Consumer Ass’n. Abandons AXA Appeal

January 12, 2001

The British Consumers’ Association announced that it would not appeal a court ruling that approved AXA’s plans to distribute a portion of its “orphan assets” to policyholders, while retaining the major portion for the company and its subsidiaries.

AXA won the High Court’s approval for its plan in December, and the CA’s decision clears the way for the company to begin distributing an estimated £1.7 billion ($2.53 billion) in unclaimed and excess funds. Approximately 31 percent will go to current policyholders, who will each receive around £400 ($600).

A spokesman for the CA cautioned that the group would continue to press insurers to treat policyholders fairly, but in view of the fact that AXA had received approvals from an independent actuary, the Financial Services Authority and the High Court, a successful appeal was unlikely.

A number of other U.K. life and pension insurers have similar orphan assets and have followed AXA’s distribution plan with great interest. The U.K.’s largest, Prudential, is estimated to be holding around £7 billion ($10.43 billion), and the funds may total as high as £20 billion ($29.8 billion).

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