Funeral insurance is the most prevalent form of insurance in South Africa with just less than 90% of all risk cover being attributed to this form of insurance, more than a quarter of which is informal.
And this is reflected in the 4.2 million policies RubiBlue’s EasiPol product has running through its policy management software and the R3.7 billion in payments it collects annually. “We currently work with 550 funeral policy providers, and are signing between 20 and 30 new funeral parlours onto our product monthly,” remarks RubiBlue MD, Chris Ogden.
The South African funeral assistance business became a target of debate in 2003 following the South African Parliamentary Committee on Finance (PCOF) where evidence of abusive practices in the funeral insurance market in South Africa was presented. And where RubiBlue spotted a gap in the market and created EasiPol to collect policy payments.
The collection of policy payments in rural locations was previously fraught with fraud, ‘lost’ payments and often policy holders not being covered due to arrears. This is mainly due to instalments made in cash because it is estimated that 67% of the adult population in South Africa are unbanked, with 37% living in rural areas. “There were also reports from funeral service operators of inaccurate reporting, and many consumers complained about poor customer service during emotional times,” adds Ogden. “EasiPol is a tool to prevent this.”
On the rapid growth and uptake of the service, RubiBlue puts it down to not only organic client growth, higher retention ratios and funeral service providers realising that EasiPol allows them to enter rural markets which have previously been inaccessible for their products.
Improving citizen well-being
Giving the unbanked access to formal financial services such as insurance policies has its benefits to individuals: improved well-being, financial responsibilities taken care of, and a personal sense of worth for the heads of the home. “Policies are more likely to be taken out by the female head of house, and the policy holder will ensure their policy is paid over purchasing food,” adds Ogden. “They know that falling in arrears will mean the policy won’t payout for six months after being back in the black.”
EasiPol was designed by software consultancy RubiBlue for the secure and simple collection of cash payments. It is the only fully customisable, web-based administrator package of its kind for administrators and insurance underwriters.
Sales and collections in the field are made using a remote terminal for payments, data look-ups and receipting for transparent and accurate reporting. By being in the field with reliable devices, software and data access, organisations using EasiPol have seen an increase in collections and reported better client satisfaction.
EasiPol provides a complete multi-platform policy administration/payment solution, ensuring a secure, centralised, backed up data store, which prevents fraud and theft; ensuring administrator and client peace of mind.