LOCAL funeral assurance firm, Claremont Funeral Services, says it has expanded its repatriation business portfolio into a number of regional countries as demand for its services spiked due to Covid-19 related deaths.
Managing director, Mr Desire Muloyiwa, said in an interview the company had seen a growth on its claims portfolio, particularly the repatriation business, following the establishment of branches in most Southern African countries.
“We used to operate mainly between Zimbabwe and South Africa with the main (service offered) being repatriation, but our wings have since been spread to other countries in Southern Africa.
“We are repatriating bodies to and from countries like Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Mr Muloyiwa, adding plans are afoot to cover the whole of Africa and beyond.
He said due to the overwhelming demand for the firm’s services due to Covid-19 related deaths, Claremont had joined hands with similar service providers in host countries to ensure smooth repatriation of bodies.
“Due to the increase in deaths owing to Covid-19 cases, at times we join forces with similar service providers in various countries in terms of repatriating the human remains from places of death to the rightful burial places in their countries,” he said.
The company has reportedly been repatriating more than 120 bodies per week within the region.
“The ‘end of life industry’ has been overwhelmed in the past two years and this has exerted much pressure on our operations both internally and externally,” he said.
Mr Muloyiwa, however, urged people to receive vaccination jabs and to take serious precaution against the pandemic as a lot of lives had been lost to the disease while hundreds of thousands of people had fallen ill to the disease .
Claremont Funeral Services was established in 2019 as Gamuchidzo Funeral Services before it was rebranded in 2020.
It is emerging as one of the leading players in the funeral industry.
Millions of Zimbabweans live and work in neighbouring countries and when death strikes, the majority of them want to be buried back home.
It is only under desperate circumstances that some people working far afield in countries like the US, Britain, Russia and China among others, that some family members decide to bury their relatives in such countries mainly due to financial constraints to fund bodies’ repatriation.