Category Archives: Insurance Based Plans

Clueless Funeral Arrangers: How Not To Mess Up A Funeral

Clueless Funeral Arrangers

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Most family members or friends who end up with the job as funeral arrangers are clueless.  Not because they are daft or inexperienced (though they probably will be inexperienced!)  It will be because they don’t have a clue what the deceased actually wanted to happen.  Four in ten don’t even know if they wanted to be buried or cremated.   As to the type of ceremony (or none) or who should be invited – not the faintest idea.  That means they fall easy prey to less scrupulous target driven undertakers who guilt trip the funeral arranger into buying needlessly expensive coffins, flowers, memorials .  A £3,500 funeral fee could easily be doubled – and leave the family in needless debt. A few hundred pounds on a posher coffin, limos for the family, a coach and horses and that could add £2,000 to the bill in minutes.

Over one 20% of people funeral arrangers were totally clueless about the deceased persons wishes! Just one in a hundred were confident they knew exactly what the deceased wanted. That uncertainty leaves room for stress, worry, guilt and family arguments as to the rights and wrongs of every part of the arrangements.

The average funeral in early 2016 cost £3,897.  That was an increase rise of over £203 in a single year. Since Sun Life started tracking funeral prices in 2004 costs have more than doubled. (Except for those families who had invested in a sound prepaid funeral plan of course.)  On top of the basic cost of the funeral, the average cost of extras including flowers and the wake is very nearly another £2,000.

So what should you make sure that your family funeral arranger will know when the time comes?

1. What sort of funeral do you want?
What songs you would like played.   Whom you would like invited.   You may not care about a lot of things like coffins or flowers or donations.  But you may.  And one of the great advantages of prepaid funerals is that they give you the opportunity to consider what is important to you. At the same time you are reducing the burden on the final funeral arranger.  Even if you don’t care, a firm decision makes things easier for those left behind.  You can always update your wishes as the years go by and things change, but what you won’t know is when they will be needed, so advance planning is clearly rather important!   Whether you want a sound but economical funeral or a more elaborate one, make the choice early. And pay for it of you can.

2. Consider the cost.
Some of your decisions will have no bearing on cost, but if you want a large crowd and a horse-drawn hearse, they will be expensive. It’s worth talking to us about a the cost, so you can see how much your ideal funeral will cost. If this comes in as far more expensive than you had expected, then you can compromise. Or start off with a basic prepaid funeral plan and add to it later, rather than let the burden fall on your family.

3. How you will pay for it.
Insurance companies would have you take a stab in the dark and buy a fixed cash value policy, which may be worth half as much in 7 years and just a sixth of the value in 20 years.  Funeral cost inflation has been consistently high.  Not only that but with many policies you will lose
every penny if a couple of payments are missed.  And that is very likely to happen when you are older and finances are stretched.  Worse still you may end up paying in more than you get out.  Or with the “guarantee” that you will never pay out less than you have paid in. So in effect, you have lent them your money interest free for thirty years!

4. Talk to your family.
Once you have thought through your wishes, and what you can afford.   Then you can tell your family about your ideal funeral. It won’t always be an easy conversation, but it is an important one, and they will be the funeral organisers at the end of the day.  Good funeral plans are flexible though!

Funeral Plan Enquiry

Funeral arrangers – use our enquiry form to the right.

Express Crusader on Over 50s Insurance

The Daily Expresses Crusader lays into Over 50’s “Funeral” Insurance Plans

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Over 50s Insurance plans are the same, but many insurance based “funeral” plans can prove to be appalling value for money.  Here is a little of what the Crusader had to say (or read the whole article) followed by our recommendations.

“Funeral plan costs: Beware paying more than you will get back

Ageing parents by-and-large prefer not to rake over plans they made years ago to cover their funeral costs.
But their decisions can look very different to their offspring.

Two complaints to Crusader reveal the outrage adult children can feel on discovering how much their mum or dad is paying for a plan compared to the final sum due.

