Equitable members to get just a fifth of losses

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The Independent Online

Equitable Life policyholders were told yesterday that they will receive only about a fifth of the money they lost when the insurer collapsed.

About 1.1 million policyholders will receive a "pro-rata" allocation of 22.4 per cent of their losses as compensation for government maladministration. Ministers said they had accepted the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Equitable Life on how to divide a compensation fund.

About 100,000 people will get nothing because their compensation would be only £10 – less than the administration costs. The Government had previously said 37,000 "with-profits" annuitants, who are trapped at the society, would be compensated for their losses in full, with the money paid in regular instalments for the rest of their lives.

That decision left about £775m of the £1.5bn allocated for compensation to be shared out among the remaining one million policyholders. The fund was established only after a noisy public campaign supported by the likes of the actress Honor Blackman.

But the Equitable Members Action Group said: "This amounts to only 15 per cent of what victims have actually lost. We are digging in for a long campaign to get the rest. This will do nothing to restore any confidence in the security of people's pensions."

Losses will be assessed on a per policyholder, rather than a per policy, basis, and the payments will not be means-tested. Compensation will be paid to the oldest policyholders first.

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