Doves launches Muslim funeral package

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DOVES Funeral Services has launched a funeral package to cater for the Muslim community as the country’s oldest funeral assurer expands its product offering in the wake of intense competition in the sector.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

The package, Zimbabwe Muslim Group Society, is barely six months old but the response has been overwhelming, Doves Funeral Services managing director Kenneth Chigananda said.

Chigananda said the community had been neglected by funeral service providers.

“We sat down and said there is a big community. We invited them and they were interested in the product. Initially they were sceptical because they wanted to see whether we are qualified to do that,” he said.

The package has so far attracted 180 new policyholders, marketing consultant Khalid Musa Chilembwe said, adding that a service charter was in place to ensure that Doves adheres to Muslim standards. The service charter was signed by Sheikh Mustafa Pateya, Ambassador of Islam in Zimbabwe.

This means that all the 26 Doves branches should have the equipment to conduct Muslim burials. The equipment includes janaza which is used to carry bodies for burial. Doves will also provide a Kafan—a cloth used to wrap bodies.

The package will cater for policyholders, prepaid funeral providers (burial societies registered with Doves) and cash.

“Doves will help burial societies administer their funds such that if their money is exhausted, we give them a credit facility and they repay at an agreed time. This applies only to burial societies registered with us,” Chilembwe said.

In the third quarter ended September 30 2014, Doves net premiums written were $6,5 million from $5 million in the same period in 2013. Funeral companies wrote $28 million in net premiums from $24 million in 2013.

“The Commission continues to encourage product innovation both in terms of benefit structure and distribution channels in the wake of growing competition from life companies who have bigger balance sheets,” the Insurance and Pensions Commission said.

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