Newly revealed data highlighting the scope of a failed funeral insurer’s predatory practices has led to calls for a resolution in this year’s upcoming federal budget.
Data released by Youpla’s liquidators showed over $174 million was paid to the company by over 100,000 customers since the insurer was established in 1992.
It also revealed Centrelink’s bill payment system Centrepay was relied on to collect fees, with $169 million paid to Youpla through the platform since 2001.
Youpla, also known as the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, actively targeted First Nations communities by marketing itself as an Indigenous owned business.
The government-approved insurer collapsed in March 2022, leaving thousands of Aboriginal policy holders without coverage, collectively losing millions.
Following the company’s collapse, the Save Sorry Business Coalition was established and has represented Indigenous communities across Australia.
The group has been seeking a resolution with the government for almost a year.
Wangkumara and Bakandji woman, Lynda Edwards from the the Save Sorry Business Coalition says repayments and added support would go a long way.
“A fair and culturally appropriate scheme would have options to cover those who need repayment, those who need a replacement funeral plan, and those who need a savings product.
“Financial counselling support would support each policyholder to make the right decisions for their situation,” she said.
Boandik woman and Aboriginal Financial Counsellor from Mob Strong Debt Help, Bettina Cooper says next months federal budget is a perfect opportunity to aid those effected by Youpla’s exploitation.
“First Nations people across Australia have been speaking out for decades about the terrible harm caused to their families by Youpla/ACBF. Instead of closing the gap, this has entrenched intergenerational poverty.
“This is an opportunity for the Federal Government to take a positive step towards closing the gap in relation to Outcomes One and Fourteen – life expectancy, financial wellbeing, and social and emotional health and wellbeing outcomes,” she said.