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sun life plan review

Funeral Plan Sales rise 12%

The Funeral Planning Authority has announced that prepaid funeral plan sales have risen to a total of 135,160 in the last year.   This is a big rise on the sales of 120,731 recorded in 2012. We suspect that in subsequent years the figures will be much higher as prepaying for your own funeral becomes a natural event to protect those left behind.

Funeral Plans becoming the norm.

In some countries, most funerals are organised via prepaid funeral plans, but the UK has been a bit slow off the mark.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

There are now in excess of 860,000 prepaid funeral plans in existence a figure which is growing rapidly as more and more people take out funeral plans as they hit their 50s.  Last year just over 57,000 funerals where arranges for folk who had taken the wise precaution of taking out a prepayment funeral plan.  These figures don’t cover funeral plan firms which are not regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority, and there are major sales teams who are outside and thus not included in the figures.

As independent Funeral Plan advisers, we know that the plans differ wildly, and the best way to get a plan which is the most suitable for you is not to talk to lots of funeral plan salespeople  and try to read between the lines, it is to contact us.  We are INDEPENDENT and we are on your side.

Over 50’s “Funeral Plans” Sales boom, sadly!

Insurance linked “funeral plans” continue to vastly outsell proper funeral plans which actually do prepay funerals rather than just provide a lump sum of cash which has been eaten away by inflation.

Why?  Because people don’t understand the market.  Most over 50’s plans are insurance contract pure and simple, and they can be sold without advice as they don’t have a cash value.  In most cases, you could miss a payment or two as you ill, and the cover (and all the money paid in) has gone.

To quote Martin Lewis in The Telegraph:

He’s a lovely man, that Parky – just don’t listen to him when it comes to insurance. Michael Parkinson’s caring voice-over makes Axa Sun Life’s Over-50s Plan seem simple, yet for many it’s a seriously bad bet. You wouldn’t buy a lottery ticket if it cost more than the jackpot, but the two million people with these types of policies risk doing just that.

You may have gathered we think these plans should be very much a last resort, and they are certainly no substitute for a proper prepaid funeral plan, which is designed to prepay all or most of the funeral costs.  But do click on the link above if you are still tempted, and read more about Over 50’s plans.


Funeral Plan Sales Soaring

Funeral Plan Sales Soaring as cost of dying beats inflation.

– More than £374 million invested in pre-paid plans in 2012.

– Customers protected from funeral inflation as average cost hits £3,300.

Rising funeral inflation is helping drive sales of pre-paid funeral plans which hit record levels last year as total sales climbed seven per cent, analysis from the Funeral Planning Authority and independent funeral plan company Golden Charter shows.

Nearly 121,000 pre-paid funeral plans were sold in the UK last year – around 8,000 up on 2011 – and providers are confident of continuing strong growth this year. The total number of plans in force in the UK climbed 10 per cent to around 760,000 from 693,000 in 2011 with 51,000 plans paying out in 2012, Funeral Planning Authority figures show.

With average prices for pre-paid plans from Golden Charter running at £3,100 sales last year the company estimated the total market to be worth around £374 million with more than £2 billion now invested in the plans in total.

Leading independent funeral plan company Golden Charter believes concern about rising funeral costs is driving sales in total but is also seeing a switch to independent funeral directors as families look for more personal service.

Funeral Plans protect against Funeral Inflation running at 7%

Average costs of funerals are estimated to be £3,300* with inflation in funeral costs running at around 7 per cent a year – more than double other inflation measures across the economy of 2.7 per cent.

Customers buying pre-paid plans are protected against inflation and benefit from peace of mind knowing their family will be able to pay for a funeral no matter how long far into the future.

Golden Charter, which saw its own sales rise by over 8,000 last year to take it to around 30 per cent market share, says the average customer buying a plan is 73 years old. Rising longevity with the average 65-year-old man living 18 more years and the average 65-year-old woman living 20 years means they can lock in the cost of a funeral now.

The Funeral Planning Authority, the self-regulatory body for the industry, urges customers to ensure they use registered providers as the FPA’s main purpose is to help protect the interests of customers of plan providers registered with it.

Golden Charter Managing Director Ronnie Wayte said: “The growth of the pre-paid funeral plan market is being driven by a growing recognition that costs of funerals are climbing and that customer’s need protection. To a generation who remain sceptical about complex investment products the simplicity and transparency of pre-paid plans is very appealing.”

