(This is an interesting article – what it doesn’t emphasise is how important it is to get Independent advice on funeral plans – and we don’t think there is anyone who can match us in that respect!)
The State of The Funeral Plan Market.
Some openly aired criticism of the funeral planning industry is fair, appropriate and deserved. In fact harsh criticism in any industry is healthy, as it allows a sector to develop regulation to further improve its standards. Conversely, though, some of the over-exuberant and rather unattractive ‘bandwagon’ jumping, that the industry has witnessed particularly from some quarters of late – really hasn’t been helpful at all.
Golden Leaves Managing Director, Barry Floyd criticized media reporting of late, claiming that some journalists should be ashamed of themselves for publishing articles, some of which were so poor, that they were bordering on “Sensationalist and scaremongering”
“It is a very sad day indeed when we see the general public being confused by a combination of poor, sensationalist and inaccurate reporting, shambolic radio shows and widespread confusion in terms of media content, as to the differences between the pre-need product and the poor value funeral insurance product. Does that mean that Golden Leaves or indeed most of the industry as a whole, is guilty of poor quality standards whilst delivering an unstable, unsustainable or poor value for money product to its clients – frankly, of course it doesn’t.
Our industry was founded by companies with pedigree, ethics and consumer protection at their very core and many of those companies still exist today and are just as reputable as they were decades ago. Golden Leaves has been pivotal in the development of the funeral planning industry since its inception in the early 1980s (being founder members of both the NAPFP and the FPA) and with this historical positioning in mind, we firmly believe that we are in a particularly credible position to deliver, quality, standards, valued products accompanied by impeccable heritage and pedigree. Golden Leaves has always had an intensely customer focused view of what constitutes appropriate sales practices and behaviour.
We refuse to work with far more sales partners than we agree to and this is testament to our robust compliance and on-boarding programmes. This fundamental approach by the brand has been clearly underpinned by a constant leadership team at Golden Leaves over the last eight years, whilst nearly all other mainstream planning companies have had several major officer appointment changes during that same period and some have even had a number of ownership changes. All this at a stage in the sector’s evolution, when it has experienced significant growth, most of which has been achieved by generating interest and sales outside of the funeral home, a channel that nearly all plan providers operate in.”
Since 2009, Golden Leaves has experienced meteoric growth that has seen its sales outstrip the performance increase of the FPA registered market over the same period by almost 400 per cent. The company’s market share has also increased to the highest point in the company’s history.
“All this growth has occurred at a time when increased market participants, operating across more varied distribution channels have made competition in the sector fierce. We are proud to say that even during these times of accelerated growth, we have not lost sight of our core principles. Our customer satisfaction rate is 99.8 percent based on our level of complaints compared against our level of sales. This is not to say that we are perfect. No brand operates without the occasional hiccup and this is why we vehemently support the increasing of the rigidity of the regulatory framework and governance provided by the FPA. Although all planning companies operate differing models, we believe that there should be a base level of quality and standards for all companies to at least achieve.”
The Golden Leaves Trust fund is fast approaching £100,000,000 with a surplus running at over 20 per cent surplus over its liabilities. It’s board of Trustees have significant backgrounds in both the field of consumer protection, trading standards and the world of financial investments; underpinning this are their investment banks Julius Baer (the world’s most capitalised bank) who have also just won the EUROMONEY award as the ‘World’s best bank for Wealth Management’ and Quilter Cheviot, one of the largest UK Investment banks that have been at the forefront of the investment sector for over 240 years.
“All Golden Leaves funeral plan funds are either placed into an insurance that is FCA regulated or an FPA regulated Trust fund providing security of funds to all of our clients. This is a position certainly not enjoyed by some other planning companies. So standing out from the sector is Golden Leaves, a company with an impeccable history and heritage. We believe we deliver a market leading product, secure and competitively priced, that protects our clients at the time of need whilst delivering significant peace of mind for their next of kin. We place our clients (our Golden Leaves) at the heart of everything we do, which is one of the reasons that our brand, that took over thirty years to build, is so trusted.”
This article was first published in the Funeral Service Times.