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How to Find A Lost Funeral Plan

find lost insurance policy

How do I find a lost funeral insurance?

Finding a lost funeral plan after death is not straightforward. Much better to get the ducks in a row earlier, as actions you take after death just could invalidate an otherwise perfectly good plan. But if you are looking at this, it is probably too late. 

Typically, the aged parent has said that they have a funeral plan, but no one has pinned them down as to what it was – or they just can’t remember.

Here is what to do to find details of that elusive funeral plan, ideally in advance:

  1. Obviously, check through the paperwork for a funeral plan (or more likely for older people, an insurance policy).
  2. Check bank statements for payments to funeral plan or insurance companies. For funeral plans, payment may have been in one go, many years ago.   For insurance policies, the older type pre-regulation policies may have been made paid up with a value, so payments could have stopped decades ago.   For the awful post regulation policies often with no cash value, a policy may well be valueless if it is a non-profit whole of life, and a few missed payments mean everything is lost.  But still worth asking.
  3. If that fails, you can check for lost insurance policies (etc) on the Unclaimed Assets Register https://www.uar.co.uk/ or ring 0333 000 0182 – you may even turn up some other assets! The biggest seller of Over 50’s Plans is Axa Sun Life on  0800 008 6060 though there are dozens of others as over 500,000 a year take out these insurances.  See our review.
  4. For lost funeral plans, the only central point to check is the Funeral Planning Authority, but not all funeral plan companies are members. However, you could cross check against their members and the list of companies we review.

How to avoid having a lost Funeral Plan:

    • Make sure your family knows about your plan, whether it be a proper prepaid plan or a life insurance policy, and how to claim on it as doing the wrong thing may invalidate it.
    • Ensure both you and your family fully understand what is paid for and what is not covered.  We never cease to be amazed by the number of people buying plans over the phone without seeing the full terms and conditions.
    • Always have the paperwork with other important documents in a designated folder that the family can find easily.
    • Never pay for a funeral plan in cash as there is less of a record of payment.
    • When moving house, tell your funeral plan provider. The cost may vary in the new area with some plans.

Dignity Funerals Declare War!

Dignity Funeral Plans, like all of the major players in the prepaid funeral plan market have been significantly affected by the large number of new entrants into the funeral plan market, some with very aggressive sales techniques. But Dignity are fighting back to maintain their market share, and the first salvo was the dramatic price reduction until 30th April 2019. They have also formulated a 3 year plan to fend off the invaders (not quite their words!) Why not contact us to see if a Dignity Plan would be right for you? More on their plans here.

Mike McCollum, Chief Executive of Dignity plc, commented:

“2018 marked the beginning of a period of radical change for Dignity. We reduced our funeral prices, created a broader range of choices for clients and embarked on plans to transform the business by the end of 2021.

Our vision is to lead the funeral sector in terms of quality, standards and value-for-money. To achieve this we are building a more coherent, cohesive and technology-enabled business, one geared to meeting the changing needs of our customers. I am pleased with the progress we made during the year, we built momentum and our Transformation Plan is on track. A lot of work remains to be done, but I am confident that with our highly experienced staff and the new transformation expertise we have brought in, we will achieve our goals.

2019 is likely to mark the start of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (‘CMA’s) investigation into our industry. Our surveys demonstrate that the majority of clients assume the funeral industry is regulated, when it is not. Some may assume that they will receive the same quality of service from different operators irrespective of price. They will not. I am proud that underpinning all of the changes we are making to our business is a continued, relentless commitment to the highest levels of client service. This commitment makes me confident that we have the quality necessary to achieve our ambition of getting ahead of the competitive curve, leading the industry and providing sustainable growth.”

Preliminary results for the 52 week period ended 28 December 2018

Dignity plc (Dignity, the Company or the Group), the UK’s only listed provider of funeral related services, announces its preliminary results for the 52 week period ended 28 December 2018.

Financial highlights52 week period ended 28 December 201852 week period ended 29 December 2017Increase / (decrease) per cent
Revenue (£million)315.6324.0(3)
Underlying operating profit (£million)80.2104.6(23)
Underlying profit before tax (£million)54.477.8(30)
Underlying earnings per share (pence)85.8128.3(33)
Underlying cash generated from operations (£million)101.9115.4(12)
Operating profit (£million)66.398.0(32)
Profit before tax (£million)40.571.2(43)
Basic earnings per share (pence)63.0115.8(46)
Cash generated from operations (£million)94.9112.5(16)
Interim dividend paid in the period (pence)8.648.64
Final dividend proposed in respect of the period (pence)15.7415.74
Deaths599,000590,0002

Alternative performance measures

All measures marked as underlying in the table above and throughout this Preliminary Announcement are alternative performance measures. The reasons for the Group’s use of alternative performance measures, definitions and where relevant, reconciliations are provided in the section on alternative performance measures at the end of this announcement.

