We miss a hug. A handshake. But in order to get back to all our favourite things, there’s just one little thing we need to do: stay home and stay safe. That’s why the Motsepe family and companies associated with them, including Sanlam, have pledged R1 billion to help South Africa.
As a Sanlam client, we want to help you remain informed and protected. Now, more than ever, your financial planner is here to assist you and guide your financial decisions – so make contact digitally or telephonically if you need to. Please refer to our FAQs and our holding statement to find out what you are covered for and how to claim. For more answers to your questions, please fill in the form below. We are here to help you.
You may be concerned about the impact that COVID-19 is having on global financial markets and on your retirement savings. Sanlam wants to help you navigate this challenging time.
Whether you’ve seen your investment values tumble, you’re worried about retirement, you’ve lost your income, or you’re wondering what is happening to your nest egg at the moment, we’re here to answer your questions.
For vital tips, advice and relevant FAQs, see our essential guide to successfully navigating your retirement in the current circumstances.
Rising costs and increasing debt have put South Africans under immense financial pressure, and the onset of COVID-19 has made this even more acute.
More than half of credit-active consumers in South Africa are in arrears and many are trapped in a debt spiral. Struggling with debt means cutting down on expenses, insurance and savings, and can impact one’s prospects of creating wealth.
Sanlam’s new Credit Solutions offer provides a free online tool to help you understand your credit profile so that you can be guided to make the necessary changes to help you reach your financial goals. We also give you free access to a credit management coach who will help you take the required steps to improve your credit score.
There's never been a better time to understand your credit profile. Simply register to receive your free monthly credit dashboard.
27 March 2020
Dear Sanlam client & partner
The reality of the global spread and impact of the Coronavirus and COVID-19 confronted us squarely on Monday evening when President Ramaphosa addressed the nation, announcing the unprecedented lockdown of the whole country, following the first set of emergency measures introduced a week earlier.
This is an action which I believe will go a long way in supporting South Africa... Read more
This is an action which I believe will go a long way in supporting South Africa to prudently and efficiently respond to the rapidly spreading Coronavirus and its impact on our society and on our already flailing economy. The President, the Minister of Health and Government have shown requisite leadership as we navigate this unique global challenge. We are fully behind the decision and we believe the lockdown is the best means available now to “flatten the curve”. To support the economy will require a package of monetary and fiscal stimulus given the challenges faced.
With the health and wellbeing of our staff foremost, we have also implemented significant and carefully considered business continuity plans to ensure that we are able to service our clients in the best way possible under these circumstances. We believe our team has the relevant expertise and resilience to sustain the critical parts of our operations even at this business unusual time. We are able to service our clients in the best way possible.
In his address, President Ramaphosa mentioned essential financial and payment services which will remain open. A number of our services have also been designated in this category. These include, among others:
To this end, I would like to let you now that these areas in our business will continue to operate while we heed as best as we can the measures that have been introduced. The authorities requested that we work off-site versus on-site as far as possible. Therefore, a number of our staff in the areas above will be working remotely. We believe this will further support our business continuity efforts outlined above.
As a responsible corporate citizen, we are actively investigating opportunities to also contribute towards supporting existing activities and initiating new ones to alleviate the impact and spread of this virus and the consequent COVID-19 disease on our clients, our staff, our partners and South Africa, particularly the economy. We will be making a significant announcement over the next few days in this regard.
As a member of the Association for Savings and Investment in SA (ASISA), Business Unity SA and the Business Leadership SA, we are also working together with industry peers on initiatives and provisions that can be made to provide relief to our clients whose financial position has been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We will announce such decisions and initiatives through the industry associations and we will keep you informed as these unfold.
At our annual results presentation a couple of weeks ago, we communicated that in line with the regulatory requirements, Sanlam is very well-capitalised to deal with the shocks that such events may evoke. Our 2019 financial performance was extremely good particularly so on a relative basis given the challenging economic conditions.
You, as a Sanlam client, staff or partner, have our commitment that we will do everything within our capabilities to support you during this challenging episode in our history. At Sanlam we will play an active role in keeping the economy going at this time.
Solidarity will be important for us to remain resilient in the face of this challenge, so our hearts go out to those who have been infected and affected by the Coronavirus and COVID-19.
We appreciate your continued support and commitment to Sanlam. Take care during this time and I wish you and your families well.
