Treasury Review

TREASURY REVIEW

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Darryl Smith, General Manager of the Heart of England Co-operative Society’s Funeral Division, Co-operative Funeralcare has welcomed the announcement that the Treasury is to conduct a review of pre-paid funeral plans, following concerns from consumer watchdog Fairer Finance.
The Call for Evidence, follows a report published by Fairer Finance last year, which revealed that relatives of those who have paid for funeral plans could potentially find themselves facing swinging costs where plans don’t cover the total cost of a funeral sometimes by as much as £2,000.

Its objective is to therefore evaluate whether the Financial Conduct Authority should play a role in regulating pre-paid funeral plans. Currently regulation comes under the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) which has limited powers.

The review comes at a time when the sale of pre-paid funeral plans is continuing to rise at an exponential rate. Indeed, according to the FPA, over 207,000 funeral plans were sold in 2017 – a figure set to rise this year.

Darryl Smith commented: “The sale of pre-paid funeral plans is continuing to grow for a number of reasons – rising funeral costs, a desire to ensure affairs are in order or simply as an alternative to traditional savings. We ourselves saw a rise of 36% in the number of plans sold on the previous year.

“Co-operative Funeralcare has always been absolutely committed to transparency and this is fully reflected on both its website and in all client documentation.

“However sadly this is not always the case where unscrupulous providers have taken advantage of vulnerable individuals selling policies which are simply not fit for purpose.
It is for this reason why greater regulation is required, not only in connection with the sale of pre-plans, but within the funeral industry as a whole.

“One of our key selling points of pre-paid funeral plans was the value they offered consumers.

“By investing in a pre-paid plan, which with us can be paid over 12, 24, 36 and 60 months, clients can protect themselves against the ever-increasing costs of funerals – which have doubled over 10 years – and can plan their funeral wishes. Their families will then be safe in the knowledge their loved ones’ funerals will be just the way they wanted them – whether a cremation or burial – down to the very last detail.”

For further information about pre-paid funeral plans log on to the Society’s dedicated website at heartofenglandfuneralcare.co.uk