Opinion | Till Death Do Us Part – A Ugandan Group Life Insurace Policy is Long Over Due!
For many of us who now live abroad there is always a grim reality of one day death knocking on each of our doors. But with that reality comes the fear of how to have our remains repatriated back home. For whatever reason, buying life insurance has been reduced to an afterthought because many of us get very uncomfortable with facing our own mortality.
Although Ugandans are not in habit of discussing their Last Wills or where they would like to be laid to rest others never see the value of life insurance because they are either single, or will not live to receive the tangible benefit of having this coverage unlike health insurance. While buying life insurance may not be an easy decision, the fear of not having it may trouble you a bit. No one expects their children to die before them but it can happen. It may be sudden or unexpected, but all of us must realize that one day we will all come face to face with death. Often times some will get turned down for coverage because of a pre- existing health conditions, but most of us still qualify for a graded death benefit policy.
Many people have life insurance policies at work. This usually comes in the form of term insurance. Term is insurance for a specific amount of time, and once it expires due to retirement, dismissal, or resignation, there is no benefit ( Some employers allow a reduced amount of insurance at retirement, usually a declining scale that often levels off at age 70, e.g.. 50,000 at age 65 and $25,000 at age 70). If you are dismissed from your job you are without coverage unless you convert your group insurance into a whole or maybe universal life policy.
Some may ask why of all topics I chose to talk about death. What some will realize is that as someone who operates a Ugandan News blog we are always inundated with calls when our community members pass on and this year alone, I can comfortably say that we have received more than 12 Diaspora related deaths announcements.
With these death announcements comes a request for fundraising to have these remains repatriated back to our ancestral homes in Uganda but given the high costs associated with the exercise that I have had opportunity to witness, there is increasing apathy among some communities members unwilling to contribute toward people they do not know hence the need for us to discuss a group Life Insurance policy for our Ugandan community.
One of the things I would like to propose is for each of us to reach out to our community leaders to help champion a Life Insurance Policy for Ugandans that is affordable and easy to obtain. Some communities like the Ugandan Association of Northern California, Gwanga Mujje Boston and some other Ugandan communities are on Board with schemes of their own but how about reaching out to a national company that can insure all Ugandans at a discount as a way to reduce on the burden of repatriating the remains of our community dead.
In the past I have held discussions with Mr. Kato Kajubi whose efforts I applauded for having encouraged the Gwanga Mujje Life Insurance Scheme. Others have also included Churches like The Global Life Insurance Initiative all aimed at benefiting our community. But hate the topic or NOT we all need to plan for our deaths and learn to execute our LAST WILL while we are still here with a sound mind. The recent deaths in our community have brought this subject into perspective for me. In one particular case, if the deceased had not listed her friend on her employment paperwork as their next of kin, perhaps the deceased’s family would never have found closure since she was not an active member of her community.
This is why I believe that the various Ugandan community associations need to come together and negotiate a group Insurance policy that we can sell within the community. And since the US laws allow for more than one Insurance Policy per Individual, a national insurance policy would greatly alleviate pressure on the community and also provide some residual income for would be immediate beneficiary family members.
Not exactly sure how other African or minority communities have handled this ever present challenge but as Ugandans, we can always start from somewhere and this would in turn lead to a great legacy for our Children. And though too many of us never talk about our own death, silently the majority of us would prefer repatriation of our remains back to our ancestral homes/villages.
These are the types of Insurances to consider based on your family situation.
Term Insurance – Form of Insurance that usually last for a certain period of time. (i.e. 30 year term) After term is over you have to replace ice. No cash value usually in the policy. Main types: Level
Face-where the face or insurance amount is the same throughout the period. Reducing Term-Usually coincides with mortgage or other personal debt. The policy face or insurance amount decreases over time, often based on debt obligations.
Whole Life -Type of insurance that you pay for your entire life. Level premiums and usually can borrow from cash value. An insurance that gives you the ability to have more insurance through the build-up of paid-up additions.
Universal Life – It is life insurance that is a Combination of Whole Life and Term. Can build cash value, but is usually not good for anything if it is allowed to lapse. Usually cheaper than whole life but can last a lifetime if funded properly and sold correctly.
Variable Universal Life – A policy that is made of term and separate accounts (not mutual funds) and has a designated face amount. Policies have either a level face or an increasing face. The premise of the policy is to hope that the separate accounts in the policy outperform the returns in the other types of policies mentioned above. The cash value is based on the market-based returns of the separate accounts in the policy minus any expenses of the policy. The prospectus as well as a quarterly statement will reveal the returns of the separate account.
Disclaimer: It is always better to consult a financial professional to determine what coverage is right for you.
The article includes some online research on the subject of Life Insurance!