Funeral Planning Authority Chief Executive Stuart Harland commented “Indeed, there continues to be substantial growth in the funeral planning market but each new person considering buying a funeral plan needs to be vigilant. There is a range of funeral plan providers registered with the FPA, each offering a choice of funeral plan to new customers. These FPA Registered providers voluntarily subject themselves to the scrutiny of the FPA’s independent Compliance Committee whose role is to help protect the interests of customers. Anyone contemplating buying a funeral plan from a provider not registered with the FPA needs to first ask themselves why they would not take advantage of the scrutiny offered by the FPA’s Compliance Committee.”

Pre-paid funeral plan prices are rising with providers expected to put up costs to reflect funeral inflation this year. Currently Golden Charter offers a variety of plans that cater for different budgets and requirements.

Last year Independent firms held around 42 per cent of the funeral plan market with corporate providers such as the Co-Op and Dignity accounting for the rest. Combining totals published by the ONS and the Scottish Government reveals that there were 538,048** deaths in Great Britain in 2011.

Co-Op Funeralcare reported that they carried out 100,000, funerals while Dignity accounted for a further 62,300 leaving over 375,000 – nearly 70 per cent of the total 538,048 deaths in Great Britain – carried out by independents.

Ronnie Wayte added: “Because of their well-known brand many people assume that the Co-operative carry out almost all funerals. The statistics prove that the reverse is actually true and local independents are still chosen by an overwhelming majority of families.”

Similar in structure to that of a mutual society, Golden Charter is owned by and run for the benefit of its members – Independent Funeral Directors. Being governed in this way, means that all surpluses are used to support these independent funeral directors or paid to the Golden Charter Trust to the benefit of plan holders and the funeral directors.


For INDEPENDENT advice on which funeral plan is best for YOUR needs, contact us at the Prepaid Funeral Review.

* The Sun Life Direct Cost of Dying Survey 2012

** ONS and Scottish Government 2011 figures

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.)

Insurance Funeral Plans SLAMMED by Daily Mail & Which?

The Daily Mail & Which? Slam Insurance Funeral Plans

“The insurance funeral plans that pay out LESS than you’ve saved”

goes the headline.   The implication of the article is that insurance funeral plans are poor value and you would be better off saving in a building society.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

There is certainly an element of truth in that.   The problem is that if you save £10 a month for 2 years plus a day, and then die, you would have saved £240 with a few pence interest. That won’t even buy the casket!  If you had bought a “bad value” insurance based plan, you would have created a payout of around £2,000 which might pay for a basic funeral if you shop around.  Well, if your relatives shop around!

So insurance funeral plans are good value if you die early (but not too early, or there will just be a refund of premiums paid.)   However, if we use the example published in the Mail (page 47 on 16th May 2012) of buying the insurance at age 64 and dying 26 years later, you would have paid in around £3,12o.

What would you get back?  According to the article Axa Sun Life Over 50 plan would pay out less than half that amount!  Foresters, Aviva, Asda, Tesco, Legal and General, and Sainsburys are even worse.  Top payer would be CUNA Mutual followed by Shepherds Friendly and Engage Mutuals Funeral Plans.

When you bear in mind that your savings would have earned some interest too, the benefits of the life insurance element of insurance funeral plans have to be pretty high to make them good value.

Here at the PrePaid Funeral Review, we rarely recommend insurance based funeral plans except in very rare circumstance (and we’re not giving away trade secrets on the site!)

However, they do have a place.  They are just massively oversold and massively misunderstood – I would argue that their sales pitch is rather misleading because the public just don’t take the trouble to really understand what they are buying!  According to the Daily Mail, nearly half a million people bought these plans last year.   We reckon that more than half of then should have bought a proper prepaid Funeral Plan – and perhaps there are a million who still should still cut their losses and buy a full funeral plan.  Click the link to enquire!  But don’t expect anything back from the old insurance based plan.

Axa Sun Life Over 50 Plan – Martin Lewis’ view

Axa Sun Life Over 50 Plan Reviewed

“Michael Parkinson’s caring voice-over makes Axa Sun Life Over 50 Plan seem simple, yet for many it’s a seriously bad bet.”

I think we have sounded warning over this type of plan elsewhere on the site, but I suspect Martin Lewis’ opinion may carry more weight than ours!

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

It isn’t that the plan is intrinsically bad – just that it doesn’t really do the job for which people buy it.  But most people don’t take the trouble we do to research the market and read the small print.   They just fall for the headlines and nice words!

Check out Martin Lewis’ view on the Axa Sun Life Over 50 Plan

For our comments on the Axa Sun Life Over 50 Plan, click the link.

To find out which funeral plan would be most right for you rather than the Axa Sun Life Over 50 plan, click the link.  Our job is to find out what your requirements are and then find the plan which provides the best value in your circumstances.

There are a large number!