Insurance firm traces £14 million in lost policies

Royal London – Britain’s biggest mutual, life and investment firm – has reunited 36,000 clients with £14 million worth of policies they had forgotten even existed.

The firm spent £2 million tracking down the owners of so-called ‘penny policies’ taken out years ago, many sold by firms which Royal London has since taken over.

Sold door to door

Penny policies were sold door to door by insurance agents between the 1920s and 1960s and included life insurance, savings and endowment policies.

The premiums were very small – just pennies – and collected on a weekly or monthly basis.

They were designed as long term investments, designed to pay out 50 or 60 years after the client took them on.

The proceeds were often used to help with retirement, care or funeral costs or were paid out to a relative on death.

Still live

The policies were sold by United Friendly, Refuge Assurance and Royal Liver which are now all part of the Royal London brand.

They would have been issued with paper documents and possibly a premium book which was stamped by the agent each time cash was collected.

However, over the years the insurer has lost track of some of its clients as no claims were made on the policies and no additional premiums were paid.

Spokesman Jon Glen said: “Reuniting customers with money that is rightfully theirs is a priority for us. Many policyholders paid premiums for years but for various reasons have lost touch.

Get in touch

“Through our tracing programme we have successfully reunited thousands of customers with a total of £14 million in lost policies and we encourage anyone who thinks they may have had a policy with Royal London, or any of the historical brands we have acquired over the years, to get in touch with us.”

“For those customers who haven’t yet been traced, the funds will always be available for payment when the policyholder either comes forward or is found. If you remember setting up a policy many years ago or recall the insurance man knocking on the door please get in touch via

A team of experts will be happy to help you locate the policy.

Not alone

Royal London are not alone in holding millions of pounds for long lost clients.

LV=, formerly Liverpool Victoria, believe they hold more than a million forgotten penny policies which could be worth as much as £500 each to anyone able to claim on them.

Old policy

Managing director John Perks said: “If you think you or a loved one might have had an old policy, and you haven’t heard from us for a while, you could still be a member and could be owed some money.

“Have a look back through old documents, check with your family members if they could have been members, and if you find relevant information, then come and speak to us.

Either call us on 0800 756 8572 or fill in a claim form at our online lost premiums site.”

Still more

Prudential believes it has four million old penny policies which no longer have premiums paid into them.

Britannic Assurance says it has 800,000, Pearl and Scottish Legal Life both say they have ‘hundreds of thousands’ still on the books.