Close the Gap: Starting the Conversation Around Sorry Business

Executive Director of Youpla, Isaac Simon (left) sitting with Youpla Ambassador, Jamal Idris (right).

21 May 2019

Close the Gap: Starting the Conversation Around Sorry Business

Former NRL superstar, Jamal Idris, is working with his brother to launch new and revamped, culturally relevant funeral products for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country.

The company, to be unveiled on National Close the Gap Day, 21 March 2019, will be called Youpla and is a rebrand of the former Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, also known as the ACBF Group.

ACBF is a 25-year-old funeral expenses benefit provider, with 95 per cent of its customer base being of Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Proud Worimi man, Isaac Simon and existing CEO, Bryn Jones purchased ACBF in December 2018. Both Isaac and Bryn each represent 50 per cent of the company.

The business is operated as a family affair, with Jamal, his mother Alana and Isaac all working together to provide culturally relevant funeral related expense products that consider and support the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as they navigate ‘sad news or sorry business’.

“Youpla to me is an empowering cultural message, founded upon trust, family and togetherness. Our claims process and how we support our members when a family member passes away is one of our most important, unique and valuable aspects of our business,”

Isaac said.

Isaac and Bryn have bright plans for the company and have spent the past six months travelling to communities to meet directly with their members and listen to their needs.

"The journey we've been on and the people we have met along the way are laying some great foundations for our future and we believe we've made some significant changes with this direct input from the community."​

Bryn said.

The company processes an average of 200 claims for funerals per year, with an average payout claim of $7,533.

We currently have over 17,000 members, with the highest proportion based in Queensland (47 per cent) and New South Wales (41 per cent).

"I have seen first hand too many of my own family members dying. It seems like every other day someone in our community or a community we know is attending sorry business,”​

Isaac said.

 Jamal said it was also important to remind the younger generation to not take risks and think they’re indestructible.

“You tend to think you’re bullet proof and push the boundaries. A lot of people sit there and think it’s not going to happen to them, but death doesn’t discriminate, it’s a certainty.

I guess I’m lucky as I grew up in a large Aboriginal family so we know what it’s like when someone passes. One thing you don’t want to leave behind is a burden,”

Jamal said.


This article is from Youpla Yarns. To read more like it, as well as other stories from the community, download the full version here:

Youpla Yarns Issue NO.1

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