Category Life Insurance

Surviving a funeral

08 July 2009 Old Mutual
John Kotze, head of Group Assurance at Old Mutual

John Kotze, head of Group Assurance at Old Mutual

Benjamin Franklin o­nce said that nothing is certain except death and taxes. The death of a loved o­ne is often the most traumatic event we face in the cycle of life, emotionally and financially. Although many South Africans have funeral policies, most do not realise that a funeral requires much more than just money.

The death of a family member may bring with it many unexpected logistical and emotional challenges that need to be met - from moving a deceased’s remains (maybe across national or international borders), to obtaining specialised trauma counseling for bereaved family members. ”Many people are unaware of this when they apply for a funeral policy or service,” says John Kotze, head of Group Assurance at Old Mutual.

“They may also not realise that funeral assistance may also be offered as part of a life policy or retirement plan, geared to assist them financially, legally and emotionally, and leaving them with far less to worry about when they are burdened by grief.”

Statistics from the Actuarial Society of South Africa show that overall life expectancy in the country has decreased from 63 in 1990 to 51 in 2006, making funeral assistance benefits an important part of a company’s employee benefits plan.

“Funeral assistance is an excellent benefit for employers to offer their employees,” says Kotze. “It demonstrates their care and willingness to look after employees and their families in times of need.”

According to Kotze benefits of funeral assistance may include

*Free body repatriation from place of death to the funeral parlour closest to place ofburial, which is especially valuable to people who work many hundreds of kilometres away from their family home or likely place of burial.
* Referrals to undertakers,
* Arrangement of legal services,
* Referrals to pathologists and psychologists,
* Advice o­n attaining the required documentation, transportation and accommodation assistance.

Kotze explains that all employees covered with Old Mutual South African Group Life and Group Family policies have access to the Old Mutual Funeral Support Service at no extra charge, providing discounted funeral packages of up to 35% with a network of funeral service providers. “If employees insured by Old Mutual are uncertain whether they qualify for this service, they should be sure to approach their employers or retirement fund trustees.”

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