Samoans registering for funeral insurance

Samoans here and abroad are registering for the first funeral insurance product, launched by Apia Insurance Company (A.I.C) in October. 

Project manager Rosemary Tone said she’s been pleased to see a positive uptake, nearly reaching their target for 2018.

“I don’t think anyone has come in without being excited about being able to do this for their family, or their parents,” she said.

Ms Tone attributes the uptake success to the research A.I.C put in before the launch, to ensure applying for funeral cover would be as simple as possible, like having a one-page form and no prerequisite requirements like medical checks.

Many people pop into the offices citing the television adverts, and asking for the product to be explained a little more, she said.

“In that one conversation they’re more able to understand it, and taken the forms home then come back with them signed.”

Getting employers on board with group funeral cover for their employees is also a priority for AIC. Ms Tone said she has been meeting with several banks and other businesses to take up group cover as a staff benefit.

Next year, the company will dispatch sales teams to Savaii, to pitch funeral insurance to large gatherings across rural Samoa.

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“We’ll want to contact district leaders and village leaders to gather people in one place to share, and raise awareness about what kind of financial services people can be taking on.”

It will be critical to get the messaging right, Ms Tone said. Some people may not understand the concept of insurance at all.

“That’s probably a challenge that’s coming. I think in rural communities; the idea of insurance may just be getting car insurance. But sharing with them that there are other products they can be looking into, and that this is one of them, will be really good.”

Ms Tone said it hasn't been difficult convincing people of the way insurance can unburden them of expensive and often debt-inducing funerals.

People across all ages don’t want that burden left to their families, she said.

“We’ve been welcomed, I guess, into these homes because they’ve seen it as an assistance, something to help their families, and that experience has been a positive one.”

The fact is, people are having these needed conversations, and that is positive, Ms Tone said.

For those in the rural communities who aren't engaged in the formal financial sector, and likely don't use banks, A.I.C is still trying to make life simple.

“That’s why we’ve given the option of cash,” Ms Tone said.

“We’re taking on that administrative cost because we want to make sure these people feel they can participate and are included.”

A.I.C is also in the early stages of exploring mobile money solutions, so those without bank accounts or access to a bank can pay for their cover over the phone.

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