Category Life Insurance

Funeral insurance should be evolving

07 October 2015 Tetiwe Jawuna, Standard Bank

If your policy doesn’t offer more than money for the funeral, you’re losing out.

Consumers are entitled to more value from insurance policies than a simple quid pro quo of a pay-out proportional to their premium. This applies to funeral policies too.

“Insurers have both buying power and influence on suppliers, by virtue of the number of people they reach through their policies and the substantial investments they make with premiums,” says Tetiwe Jawuna, Head of Standard Bank Insurance Brokers.

She says that responsible insurance companies can therefore ensure that their industry influence creates additional value for their policyholders, by making policies work harder.

“This can be in terms of improving the benefits of a particular cover, or improving the client’s lifestyle overall. In fact, these days, the best insurance does both.”

Standard Bank’s FuneralPlan policy is a case in point.

It’s one of the most affordable in the market, from as little as R2.50 per day for up to R50 000’s worth of funeral expenses for the insured, the insured’s direct family members, or members of his or her extended family, such as in-laws. Anyone under the age of 65 qualifies for the plan, and no medical examination is required. “Traditionally, that’s where funeral cover would have ended,” Ms Jawuna says. “One policy might be cheaper than another, but the benefits would have been similar“.

In the case of Standard Bank FuneralPlan, the policy also provides the insured’s family with monthly payments of up to R2 000 for six or twelve months depending on the selected cover. This can be used for groceries and helps the family cope with the loss of income caused by death of the main insured member.

“As a responsible insurer, our living benefits are to ensure the health of our policyholders, especially those in the lower income brackets who may not have access to these benefits due to affordability.”

Standard Bank’s FuneralPlan provides bereavement counselling at R5 000 per person or R10 000 per family following the death of a family member. It allows for emergency ambulance transport at no extra cost to the nearest South African medical facility in the case of an emergency such as a heart attack or a car accident. Extending medical support still further, the plan provides access to a list of doctors countrywide who provide discounts of up to 20 % and up to 40% discount from participating Dentists to FuneralPlan policyholders. In the case of the optometrists who participate in Standard Bank’s FuneralPlan offering, policyholders and those insured on their policy are given a 10% discount on consultation and a further 10% discount on glasses.

“Clearly, there is no reason for a low premium to limit a policyholder just to expenses for the funeral. Policyholders shouldn’t feel that because they can afford less, they should not have benefits beyond the costs of the funeral,” Ms Jawuna says. “A low premium should be the result of the astuteness of the insurer in using economies of scale to give policyholders dignity, not just in death but in all their medical requirements.”

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