• Madi Carstens

Beneficiary Funds - Supporting Guardians and beneficiaries during Covid-19

The administration of death benefits on a Fund is - even under normal circumstances - no easy task.

Family members of the deceased, need to be interviewed, documentation must be gathered and the preparation for a claim and distribution of funds can allow no mistakes.

In the current business un- usual environment we face various new challenges:

  • Working remotely and social distancing add pressure to decision makers like the board of trustees.

  • Connectivity issues could increase the turn-around time for normal applications.

  • Potential beneficiaries could struggle to submit required documents due to closed offices and internet cafes.

  • The most daunting remains the gathering of information and interviewing the deceased’s family.

Before lockdown, information on potential beneficiaries was collected by HR departments, administrators or employee benefit companies acting on behalf of a fund.

In rural communities, tracers or case workers would be tasked to talk to families and gather documentation.

For now – none of these is an option .

What could we do differently ?

  • Could we, with consent, record and interview families by telephone, WhatsApp or one of the meeting applications such as Zoom or Microsoft office where possible?

  • Could we accept mobile phone photos of documents until such time that the originals can be viewed?

  • Would the board of trustees even consider it, with fraud being an ever present possibility?

The reality of the current situation is that many South Africans who have lost a loved one are in dire need for funds to keep bread on the table for the family of a deceased.