There have been recent changes to ACBF – see this page https://koorihelp.consumeraction.org.au/resources/
If you live in Victoria and you have an ACBF policy, we recommend you get advice urgently.
Call the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service 1800 064 865
Or Consumer Action Koori Help 1800 5744 457
‘Keeping Our Communities Safe’
What is happening with ACBF / Youpla?
In March 2022 the funeral insurance business called Youpla (which used to be called the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund or ACBF) went broke. This means that anyone who had a funeral policy with these funds won’t get the cost of their funeral covered.
Who is affected by this?
Anyone who has or had an ACBF or Youpla funeral policy is affected by this. We know that thousands of community members across Australia had this funeral insurance.
But wasn’t this a savings plan?
No. This business was selling a type of insurance. They only paid for a funeral if you kept paying your premiums. It was always a bad deal.
What are Liquidators and who is doing this for ACBF?
Liquidators are businesses that are appointed when a company has gone broke. They can distribute assets/money (if any) that the business still has. Liquidators have been appointed for ACBF and Youpla to see what can be done for people who have paid for funeral insurance.
The Liquidator for ACBF is David Stimson – SV Partners. You can contact SV Partners to find out what fund you were in and how much money you have paid.
Will I get any money back?
There is not enough money in any of the funds for people to get all of their money back. We are waiting to see how any leftover money will be distributed.
Why did this happen?
It is possible that some money was wrongly taken from at least one fund. The liquidators are investigating to find out why this happened. We will keep you updated but we don’t think the money will be returned any time soon, if at all.
This is so unfair. It will hurt community and our elders.
We agree. We are working with other agencies and ACCOs and community to campaign for the Federal Government to step in and cover the cost of funerals in community. We are in regular contact with the liquidators who keep us updated on what’s happening.
Does community know about this?
A lot of people won’t know about this yet. Share this info with your mob.
I had funeral insurance. What can I do now?
- Get some free legal advice
Call the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) on 1800 064 865.
Call Consumer Action’s Koori Help Line on 1800 574 457. We are expecting a lot of calls so if you can’t get through please leave a message and we’ll get back to you.
- Stop making payments!
The liquidators say that they will stop all direct debits. But you should double check this with your bank or Centrepay. The liquidator has said they will refund any direct debits taken after March 2022.
- Call the Liquidator (SV Partners)
Ask them what fund you were in and how much you’ve paid. Call (07) 3310 2005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Complain to the ombudsman
Complain to the ombudsman. They are called the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (afca.org.au/ and 1800 931 678). This will put your complaint on the record.
- You have a right to tell the government to make this RIGHT!
You can talk to your local Members of Parliament about this and get them to raise it with government. You might want to call First Nations MPs and Senators.If you want to share your story then we would love to hear from you. Contact – Mark Pearce, Media & Communications at Consumer Action email@example.com.
- Talk to a financial counsellor if you’re in financial hardship
Call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
What can I do to cover the cost of a funeral?
We can’t provide financial advice but here are some options to consider.
- If you can afford it, you might want to put money into a dedicated savings account, this is the best option. Or you might consider a pre-paid funeral or funeral bond. Talk to your family about this.
- If you have a superannuation account you might also have a form of life insurance, you should speak to your super fund about this.
The Moneysmart web site has some helpful information: moneysmart.gov.au/indigenous/paying-for-funerals
WARNING: Funeral insurance products only cover the cost of a funeral if you keep paying premiums. Don’t sign up for another funeral insurance fund without getting some advice from a financial counsellor.
If you have lost a loved one and you were expecting money from ACBF:
- Phone your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-op for support
- See a free financial counsellor to consider other options to pay.
I feel I need to talk to someone.
If you are feeling sad, angry, confused and lost and want to speak to a professional, there are services to talk to.
13YARN: 13 92 76
This is a national crisis support line for mob who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping. They offer a confidential one-on-one yarning opportunity with a Lifeline-trained Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter who can provide crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 13YARN empowers our community with the opportunity to yarn without judgement and provide a culturally safe space to speak about their needs, worries or concerns.
Lifeline: 13 11 14