Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Diaspora Challenges: Time To Act

By Jeff Sango

It is said that the first step towards accepting the need for change is cold anger which comes from the prevailing circumstances; that discomfort which informs us to unconsciously move into a shed when standing under a scathingly hot sun. There are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. Fact.

diaspora-funeralWe will all come to pass and that entails end of life expenses. Nobody has an expiry date on their birth certificate, meaning it can happen any time. How then is it that, even though confronted with a certainty, we still have so many people without funeral policies and we continue to see GoFundMe accounts created almost every time there is a funeral?

Despite so many stories of burial societies which have acrimoniously wound up, people still create or form burial societies, even in the diaspora. Many agree that they are tired of GoFundMe requests, yet they still are not buying policies. It would appear those at home are actually better insured than us in the diaspora, yet our situation becomes more challenging, at death, than those at home.

Unfortunately, the events of the last few weeks have shown me how humans operate. Events scare us, make us want to change but once out of the situation we go back to our default position – it will not happen to me. We continue to behave like we are licenced to pay others condolences. We continue with a false sense of security that death happens next door not accepting that to God next door may be our own door.

We have all fallen sick at some point. Some it might have just been a nauseating head ache. Some survived a heart attack or a fatal accident. All this, to me, reminds us of how vulnerable life is and the possibility of a bad end-death. Many, once in hospital and unsure of how the treatment process will play, become so receptive to pastors coming to pray for us. Once out of the woods we go into our default position, even blocking the pastor’s number on our phones. Such is human behaviour when feeling vulnerable.

Whenever we are hungry we reach out to a source of food in the kitchen. If the reserves are out we quickly run to the shops, purse in hand, to buy more food. But do we react this way when we do not have enough or adequate insurance? Not many access the internet to search for insurance providers or call an insurance company to buy a policy. Insurance still has to be sold rather than bought for most of us.

Unfortunately, death visits many when least prepared. At times, it appears death favours the least insured. This is supported by what we experience at most funerals in the diaspora. Even when those in higher social classes die, cash is always an intriguing issue at their funerals. I still want to come across a funeral where the surviving family would be complaining about the deceased having taken too much insurance cover or left too much money.

There is also a common excuse by people in high paying jobs. They always hide behind company provided policies. Unfortunately, in today`s world, there are no jobs for life and many in such social classes graduate into self-employment.

Insurance is cheaper the younger one is. This means waiting to take up a policy at a later date comes with higher premiums, and for life policies, more medical requirements before acceptance or rejection. Most funeral policies come with no medical tests but can be very expensive for the old folks.

A common excuse we hear about not taking out funeral policies is that one is busy. Ironically, death is also busy claiming the busy ones. Of late, there is an unsettling increase in the number of people dying from cancer and cardiac arrest in our community.

It appears this has been worsened by changes in our work habits. However, mine is just an observation. As a diaspora community we work so hard to look after our everyday needs and also to support relatives and friends back home. Doctors in our community are best placed to explain the increase in this phenomenon. My point is that we are faced with an increasing number of deaths and cash is always an issue.

It is imperative that our communities accept death as any community ill we need to look straight in the face and prepare for. One can now get a quote online. The diaspora community is blessed with easy internet access. Information and quotes are easily accessible through websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan has made quotes and applications easily accessible on gadgets we carry around, meaning one can actually apply for a funeral cash plan, whilst attending a funeral or watching football.

Having sold insurance for many years, I never do hard selling. I believe our job, as insurance advisors, is to create awareness and providing financial security. We are not employed to pester and coerce people into buying financial plans. My experience is that anyone coerced into buying will soon dump it.

People pay for what they value, not what they are forced to buy. A good customer is one who fully understands what they are buying so much that they become a product ambassador. We have many customers who are doing very well as product ambassadors, thus creating a better informed and secured community.

Like any other community, we also have those “know it all” comrades, quick to criticize but never pay a penny when financial assistance is called for. They are also the first ones to label the deceased for having been un-organised and careless with their life. Just as well, they are in the minority.

To be fair, thousands are already covered under the bespoke Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan but as a community we need to confront diaspora death as a social ill that tackle head-on for our common good and the starting point is to encourage each other to have correct and suitable cover.

As generational values change, more of our people are likely to opt for burial in host countries rather than repatriation back home. We are seeing many of our people travelling the world for holidays or to visit families who are now scattered throughout the world and this have been much easier by acquisition of first world citizenships.

Death can happen anywhere. Burials or cremations will soon, for convenience, take place anywhere in the world. Only a funeral cash plan, permanently denominated in a widely acceptable currency, the US$, will guarantee a dignified sent-off whether repatriation, burial abroad or cremation whatever the choice maybe. A cash cover means a worldwide protection without borders.

Jeff Sango is Business Development & Sales Manager at Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan. He can be contacted at jeffs@diasporafuneralcashplan.comor WhatsApp: +44 749 216 1256