Insurance coverage in Kenya remains low at a paltry three per cent. This is mainly attributable to lack of awareness of the financial benefits it offers individuals, families and businesses.
Many people view insurance as a financial burden or expense as opposed to an investment. They fail to appreciate insurance as a financial tool for protection against the vagaries of life.
One of the least understood insurance policies is the funeral or last expenses cover. This is understandable.
We all fear death. Few people can contemplate planning for their demise. Cultural attitudes make it taboo to even think of one’s departure from this world. This partly explains the low uptake of funeral insurance in Kenya.
A survey commissioned by the Association of Kenya Insurers last year revealed that only three per cent of Kenyans have funeral insurance. It also showed that funeral expenses cost families between Sh50,000 and Sh2.5 million.
Contributions by family members, friends and welfare associations were cited as the primary means of catering for funeral expenses.
Harambees to cater for burials are a common phenomenon in Kenya today. Incidentally, even families that are otherwise considered well-off may be forced to resort to fund-raising when saddled with a huge hospital bill.
Death is inevitable. But if we all know we shall die one day, why do we fail to plan for their demise?
A good indication of this are the numerous fundraisers held nowadays to cater for burial expenses once a person dies.
Funerals can be an expensive affair depending on the social status of the deceased and other factors like logistics. If no prior arrangements are in place, the bereaved family can be left in financial ruin.
The situation is even more complicated where the deceased has incurred huge medical expenses.
With the rising incidence and burden of non-communicable diseases like cancer, many families are being pushed into poverty due to the protracted and expensive treatment of such ailments.
Yet, it is possible to avert such scenarios through careful financial planning. By taking up a funeral insurance cover, those left behind will save money to meet other essential needs like educating the deceased’s children.
Funeral covers also come in handy where there are hospital bills to be settled.
This is not to say that we should not give our departed loved ones a dignified send-off. But since funerals are basically a one-off affair, it makes sense to take up an insurance policy to take care of last expenses.
Such covers come in the form of riders on other types of insurance such as life or stand-alone policies that are easily affordable.
Funeral insurance can ease the financial burden and pain families go through when they lose their loved ones.
This is why we need to inculcate a culture of planning for life’s risks like death using insurance.
Planning for one’s last expenses should not be considered taboo but a sign of prudence. Just the same way we insure our cars against accidents, we should protect our families from the financial burden occasioned by death.
Employers should also be encouraged to take up funeral insurance for employees.
While no amount of money can wipe away the tears of the bereaved, a funeral insurance cover can ameliorate the pain.
As the popular Kenyan saying goes, “maisha ni kujipanga”. We should, therefore, also plan for the one uncomfortable but inevitable event in our lives.