Virtual funeral benefits a vital part of employee packages

Funeral benefits are highly valued in the employee benefits space and need to provide for virtual funerals.

Companies are changing the way they look at employee benefits in a working world that includes remote working, limited travel and more virtual approaches to community events, due to the impact of Covid-19 and related lockdowns.

In addition, the new normal has ushered in a different approach to employees, one that is more holistic with a higher focus on employee wellbeing and mental health during this challenging period of uncertainty and prolonged stress.

Nashalin Portrag, Head of FundsAtWork at Momentum Corporate, says employers need to ask whether their employee benefits remain fit for purpose in these times of tremendous change.

“Now, more than ever, employee benefits need to address the real needs of employees. This means making provision not just for the financial and protection needs of employees and their families, but also their emotional, mental, and physical needs. We should not assume that employee benefits arrangements that worked a few years ago are still meeting the needs of employees experiencing rising stressors in the new normal,” he explains.

The cultural significance and high cost of funerals make funeral benefits highly valued in the employee benefits space, according to Nashalin.

Research by SunLife in the United Kingdom, which compared the average cost of funerals across 35 countries relative to average salaries in each country, found that South Africa is the fourth most expensive place in the world to be buried.

The cost of funerals during the pandemic has escalated further due to rising demand and additional Covid-19 related expenses.

Restrictions on the number of funeral attendees and travel costs are some of the bigger challenges in Covid-19 times. As a result, people have turned to technology and are hosting virtual funerals. This does, however, come at a cost and requires technical know-how.

It is within this context that Momentum Corporate has launched a virtual funeral benefit that covers mobile data to stream virtual funerals, telephonic assistance with arrangements and access to discounted service providers. Employees with access to the funeral assistance service are also able to cover the costs for the repatriation of mortal remains.

“When that moment to say goodbye to a loved one comes, and we are unable to do so due to physical obstacles, the healing process is interrupted. A virtual funeral allows us the opportunity for closure, by letting us mourn with loved ones – even when we cannot physically be together,” Nashalin concludes.