COVID-19 – AVBOB Funerals and Funeral Cover That Help South Africa’s People
COVID-19’s toll on South Africa is and will continue to be devastating. Families and friends throughout the country are coming to grips with the loss of loved ones. There has also been a severe economic impact as the livelihoods of millions have suffered due to the unavoidable lockdown, and the restrictions that that has placed on business.
AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society, South Africa’s largest business in the funeral insurance and funeral service space, would like to assure all South Africans that we understand and can identify with their plight.
Our society, a funeral cover and funeral service provider with over 102 years’ experience, was itself born in the wake of a global pandemic, the 1918 Spanish Flu. That tragedy, and others since, has enabled us to restore dignity to those taken by the outbreaks, and provide comfort and clarity to survivors in times of crisis and confusion.
The government predicts COVID-19-related deaths, as well as excess deaths, of between 40 000 and 48 000 by the end of the year. AVBOB has contributed substantially to the funeral service industry and, by the end of June, handled the funerals and funeral cover of close to 25% of all deaths caused by COVID-19.
We’ve also taken a range of measures to ensure we are supportive of South Africa’s economic plight and fight against the virus.
- AVBOB has donated R3 million to the Solidarity Fund set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa. We also matched any voluntary employee contributions, rand for rand, up to a value of a further R2 million. The support from AVBOB staff was overwhelming and led to them contributing R865 000 out of their own pockets. This brought AVBOB’s total donation, together with its employee contributions, to R4,73 million.
- We have provided FREE funeral benefits to our policyholders. In July and August this year alone, these benefits amounted to R90 million.
- AVBOB has, since 17 August 2020, not charged any family for any PPE used to collect and bury a loved one who has died of COVID-19. This benefit will be provided until 31 December 2020.
- Our essential employees are provided with personal protective equipment (PPE), and large numbers of employees have been equipped to work remotely. Furthermore, stringent measures are in place to ensure that all AVBOB funeral and insurance branches are sanitised.
- To cater for the potential spike in COVID-19 related deaths, we converted 19 shipping containers into mobile mortuaries and made these available throughout the country. We have also increased our existing cooling capacity.
- Government has laid out stringent measures around burial and cremation protocols during this lockdown period. AVBOB is fully compliant with all precautionary measures and legalities in order to protect the broader population. This may entail inescapable compromises in religious rites and rituals, and, for grieving families already facing loss, may add a further layer of stress to an already difficult time.
- We are in the process of implementing virtual funeral services, particularly where we have chapels, and where we have the necessary infrastructure in place. We believe that, during this scourge, people will realise the value of embracing innovative technologies. A virtual funeral service will ensure that more family and friends of the deceased will be able to participate in the funeral service from anywhere in the country or world.
We must also remember that creating extra infrastructure to handle increased capacity is only half the battle. We must pay tribute to our frontline staff as well. The dedication and support from our people that work day and night, without complaint, is vital and AVBOB recognises these essential workers as the real heroes.
Please contact AVBOB for any queries you may have on funerals and your funeral cover policies. Call us on 0861 28 26 21 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Terms and conditions apply. Free funeral benefits only apply if AVBOB Funeral Service is appointed to conduct the funeral. AVBOB is an authorised financial services provider. AVBOB is a level 2 BBBEE contributor. FSP 20656. www.AVBOB.co.za