Key points

  • Number of deaths as expected;
  • Comparable funeral market share increased slightly following significant declines in 2016 and 2017;
  • Simple funeral pricing reset;
  • Unbundled funeral replacing full service package;
  • Simplicity service offering expanded;
  • Transformation team in place;
  • 3 year detailed Transformation Plan established;
  • Good performance from crematoria; and
  • Pre-need environment remains challenging.

Pay Monthly Funeral Plans?

Monthly Payment Funeral Plans – what is available?

Most funeral plans allow monthly payments to be spread over 12 months, some over 24 months and some even longer – with no interest! Not that you will see interest mentioned these days, it will be called an “admin fee.”

But you must pay off in full within the interest-free period or the “admin fee” will be backdated but if it turns out that you can’t afford a full plan just now, there are alternatives.

As you will see, some monthly plans can be paid off over as long as 40 years – though you have to be under 50 to be allowed that long!  Always bear in mind that funeral costs seem to continue to rise far faster than normal inflation – or savings!

You can always set up a partial plan – everything helps!

pay monthly funeral plansEven if you can’t afford to pay the full costs of a monthly funeral plan, you can at least relieve those left behind of a part of the cost of paying for your funeral with a plan which just covers the funeral directors fees and not the third party costs such as crematorium, minister, interment (digging the grave for burial). The cost of a burial plot is not in a funeral plan as they vary from a few hundred pounds to well over ten thousand pounds.

Avoid Over 50s Insurance Plans.

The temptation is to go for one of the Over 50s insurance plans where every penny can be lost if a few instalments are missed at any time.  We accept that they have a place in the market, but we doubt if many ever pay out enough to pay for a funeral, assuming they are not cancelled accidentally before then.

In terms of cost per month, depending on your age, costs can be from £14 to £20 a month for a very basic plan. One plan is £6.25 a month for a 50-year-old – but it is insurance based and you have to pay every month until you are 90 (or die before then!) But at least it guarantees a funeral, even though very basic.

But I have a Deposit

Some companies insist on a minimum deposit, but the bigger the deposit, the lower the monthly contribution.  With current interest rates (Feb 2019) you won’t be earning much interest on savings accounts, and funeral costs are rising far more rapidly, so a funeral plan is a better “investment” for most people.

How low can monthly premiums be?

This depends on which plan is the best fit for you (remember, we are independent, so look for the best deal for you) and your age.  Most monthly plans are over a maximum of 10 years, with one or two going to 15 years or even longer.  But most insist that the plan is paid in full by the age of 85.

Contact us on 0800 0588 240 or use the enquiry form to the right – we promised no hard sell, just honest, independent advice.

Independent Advice Needed on Funeral Plans

and that is where we come in! No pressure, just Independent Advice. Here is an article from Golden Leaves:

Most Middle Aged Consumers prefer to purchase Funeral Planning products away from the Funeral Home!

New research by Funeral Planning firm, Golden Leaves, has revealed that the majority [62%] of middle-aged consumers, aged 50 – 65, and over 46% of consumers over 66 years of age believe funeral plans should be purchased alongside other ‘later-life planning’ products, such as a Will, rather than purchased via a Funeral Home.

The survey, which questioned 1,050 consumers between the ages of 50 and 85 on their perceptions of the funeral planning sector, also revealed that over a third [35%] of consumers aged 50 – 65 felt anxious or distressed with the idea of having to visit a funeral parlour in order to purchase a funeral plan.

This behaviour was confirmed by the fact 65% of respondents within this age bracket who had purchased a plan, had done so via a Funeral Planning firm, Will writer, Financial Advisor or Legal Services company.

Conversely, in analysing the responses from consumers aged 66 – 85, both consumer behaviour towards purchasing the product, and perception towards funeral parlours, does change with age.

Results show that over half [54%] of consumers between the ages of 66 – 85 didn’t believe that funeral plans needed to be associated with ‘later life’ planning products, where a massive 84%advised they didn’t feel anxious or concerned with having to purchase a funeral plan directly from a funeral business.

The research, therefore, demonstrates that although middle-aged consumers understand the important role of a funeral plan, they would feel more comfortable in purchasing it as part of the ‘later-life’ planning process via a dedicated firm or financial advisor; where the vast majority of more elderly consumers expressed no concern at having to enter a funeral parlour, confirmed by the fact 55% of 66 – 85 year old’s advised they had or would purchase a funeral plan from a Funeral Director.