Paul W’s parents signed up to a policy 17 years ago when they were in their early 50s paying £30 a month. So far they have contributed over £12,000 but each plan will only pay £2,240 each when they die.

Andrew S’s mum Joan is in a similar position in that she agreed to a £10-a-month plan after his dad died in 2000.  Now 84 she cannot remember whether she saw an ad and contacted a company, or she was cold-called, but the sale involved a phone conversation after which she was sent papers that she signed and returned.

Joan has contributed £1,800 and when she dies it will pay £1,280.

If Paul’s parents or Joan cancel their premiums, all benefit is lost.

The terms are fixed too.

The policies’ descriptions, “whole-of-life, non-unit linked” mean little to the holders and scarcely more to their children who, perhaps understandably from their parents’ perspective, were not part of the decision-making.”   We at the Prepaid Funeral Review agree wholeheartedly with the Crusaders verdict on Over 50s Insurance.

We believe that a proper prepaid funeral plan is the best:

At the Prepaid Funeral Review, we strongly believe that a proper prepaid funeral plan is the best way to go if you can possibly afford it.   With starter plans available for less than £20 a month, most families can afford to start making at least some provision for a family funeral.  The beauty of that particular plan is that it can be used when any member of the family dies, so it is fully transferable.   It is not designed to pay for everything, but it will make a darn good contribution, and substantially cut the cost and worry to those left behind.

Buying Over 50s insurance may result in your paying in more than your family get out (never mind inflation) or losing the lot if you miss payments.  Prepaid plans are much better in every respect than poor value Over 50s life insurance.

Why not contact us today and find out more?

Over 50’s life cover

That’s also meant for living….

This is a press release on Over 50’s life cover from Engage Mutualcontact us to see if their product may be suitable for you. Here goes:

Being able to claim on your over 50s life cover policy whilst still alive isn’t the norm.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

But since introducing the option to claim a cash lump sum on diagnosis of either a serious or terminal illness on its guaranteed over 50s life cover, Engage Mutual anticipates that it will soon be paying out to its policyholders on this basis.

“The terminal and serious illness option on the plan provides real financial help when most needed, while the client is still alive,” explains sales director, Maria Harris.

“With the two year moratorium on the first policies sold now at an end, we are expecting to start receiving claims through for cash lump sums from clients who find themselves in this situation.  They should provide a welcome financial helping hand at a time they might need it most.”

Policyholders diagnosed with a terminal illness after the end of the moratorium period, which applies in the first two years of the plan, can claim the full sum assured, in which case the policy would close. Those diagnosed with a serious illness after the moratorium period can claim 20% of the full sum assured.  The serious illness benefit can be claimed once, leaving 80% of the sum assured available in the event of a terminal illness diagnosis, or to be paid on death.

Engage offers cover levels up to £40,000; a wide range of premiums from £10 to £75 per month dependent on the sum assured; and maximum accidental death benefit of £48,000 (the policy pays out three times the level of cover to a maximum payout of £48,000 if death occurs in the first two years solely as the result of an accident).

The plan is currently the only one of its kind to offer customers the flexibility to claim a cash lump sum should they be diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, at no extra cost to them. It continues to offer guaranteed acceptance without a medical, affordable premiums and a simple application process.

Providing access to a cash lump sum at a time of crisis can help alleviate money worries and assist with any practical changes that may need to be made at home.

In addition, the plan includes free access to a personal nurse adviser in the event of serious or terminal illness, offered as part of a range of free services provided by Engage Health Support.

Maria Harris continued:

“This is an over 50s life cover plan with a difference. It provides extra reassurance, and for the first time it offers benefits to the insured, as well as their families. It is there to support clients and their loved ones when serious or terminal illnesses can suddenly hit and options need to be considered.”

Advisers have given a ‘thumbs up’ for the clarity of the product, and complimented the fact that the serious illness benefit option can be easily applied.

Engage Mutual’s Guaranteed 50 Plus Life Cover also offers access to a free independent long term care advice service from one of the UK’s leading independent care advisers.

