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Migration and death in foreign lands

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By Jeff Sango


Migrating to foreign lands is as old as the biblical stories of Abraham being directed to leave the land of his fathers and go and settle in a land which God was to show him. Nearer home, we had regional migration through Mfecane; people moving northwards from South Africa and the southwards movements from the Great lakes. Cecil John Rhodes, David Livingstone and other Europeans also migrated into our Africa.

In all these instances, many migrants died far away from their home countries. Resources had to be mobilised to bury them in the host countries or repatriate the remains to their countries of origin.

Migration can be rural/urban, regional or international. Death in the new habitat is always a possibility. Death is expensive. Decisions have to be made as to where to bury the deceased. An important consideration is how to fund the funerals. Some people will have saved some money. Survivors can draw from those savings provided they can have quick access to those funds. Others easily call up their funeral policies and avoid going the Gofundme route, a very unpopular route for survivors.

In the course of our lives, we make so many decisions about how we want to live. Unfortunately, many people do not plan for death. They see it as unlikely especially when young or in good health or both. Ever heard of people dying in accidents?

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Do Covid deaths remind us of anything about untimely deaths? It is time we reconsider our perception about death and be proactive. It is important to plan how our funerals are going to be funded and what funds we are going to leave for our loved ones.

Whether we plan for death or not we must always remember there is nothing as definite as death. Insurance has always been about covering ourselves against events which we know are likely to happen but for which we are not sure as to when exactly they will happen.

We insure our cars in case of an accident. We insure our households in case there is a fire or a burglary. That uncertainty is what we pay for as insurance premiums. We want to remove that discomfort which comes with an unexpected loss. A worse situation is where the breadwinner dies. Life policies provide cash to cushion financial gaps created by the untimely death of the bread winner.

Insurance proceeds provide us with a vehicle to, apart from funding funeral expenses, also create generational wealth. Proceeds from insurance claims can be used to pay off mortgages, cover funeral expenses, buy properties or even start income generating projects for generations to come.

It is worrying that people would rather insure their cars, goods and other risks and conveniently forget to insure the person responsible for buying those goods. Many people only buy life policies because it is part of the package to buy into a property mortgage.

Funny enough, even people who have benefited from proceeds from other people’s insurances still find it difficult to buy insurance. Many of us are so relieved on hearing that our deceased relative had a funeral or life policy. Is that not a wakeup call for us to also insure ourselves?

Age and state of health are factors which determine level of premiums.  This is why it is advisable to buy insurance when young, and in most cases, healthier. There comes a time when one is in need of insurance but due to advanced age, bad medical history or condition, insurance companies decline to provide cover or do it at punitive rates.

Many insurance companies have responded to financial challenges faced by diapsorans. One such company is the Diaspora Insurance company created by Destiny Finance which is based in UK. Diaspora Insurance is underwritten by Munich Re, one of the oldest and most renowned world-wide underwriting companies.

During the Covid pandemic, Diaspora Insurance paid millions in claims responding to a challenge which could easily have sunk small fly-by-night insurance companies. Live testimonials abound on Diaspora Insurance YouTube channel for the doubting Thomases.

From March 2022 to date, we have seen a massive increase of Zimbabweans joining the British health sector through the migration scheme now popularly known as COS (certificate of sponsorship scheme).

This scheme, though a great opportunity for many to escape the economic hardships back home, has come with its own myriad of economic, social and emotional challenges. Some of the challenges are life threatening.

It is my hope that the new arrivals consider taking life and funeral policies. The risk is too high to ignore. GoFundMe schemes, if ever they work, normally work where one has built a social network in the diaspora. When one is new and not known in the new community many people just scroll past the notices. Do not be on your own. Be with your insurance policies.

In conclusion I wish to quote the late Paul Mkondo, the all-time Zimbabwean insurance guru’s war cry “hupenyu hwenyu idambudziko remwoyo wangu”, literary translated “your life issues are close to my heart, and a great concern mine”. Be insured and have peace of mind.

Jeff Sango is a CitizensUK trained community organiser and writes funeral policies under Diaspora Insurance. He is currently an Introducer with Genistar Ltd. He is contactable at sangometals@gmail.com or 00447399038698.

Or for Life insurance referrals:

Emmanuel Gotora

Financial Educator, Genistar Limited

Email: emmanuel.gotora@genistar.org

Mobile: +447956998909

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