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AKI: This is how to ease funeral expenses

Sponsored by Association of Kenya Insurers

Association of Kenya Insurers Executive Director Tom Gichuhi.

Often when death strikes, people get caught off-guard, such that they have to figure out how to pool resources to give their departed loved one a decent send-off. The harambees can be difficult to crack sometimes.

And now with Covid-19 containment protocols demanding quick burials to avoid prolonged gatherings, there is hardly even the time to fundraise. Some families have had to borrow money from banks and shylocks to cover funeral expenses.

This scenario should be a wake-up call to more Kenyans to consider taking up last expense insurance. That’s according to the Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI).

The situation brings to mind a 2018 report titled, “Unearthing Value Proposition for Funeral Insurance”. The report was a product of a survey that AKI had commissioned IPSOS Limited to carry out.

The survey confirmed that funeral costs and expenses – often ranging from about Ksh50,000 to Ksh300,000 – were becoming unbearable for many, with the situation getting desperate if the deceased was the breadwinner.

Yet it also found that many people were not taking up funeral insurance policies because they perceived it to be elitist. The second hindrance was culture. Many communities in Kenya prohibit talks about funerals when there is no death in the family. Such talk, they argue, is akin to inviting death.

Other barriers to taking up funeral insurance in Kenya, the report established, included lack of adequate information on the different covers available in the market, and the common negative perceptions about insurance in general.

AKI is now keen to witness the kind of success being registered in South Africa regarding funeral insurance, being pursued in Kenya by its members. This could be through creative campaigns, strategies and innovation.

In South Africa, one of the leading insurance providers has some 1.35 million holders of funeral insurance, covering some 3.5 million people.

The said company offers tombstones and coffins, and policyholders can receive some of the money back after five years of consistent contribution of premium. Also, clients are provided with a hearse, tent and a bull. They therefore don’t spend money on such items.

In Kenya, some AKI members have formed partnerships with funeral homes to offer clients some crucial burial services and products, in place of giving out money.

Indeed, the AKI report had recommended that insurance companies form such partnerships across the country. – nation.co.ke