Yours sincerely, Ian KirkGroup Chief Executive OfficerSanlam Limited
We are here to assist with any claims or policy related queries or concerns that you may have.
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What are my options if I am struggling to keep up with my premiums because of COVID-19?
Please talk to your Sanlam financial planner to get information on the various options available to you.
Will I be covered for personal loss of income under the Sickness or Disability Income benefits?
The purpose of both Sickness- and Temporary Disability Income benefits is to cover the life insured’s inability to work as the result of an illness or injury. In the spirit of this purpose, Sanlam is extending our assessment of being unable to work, to include being medically isolated on medical advice of a doctor or by government authority, in response to direct or probable contact with COVID-19.
However, these benefits are not designed to cover business interruption as the result of such a lock-down, or general directives from professional bodies that are now recommending the suspension of practicing one’s occupation or certain aspects thereof. That is why governments, worldwide, announce certain measures to ease the financial burden on individuals and business alike in these times. Typically, though, such benefits are focused more on the poorer segments of society, for them to afford essential groceries, medication, etc., or on small business. It can also take the form of changes to taxation.
For the more affluent, business interruption cover can also be a short term insurance product, but then it has to be taken out beforehand of course. It will also be subject to the terms and conditions of those products.
Does contracting COVID-19 automatically present a disability, severe illness or impairment?
No, contracting COVID-19 is not a defined disability, severe illness or impairment. Based on international patterns, most people who are infected will make a full recovery. Should it result in permanent disability or impairment, or a condition listed under our Severe Illness benefit however, this will be assessed under Sanlam’s normal claim definitions for disability, impairment or severe illness.
How will Sanlam review my inability to work or sick leave linked to a COVID-19 claim?
When claiming under the Sickness and/or Temporary Disability benefits, we will review your temporary inability to work or sick leave under the following categories:
*Direct contact as described in the current NICD guidelines.
What does Sanlam require from me to claim for illness, impairment or disability?
It will depend on the specific benefit you have. For our Sickness and Temporary Disability Income benefits, when claiming for sick leave or temporary inability to work as the result of COVID-19, we will require you, your doctor or employer to complete a special COVID-19 form to fast track these claims. For all the other benefits, like Death, Disability, Impairment and Severe Illness benefits the normal claim requirements will apply.
Are there special forms to complete if I want to claim for illness, impairment or disability?
Only for claims for sick leave or temporary inability to work under our Sickness and Temporary Disability Income benefits a special COVID-19 claim form will have to be completed by you, your doctor or employer, based on your specific claim. This will help to ensure that you experience an easier and fast-tracked claims process. You will still need to complete a standard claim form as well.
For all the other benefits the normal claims requirements will apply.
Does Sanlam pay Death and Funeral benefits linked to COVID-19?
Sanlam pays all death claims in line with its normal requirements, regardless of what caused the death. For funeral claims we will, wherever applicable, take into account the waiting period for natural causes which applies for policies taken out recently.
Should I make any changes to my savings and investment plans?
As one can expect, COVID-19 is currently having a negative impact on global financial markets, and the disruption caused will probably continue for a few more months. However, after being impacted by global turmoil previously, the markets have always recovered and will do so again – it may just take some time. It is now more important than ever that you remain level-headed and continue to stay the course on your savings and investment journeys. Making changes to your investment strategy at this stage can result in you not benefiting from investment returns when the market turns upwards again. Please consult with a financial planner before you take any action regarding your savings and investments
Should I rather stop my monthly contributions now and reinstate them again when the markets have recovered?
No. You should not stop any recurring contributions you are making to any savings product. The best way to take advantage of volatile markets is with a recurring contribution product, because with lower average unit prices over a period of time when the market is down, you will be able to buy more units compared to when the market is up. This is referred to as rand-cost averaging. History has shown us that the market will rise and fall over time, so instead of shying away from investing when the market experiences downturns, rather keep making recurring payments to benefit from rand-cost averaging to really get ahead when things improve again. Please consult with a financial planner for more details about this and the options available to you if you cannot temporarily afford your current savings contributions.
Do I have an option to temporarily stop my monthly contributions?