On discussing the research, Barry Floyd, Managing Director of Golden Leaves, said:

“This latest research is extremely telling and very much aligns with Golden Leaves’ experience of consumer behaviour associated with the purchase of funeral plans spanning the last decade at least.”

“For many people, entering a Funeral Parlour can seem a finite and scary experience, yet they understand the importance of having a Funeral Plan in place to avoid burdening their loved ones with associated costs. Ultimately, for consumers in the 50 – 65 age demographic, aligning funeral plans with other ‘later-life’ planning products, such as will writing, is a natural association that focuses on the importance of maintaining control, whilst removing it from a morbid funeral parlour environment.”

Other key take outs from the survey include:

  • Despite the age bracket of consumers surveyed, just 65% confirmed they had written a will, with just 24% advising they had purchased Life Insurance.
  • 46% of respondents believe that the average funeral costs between £2,000 – £4,000, with 44% of respondents believing the average funeral to cost between £4,000 – £6,00
  • 51% of respondents thought the average Funeral Plan costs between £10 – £25 per month, with 37% believing plans to cost between £25 – £50 per month.

Barry continued:

“Considering the current political appetite to potentially reform the regulation around the funeral planning product, it is important that HM Treasury and policy makers understand that careful consideration needs to be applied when constructing any new regulatory framework.”

“The majority of middle-aged consumers and even 46% of consumers aged 66 – 85 would rather associate funeral plans with later-life planning, as opposed to the somewhat scary environment of a funeral parlour, which means funeral plan providers and other estate planning, will-writing,   financial or legal representatives need to be able to offer these products to fulfil the clear and considerable consumer demand.”

“The growth witnessed by the sector over the last decade, has been largely delivered by consumers buying from funeral planning companies and their reselling agent networks amongst other non-funeral-based distributers. This has actually led to increased market competition, effectively driving costs down whilst keeping operational standards high in order to attract and benefit consumers.”

As one of the first to introduce the funeral plan product to the UK market, Golden Leaves are widely recognised as being one of the UK’s oldest and most reputable Funeral Planning companies.

Chairman of Golden Leaves, Steve Rowland added: “Golden Leaves are supportive of increased regulation but we firmly believe that it should not reduce consumer choice, increase costs for the consumer, or distort the market in such a way that delivers poor consumer outcomes.”

Financial Conduct Authority Concerns On Over 50s Life Cover

Much to our shock, more than 30 years after we became aware of the issue, the FCA has published warnings on the unsuitability of Over 50s lIfe cover as funeral plans. We assume due to the lack of inflation proofing and the issue of no cash value if payments are missed.

Misleading Financial Promotion for Over 50s Life Cover.

The financial promotions team of the Financial Conduct Authority have seen promotions for Life Policies for the over-50s life cover where we believe consumers could be misled into thinking they are buying a policy that will cover their funeral costs. Proceeds of these policies can be used for payment of, or towards, the cost of a funeral. However, it is important that, if a firm’s promotion refers to funerals and associated costs, consumers are not misled into believing they are buying a funeral plan that will cover their funeral costs in full.

Over-50s Life policies are widely promoted through various media channels, including television advertisements. They guarantee to provide Life Cover for the over-50s without the need for customers to have a medical examination. If a firm’s promotion includes product features or benefits, these must be presented in a fair, clear, and non-misleading way taking into account the target audience.

In November 2012, the Association of British Insurers published ‘Initial Guidance on Over 50s plans)’ which providers of these plans may wish to refer to when designing their promotions.

We (the Financial Conduct Authority) expect all promotions to be fair, clear and not misleading in line with COBS 4.2.1R and PRIN 7.

The Association of British Insurers published similar guideance many years earlier onthe subkect of over 50s life cover:

Misleading Financial Promotion for Over 50s Life Cover

The financial promotions team have seen promotions for Life Policies for the over-50s where we believe consumers could be misled into thinking they are buying a policy that will cover their funeral costs. Proceeds of these policies can be used for payment of, or towards, the cost of a funeral. However, it is important that, if a firm’s promotion refers to funerals and associated costs, consumers are not misled into believing they are buying a funeral plan that will cover their funeral costs in full.

Over-50s Life policies are widely promoted through various media channels, including television advertisements. They guarantee to provide Life Cover for the over-50s without the need for customers to have a medical examination. If a firm’s promotion includes product features or benefits, these must be presented in a fair, clear, and non-misleading way taking into account the target audience.