Over 50 Insurance Report By Mintel

Over 50 Insurance Whole of Life Insurance 2012.

Over 50 insurance formed part of the report by Mintel covering the Whole of Life insurance market in the UK.  Folk who have explored this site will be aware that we are not keen on the type of insurance badged as Over 50s Insurance: why would anyone want a plan which typically has:

  1. No cash value if you can no longer afford premiums.
  2. Pays out a fixed amount which will fall further and further behind with normal and funeral inflation.  Some offer inflation options, but from what we have seem they can be very expensive.
Over 50’s Insurance exploits a loophole in the Financial Services Authorities pathetic regulation of the financial services and typifies there extremely odd approach to destroying innovation and ignoring rather important issues such as Payment Protection Insurance for over 20 years.  Most of the Over 50’s policies sold are a type of whole life policy which Financial Services Authority allow to be sold unregulated.  This has allowed the fantasy to build up that a non-profit whole of life policy is appropriate for funeral planning when they are clearly not.   More appropriate types of whole life policy are available, though their effectiveness has been massively damaged by Regulatory interference.

This is Mintels introduction to their report.

“Despite economic uncertainty the whole of life market has performed relatively well, helped in part by the growing popularity of guaranteed acceptance plans for the over 50s. During 2011, the number of new policy sales increased by around 19%. The value of new business also increased during the same period, albeit at a slower rate of 8.6% – as competition among insurers and usage of price comparison sites has increased.

The ageing UK population means that providers have an expanding target market, while the desire to protect and leave an inheritance for family remains strong among consumers. Funeral planning will become increasingly important in the future, as price inflation could leave bereaved families exposed following a loved one’s death. As a result, demand for guaranteed acceptance plans should increase as customers take steps to plan their financial future, rather than ignoring the taboo subject of death.

However, there are several challenges facing the industry. Regulatory changes could have a big impact on insurers’ profit margins and future premiums prices. The ECJ gender ruling will push up prices for female clients and could have an impact on product uptake among this demographic. In addition, the RDR may have an effect on distribution and access to advice, although, this will have a less pronounced effect in the over-50s market.

This report examines the whole of life market with particular focus on the guaranteed acceptance plan sector. It provides a detailed analysis of the over-50s life insurance market and some of the main issues currently facing product providers. There is a full breakdown of market size in terms of volume and value, with a forecast showing the expected growth in the next five years. Recent innovations and distribution trends are also analysed. The final sections of this report examine the over-50s consumer, looking at product ownership, purchase triggers and general financial planning for the future.”

Over 50 Insurance.

Sun Life Defend Over 50s Plan

 Sun Life Defend Over 50s Plan

At Sun Life Direct we pride ourselves on putting our customers first.  So we want to share with you our thoughts on some recent television publicity about Over 50s life insurance, and maybe set the record straight.

We know that peace of mind is important to our customers.  With an estimated 100,000 people* in the UK finding it hard to pay for a funeral, plans like our Guaranteed Over 50 Plan can be an affordable way for many people to help towards these costs.

Our Guaranteed Over 50 Plan is a life assurance plan, not a savings plan, so the key thing it gives our customers is certainty that a fixed cash sum will be available when it’s needed.

The majority of our customers pay in less than is paid out when they pass away, and we work hard to ensure people know what they are buying.  We have consistently high research scores for understanding and customer service.  Our claimant research also shows very high levels of satisfaction among our customers’ loved ones.

If you’ve got any questions about recent television coverage of the life insurance industry we’d be delighted to hear from you by phone, email, or in writing.

Thank you.

Sun Life Direct

Prepaid Funeral Review comments: “Over 50s plans have their place, but it is far more limited than their sellers would have you believe.  If you have an Over 50s plan, you should keep it but add a proper prepaid funeral plan.  The Over 50s plan will then provide cash to help with non funeral expenses such as probate.”

 Sun Life Defend Over 50s Plan.

*Total Cost of Dying Report 2011 (Sun Life Direct.)