Sanlam Life offers a payment holiday or bridging period on qualifying savings plans to accommodate clients who are experiencing a temporary lack of income and help them retain their plans. This refers to the period of time that we will allow recurring payments to be missed, provided that our requirements at that time are met. It is not necessary for the missed recurring payments to be paid after the payment holiday period has ended. Irrespective of whether a plan qualifies for a payment holiday period or not, reducing the recurring payment amount to an affordable amount is always an option. You can then always increase the payment to the current level (or higher) when you can afford to do so again versus having to reinstate the plan within 12 months (if the plan doesn’t qualify for a payment holiday period). We strongly urge you to speak to a financial planner about your options or send an email to our Client Care Centre (CCC) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that during this time, response time may be slower than normal due to the fact that the CCC is operating with reduced staff, but rest assured that they will definitely respond in due course.
I am worried about suffering further losses. What should I do?
We understand that clients may be scared as they want to protect their savings and not suffer any further losses. History taught us that markets recover from short-term fluctuations, such as the current conditions. Making changes to your investment strategy at this stage can result in you not benefiting from investment returns when the market starts to recover. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when this will happen, but it should be emphasised that saving for retirement is a long-term strategy requiring patience and persistence. Now more than ever, “it is not about timing the market, but about time in the market” is true. Please consult with a financial planner before you take any action regarding your savings and investment plans.
How will my savings be affected by COVID-19?
If you are invested in market-linked portfolios, over the short term, you will most likely experience negative returns. However, history shows it is not uncommon for markets to react negatively and then to recover over the medium to long term. History has also taught us that, in time, there will be a recovery in the financial markets. As one can expect, the current negative impact on global financial markets and the disruption caused will probably continue for many more months. Please consult with a financial planner before you take any action regarding your savings and investment plans.
Is my retirement savings protected against market uncertainties such as that caused by COVID-19?
Retirement fund portfolios are not only invested in equities but are spread across various asset classes – such as bonds, property, cash and international assets – to reduce underlying risk. Your retirement savings are also protected (but not guaranteed) by the limitations of exposure to asset classes enforced by Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act if you are invested in funds that are Regulation 28 compliant. Even if you invest in portfolios which are non-Regulation 28 compliant, it is still a requirement that your portfolio as a whole needs to be Regulation 28 compliant. If you are invested in a lifetime investment option, your monies are moved from high-risk portfolios to lower-risk portfolios as from six years before your normal retirement date. Lower-risk portfolios have less equity exposure, which reduces the impact of the falling markets. The lifetime investment option is constructed using reliable investment principles, which are based on a long-term investment approach. Whether you are invested in a lifetime investment option or have specifically chosen your own investment portfolios, we strongly urge you to consult with a financial adviser, for more details about your current portfolio.
What is Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act?
Regulation 28 gives effect to Section 36(1)(bB) of the Pension Funds Act, which limits the extent to which Retirement Funds (like retirement annuity funds) may be invested in particular kinds or categories of assets by limiting the maximum exposure to more aggressive asset classes when investment fund selections are done. It plays a vital role in trying to ensure that members’ retirement savings provide them with sufficient income in their retirement. The most important Regulation 28 asset class limits are as follows:
*As prescribed by the South African Reserve Bank.
We urge you to consult with a financial planner for advice and assistance to determine the most appropriate investment strategy and portfolio for your retirement savings and your planned post-retirement income strategy.
Must I switch my money to another portfolio to reduce the risk exposure to equity markets?
It is very important not to make any hasty decisions in the moment, based on fear. Switching to a lower-risk portfolio can lead to “locking in losses”. Remember, cashing in at a low point makes a paper loss a real loss. The best way to deal with uncertainty is through proper financial planning, together with patience and persistence with your investment strategy. Making emotional decisions, based on short-term market fluctuations, may result in more harm than good and destroy the long-term value to your savings. If you have a retirement savings plan and you are invested in a lifetime investment option, your monies are moved from high-risk portfolios to lower-risk portfolios as from six years before your normal retirement date. Lower-risk portfolios have less equity exposure, which reduces the impact of the falling markets. The lifetime investment option is constructed using reliable investment principles, which are based on a long-term investment approach. Whether you are invested in a lifetime investment option for retirement savings or have specifically chosen your own investment portfolios for any of your savings and investment plans, we strongly urge you to consult with a financial planner, if you have not done so already, so that you make sound financial decisions.
How will my retirement savings be affected if I am close to retirement?
