This month’s funeral industry news round-up looks at the reason for the levelling out of pre-paid funeral plan sales and the latest major changes to cremation regulations in England and Wales.
Last year 207,700 pre-paid funeral plans were sold by third party providers, compared to 2016’s 210,000.
However, this is a huge jump from 2013 where 135,160 funeral plans were sold. The figures are now leveling out because the Funeral Planning Authority has further developed their protocol for third party sales practices and responsibilities, but there’s also been a jump in direct sales and funeral director sales.
The tighter FPA measures have come into place after Fairer Finance revealed consumers were put off by ‘pushy’ telesales and not realising that in most cases, the plan doesn’t cover the wake, funeral service, limousines and so on.
CEO of the FPA, Graeme McAusland, commented, “Our role is to protect consumer’s interest and ensure that registered providers and the third parties they work with are behaving in a way that delivers the best outcomes for consumers [...] We believe that the leveling of plan sales in 2017 is, at least in part, attributable to a renewed focus from us on third party sales.
On Friday 6th April this year a few major changes came into place with regards to cremations regulations.
The applicant (person who is arranging the funeral) can now electronically sign all forms rather than a hard copy. There is also a new section within the forms that allows the applicant to let everyone know what they want to do with the ashes after the cremation.
One of the most significant changes executed this year is the issue of ‘exceptional circumstances.’ If the applicant has abused, or even killed, the deceased and been convicted or imprisoned then the crematorium can hand over the ashes to another family member or friend. The move is a response to a small number of cases where such applicants have outright refused to give ashes to relatives, meaning loved ones go through unnecessary grief.
To see all amendments to the new cremation regulations, click here.