acknowledged that the administration of individual pension claims could be improved and said the insurers had already put in place programmes to rectify the problem.
Paul Koopman, spokesman at the VvV, said: "The six large pension insurers in particular are putting lots of funds and energy into improving their infrastructure."
The improvements must have been implemented within 2-3 years, he added.
According to the VvV, there are approximately 30 pension insurers in the Netherlands.