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    Sunday, 8 September 2019

    Shock increase in funeral premiums



    ELLEN MLAMBO
    TWO NATIONS EDITOR

    BEITBRIDGE - There has been a shock increase in monthly premiums effected by funeral assurance companies with some going up by 800% beginning October this year.
    Many people have responded with dismay at the increases that threaten to wipe out up to 40% of some members’ salaries for example some companies and organisations have reported increases of premiums from $40 to $200 which is an increase of 500%.
    As a result of an outcry from membership the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, Raymond Majongwe has been forced to write an urgent letter threatening to withdraw from funeral assurance companies that their members hold policies with.
    “The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe’s management is writing to request an urgent meeting with your esteemed office to discuss the latest monthly premiums introduced this September 2019. On behalf of our membership we would like to discuss and present their views and opinions on the current increase,” reads part of the letter in possession of The Mirror.
    Insurance and Pension Commission (IPEC) a statutory body regulating insurance and pensions business public relations manager, Lloyd Gumbo said they have received complaints from the public on the sharp increases and have engaged the insurance companies concerned so that they explain to their stakeholders the reasons behind the hefty increases.
    “Increases in premiums are determined by actuaries after taking into consideration a number of factors in order to preserve the value of the policy. Premiums have to be pegged at economic rates so that beneficiaries get value for their money, where members feel that they can no longer afford the premiums they can engage the service provider for a downgrading of the policy or cash pay-out at the time of the death of a loved one,” said Gumbo.
    The Mirror is reliably informed that the Army, one of the biggest member organisations has threatened to withdraw from a number of funeral assurance companies unless they rescind the increases.
    The biggest funeral assurance company Nyaradzo Group increased their premiums with effect from October 1 this year from $49 to $171 for a member with three beneficiaries for the basic cover while the platinum class has gone up to around $85 per dependent.
    Moonlight has increased its premiums from $1 to $5 for the basic cover translating to 500% increase and $40 to $90 for the top of the range cover representing a 100% increase while the oldest funeral assurance company in the country, Doves’ funeral policies went up by 50% in July with the lowest being $60 and the highest at $75 for family and dependants and they will also go up by the same margin in October this year.
    Most funeral assurance companies cited increased operating costs as the reasons behind the massive hike.
    Zimbabwe Ecosure has increased its premiums for the basic package from a $1 which used to have $1000 cash pay-out benefit to $5 for an increased cash pay-out of $5000 representing an increase of 500%.
    The Mirror could not get a comment from Moonlight Funeral group schemes manager, Mavis Tizvigone as the phone got cut off before the conversation began.
    Paidamoyo Fadzo Tabengwa from Nyaradzo confirmed the increases and said this was out of the desire to maintain benefits for their members.
    “Good day, please see the attached with our rates. On premiums we have contacted individual clients and groups on their premium reviews,” she said.
    On being asked about the figures Paidamoyo responded by saying, “Yes this is what we are sharing with press,”
    A disgruntled policy holder sent this post on one of the Whatsapp groups“ATTENTION…(name withheld) FUNERAL ASSURANCE COMPANY  CLIENTS
    Let’s say no to daylight robbery. …. has hiked its fees with more than 300% for what? We only die once and get buried once so why spend the rest of our lives slaving for a one day service while others enjoy the fruits of our labour. Let’s look for other alternative means of saving for the burial of loved ones. The rumoured salaries have not even been processed and they are already waiting eagerly to milk us dry. Let’s open our eyes comrades. The Government should do something about these unscrupulous price hikes. To hell with ......”
    #Masvingo Mirror#
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