The best way to deal with uncertainty is through proper financial planning – this means an appropriate investment strategy and portfolio for your retirement savings which is aligned with your planned post-retirement income strategy. Discuss the options that are available to you with a financial planner, before you make any changes to your investment portfolio selection or your planned retirement date. If you are invested in a lifetime investment option, your monies are moved from high-risk portfolios to lower-risk portfolios as from six years before your normal retirement date. Lower-risk portfolios have less equity exposure, which reduces the impact of the falling markets. The lifetime investment option is constructed using reliable investment principles, which are based on a long-term investment approach. Whether you are invested in a lifetime investment option or have specifically chosen your own investment portfolios, we strongly urge you to consult with a financial planner, if you have not done so already, so that you make sound financial decisions which are aligned to your retirement plan.
What will the impact be if I choose to retire in the very near future?
We strongly urge you to consult with a financial planner, if you have not done so already, for reliable assistance. One of the options that you can discuss is to leave your retirement savings (with or without further contributions) until such time that the markets have recovered and you are ready to buy a pension. This means you postpone the payment of your retirement benefit in order to try to leverage from any gains when the market recovers. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when this will happen but as one can expect, the current negative impact on global financial markets and the disruption caused will probably continue for many more months.
Is my portfolio guaranteed if I am currently investing in Sanlam Escalating funds?
If you are investing in Sanlam Escalating funds, your savings are protected but not guaranteed. What this means is that a Sanlam Escalating fund invests in a combination of cash and the corresponding unit trust. The allocation between cash and the corresponding unit trust is not fixed – it varies according to market conditions. Due to the significant decline in financial markets, the cash component of a number of Sanlam Escalating funds significantly increased over the past few weeks. From this point, should the market value of the corresponding unit trust increase, clients who are invested in the Sanlam Escalating equivalent will participate in a proportion of the growth only. The proportion will depend on the amount allocated to the corresponding unit trust. Alternatively, from this point, should the market value of the corresponding unit trust decrease further, the fund value of clients invested in the Sanlam Escalating equivalent will decrease by a smaller amount because of the low exposure to the corresponding unit trust. Please consult with a financial planner for advice and assistance to determine the most appropriate investment strategy and portfolio for your savings.
What is the impact on the bonuses if I am investing in the Vesting Bonus Fund?
The growth in the Vesting Bonus Fund is smoothed out over the term as the fund aims for moderate growth over the longer term. It targets inflation-beating returns over the long term. The negative impact on global financial markets due to COVID-19 also affects the assets in the Vesting Bonus Fund and its investment performance. Investments in the fund grow through bonuses that Sanlam declares. During periods of where the chosen investment assets perform well, a portion of the fund’s growth is not declared as bonuses. Instead, it’s held back so that in times of poor investment performance Sanlam can declare bonuses that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. From time to time, and especially in extreme market conditions, this smoothing process can result in significant surpluses or deficits in the investment portfolio.
What about wills, trusts and the administration of deceased estates?
Drafting of new wills and trust deeds will continue as usual, but you can also draft a simple will online. There might be slight delays with many staff members working from home, and possible challenges with remote access to the company’s systems cannot be ruled out.
The administration of deceased estates where Sanlam Trust is the executor continues with administrators working remotely. It should be noted that the Master’s Office has also closed for the 21 days’ lockdown, which will delay the reporting of deceased estates.
Should any other situation beyond our control prevent us from keeping to our turnaround times for the above services, we will inform clients as soon as possible.
Sanlam Trust’s usual lines of communication remain operational as far as possible.
Is an e-signature or email valid when signing a will?
South Africans are governed by the Wills Act, which does not allow for e-signatures. All wills executed in South Africa must be originally signed. That means, paper copy, printed, signed by the maker of the will and witnesses in ink. The Master of the High Court will not accept any e-signed wills.
In cases where the will was signed electronically, the testator’s family will have to apply to the High Court in order to have these wills condoned as a valid will. There have been instances in South Africa in which the Court has declared a document drafted by the deceased and stored on his/her computer to be a valid will, where the court has been satisfied that the computer-generated file represents the person’s final wishes as to the distribution of the estate. However, Sanlam Trust cannot guarantee the success of such an application.
It is important to note that a will must be signed in the presence of two competent witnesses who are not mentioned in the will. In the event that you are unable to print and sign your will, we suggest that you advise family members where and how to find the file on your computer or smartphone. In order to support an application for condonation, it may be wise to record a voice message where you read your will too.
