Funerals are by nature a particularly sad time for families and loved ones of the deceased, but in the era of the COVID-19, which entails a National Lockdown, limits to the numbers of people at social gatherings and strict social distancing measures, they can be especially difficult.
“Given the strain that South Africans are already under as a result of the National Lockdown, we thought we would assist in some small way, by providing clarity around the regulations and restrictions and insurance processes surrounding the arranging of funerals during this challenging time,” says Basil Reekie, group managing director of Clientèle.
According to the latest regulations put in place by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), a permit needs to be obtained by anyone wishing to travel between provinces or metropolitan and district areas to attend a funeral or cremation. People who qualify to apply for said permit include; the spouse or partner of the deceased, children (including children-in-law) of the deceased, parents (including stepparents) of the deceased, siblings, grandparents, and other people closely affiliated to the deceased.
Applicants will require a death certificate or a certified copy of the death certificate to obtain a permit or, if a death certificate is not yet available, the applicant would need to make a sworn affidavit in the prescribed form.
Permits are obtainable from a Magistrate or the station commander of a police station. If the burial or cremation is not on the same day and the travelling attendee needs to stay over, please note that he or she may not do so for a period of more than 48 hours. Additionally, he / she may not stay with a relative or friend but must instead stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house and will be required to present their permit to the owner/manager of the hotel, lodge or guest house.
The latest regulations also stipulate limits on the number of people who may attend funerals and/or memorial services. The limit is currently set at 50 or less attendees. Also be aware that night vigils are still prohibited.
With regards to funeral planning, Reekie provides some tips for a smoother process:
- Obtain the death certificate from Home Affairs which will be needed for permits, insurance payouts etc.
- Lodge an insurance claim with the deceased person’s insurance policy provider
- Ensure limits of crowds in line with the restrictions and regulations
- At all times throughout the process, be sure to comply with all relevant health and safety guidelines published by government and try to limit unnecessary personal contact and adhere to social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
In addition, Clientèle has taken proactive steps by waiving waiting periods on all (new and existing) funeral policies, for any valid claim resulting from COVID-19. This means clients are immediately covered, upon payment of their premiums. The waiving of waiting periods for COVID-19 on funeral policies are already effective and will remain in effect for policies sold until 30 April 2020, or until a later date that Clientèle will determine. Clientèle’s funeral cover for COVID-19 will pay within 24 hours after submission of a valid claim.
“As an essential service provider, Clientèle will continue to service our clients throughout the National Lockdown period, however, this is being done by skeleton staff to ensure that we protect our staff. Rest assured that claims will continue to be processed timeously as it is a priority for us to continue to pay out valid claims,” concludes Reekie.