Press release: PTL partners with SmartSearch for electronic death-in-service beneficiary checks

PTL, the leading independent trustee and governance services provider, today announced it has extended its partnership with leading anti-money laundering provider SmartSearch.

The new partnership will provide PTL with electronic ID verification on all death-in-service beneficiaries under its Group Life Claims Service, alongside due-diligence and anti-money laundering checks.

SmartSearch’s industry-leading system uses credit reference data and digitally verifies the client, which negates the need for requesting a physical document, or an image of the document.

With just a name and address, date of birth is optional, SmartSearch’s technology combines credit reference data and digital fraud checks as well as electoral roll data and other reliable public sources to establish identity.

By triple checking these different sources of information a unique ‘composite digital identity’ is produced. This digital identity is virtually impossible to fake. All this can be done online, with no need for in-person meetings, face coverings, or hard copies of documents.

Dawn Harris, chief operating officer at PTL commented: “When settling death-in-service claims, it is absolutely essential that the identity of each beneficiary is verified, in line with anti-money laundering legislation, so that payments can be made quickly and securely.

“In the past, this process involved the receipt, verification, and safe return of physical documents – such as passports, driving licenses, and birth certificates. As well as being labour intensive and time consuming, it also carried the ever-present risk of documents being mislaid. This new service negates the need for the physical element of the process whilst all the time retaining the rigorous checks required.”

Harris continued: “We are currently settling more than fifty claims each month, so efficiency and timeliness are essential. With SmartSearch’s TripleCheck solution, which combines electronic identification and screening, document verification; and digital fraud checks, we can conduct an ever more comprehensive, GDPR-compliant identity check on each recipient in seconds.

“This process is fully secure and reduces the burden on beneficiaries at what is often a traumatic time following the loss of a loved one. Working with SmartSearch is the latest element of a significant investment in this growing area of our business, having expanded our dedicated team and created bespoke workflows within our CRM system to manage the claims process efficiently from end to end*.”

John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch added: “The award-winning service that PTL provides is both compassionate and sensitive, and supports people as they go through an incredibly difficult time.

“By partnering with PTL, we can not only reduce the unnecessary paperwork and ensure compliance, but also make sure the process is as simple and efficient as possible. 

“By using SmartSearch, not only is the process quicker and easier for the end-user, it also is more secure. The system uses credit reference data to establish identity, and avoids the potential of someone using fraudulent ID.”


* PTL has been providing death-in-service claims handling for over 10 years, as an outsourced provider to many of the UK’s large insurers. The service is delivered by a dedicated Group Life Claims team, all highly experienced and comprehensively trained to deal sensitively and compassionately with beneficiaries at what is often a difficult time. PTL also offers its own group life and excepted life master trusts for standalone schemes and provides the outsourced determinations for benefits paid under pension schemes and sponsor-led death-in-service trusts. All support encompasses the investigation of the deceased’s circumstances, establishing potential beneficiaries and their financial dependency on the deceased, and settlement of the benefits under trust.

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PTL is an award-winning provider of independent trustee and governance services, serving clients across the UK. Our specialist team of professional trustees deliver a pragmatic, personable and professional service to help you effectively manage your scheme.