You can also email the will to your financial planner or a close friend and tell them that this document is your last will and testament.
We recommend that you keep your signed will safe during the lockdown and inform close family members where it is kept.
Once the lockdown ends, immediately print and sign your will as required.
How will the current COVID-19 pandemic impact my group risk cover?
At Sanlam we are in the business of paying valid claims, and we want you to have peace of mind that you are properly covered. Please find answers to most of the questions you might have if you are covered by your company’s group risk insurance.
Can I claim for self-employed loss of income under my credit life insurance policy?
You may qualify for policy benefits under your credit life policy linked to your Sanlam Personal Loan should you suffer a loss of income. This benefit may pay up to a maximum of 12 monthly instalments excluding the first instalment after the commencement date of the loss of income.
For a valid claim, please provide evidence of the loss of income as per the policy guidelines and submit three months’ bank statements, showing the income and subsequent loss thereof due to COVID-19.
Can I claim for retrenchment due to COVID-19 under my credit life insurance policy?
You may qualify for policy benefits under the credit life policy linked to your Sanlam Personal Loan should you be retrenched due to COVID-19. This benefit may pay up to a maximum of 12 monthly instalments excluding the first instalment after the commencement of the retrenchment.
For a valid claim, please provide evidence of the retrenchment as per the policy guidelines and submit the following documents:
Can I claim for a full loss of salaried income due to COVID-19 under my credit life insurance policy?
You may qualify for policy benefits under the credit life policy linked to your Sanlam Personal Loan if you have not received any salary due to non-payment from your employer, resulting from you not being able to work and your employer not being able to pay you any salary due to COVID-19. This benefit may pay up to a maximum of 12 monthly instalments.
For a valid claim, please provide evidence of the total loss of salary as per the policy guidelines and submit the following documents:
Who can I contact to find out if I qualify for credit life cover?
Contact Sanlam Developing Markets to find out if you qualify for credit life cover:
In the event that you have substituted your Sanlam Developing Markets’ credit life policy with a policy of another insurer, please contact your other insurer directly.
What if I self-isolate and want to claim for illness?
Should you decide ON YOUR OWN to self-isolate/quarantine without any medical advice or without advice from your employer or Government, then you will not have a valid claim under our Sickness and Temporary Disability Income benefits.
What cover does Sanlam provide for COVID-19?
Depending on the specific benefit you have, Sanlam will cover you for any illness, impairment or disability where these conditions are caused as a result of complications linked to infection by any bacteria or virus. The virus can be COVID-19 or another virus. This includes claims for temporary or permanent inability to work, severe illness or even death.
In times like these, our mental health matters. Sanlam, through CareWays, offers our clients useful information to support you and help you cope.
We fully support all measures announced by our government to curb the spread of the virus and are prepared for variations of its possible impact.
Our rigorous business continuity plans have been activated, in line with requirements to continue servicing our clients.
We understand that this is a very challenging time for everyone and we assure our clients that we are committed to do whatever we can to help our people and to support and protect our economy.
As a business, we have various options available to assist people who may have cash flow constraints, and we encourage clients to speak to their intermediaries for advice.
Sanlam remains fastidious in honouring all claims that meet contractual requirements. While we do not have specific COVID-19 claimable events, we will cover all valid claimable events across the entire range, – including events caused by organisms such as the current Coronavirus infection.
We remain online and available to our clients telephonically and via email for enquiries, claims, advice and new product sales. Due to the majority of our staff working remotely, as well as high call volumes, you might have to hold on a little longer, unfortunately. As an alternative, our self-service options are also available and we encourage people to use them. Visit Sanlam Secure Services or WhatsApp using 0860 726 526. Text “Hi” to start your chat.
Internally, we have strong communications protocols to ensure engagement and optimal communication with employees across the Group and we have implemented significantly increased hygiene scenarios in offices across South Africa wherever our employees are rendering an essential service from our offices.
We urge our employees and clients to remain vigilant and healthy by adhering to the national lockdown, practising social distancing and through safe hygiene habits.
We are here to help.
We encourage you to visit our FAQ section, but should you have any questions that are not addressed there, please complete the form below or contact your adviser for advice and guidance regarding your financial decisions and Sanlam products.