New stokvel app rolls funeral cover and savings into one

You don’t suffer when other members of the stokvel fail to pay

Imbewu StokVest aims to meet the need to save and cover a funeral for those who don’t have savings or funeral cover.

Be very careful not to download anything but the legitimate app, or you run the risk of losing your money and personal information.
Be very careful not to download anything but the legitimate app, or you run the risk of losing your money and personal information.
Image: 123RF/ALLA MACHUTT

Stokvel members need funeral cover and people with funeral cover also have a need to save. Imbewu StokVest thinks it makes sense then to offer funeral cover and savings in a product that looks like a stokvel.

Imbewu StokVest is an app which works like a funeral stokvel that was launched recently by Kunene Makopo Risk Solutions (KMRS), a registered financial services provider that offers medical and short- and long-term insurance solutions to companies. 

While it doesn’t claim to be the first stokvel app, Imbewu StokVest aims to meet the need to save and cover a funeral for those who don’t have savings or funeral cover, KMRS spokesperson Bangi Makopo says. 

“Administration is simplified by the app. Payouts are automated and payment processes – be it failed payments or missed debits – can be managed by the user,” he says.

The app gives you three membership options based on monthly contribution rates of R175 (plan A), R550 (plan B) or R1,250 (plan C). 

Each plan comes with an annual payout and funeral cover for the main member, spouse and children up to the age of 25 (children aged 21-25 must be full-time students to enjoy cover). 

You also get a small benefit when a nominated member of your extended family dies. If you’re a member of plan A, you’ll get R1,000 to contribute towards the costs of your extended family member’s funeral. If you’re on plan B, you’ll get R2,000 and if you’re on plan C, R3,000. 

The cost of the funeral cover, which is underwritten by Assupol Life, is built into your monthly contribution to the stokvel. This explains the shortfall in your annual payout. For example, if you’re on plan A and contribute R175 a month for a year, you will be eligible for a payout of only R1,080 even though you would have contributed R2,100 over the course of the year. 

The funeral cover is not optional – it is part of the offering. Makopo says Imbewu is designed to appeal to the traditional “Masincwabisane” stokvel (or funeral stokvel) member. 

While Imbewu may not  be for a close-knit community like a traditional stokvel, one advantage is that you don’t suffer when other members of the stokvel fail to pay, as happens with a traditional stokvel.

At the virtual launch of the product recently, host and actor Thapelo Mokoena made this point: “With a traditional stokvel, if I don’t contribute and it’s your turn to receive, you lose out, which is not fair.”

Imbewu ensures you get a payout regardless of who else has paid but if you fail to make your own contributions consistently, your payout will be based on what you did contribute, Makopo says.

In spite of its name, Makopo says Imbewu StokVest should not be confused with an investment product. He says it is a savings solution that members should use as a tool to prepare for a future event.

All stokvels have a constitution, but you won’t find an Imbewu StokVest constitution online because Makopo says a stokvel constitution generally dictates the size of the contributions, when the accumulated money is to be paid out and the roles and responsibilities of the members. 

But Imbewu is in fact an insurance product, and KMRS will issue a policy document that details the legalities and description of the cover, Makopo says.

“This is what separates Imbewu StokVest from the traditional stokvel. Imbewu StokVest is a hybrid insurance product that brings secured savings and funeral cover together,” he says.

The app is not yet available in the iStore or Google Play Store and can only be downloaded off the Imbewu StokVest website: https://app.imbewustokvest.com/

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