Pre-Paid Funeral Plans – Insight From Will Eccleston
As you will be aware, Pre-Paid Funeral Plans have been prominent in the media recently as misunderstandings about what customers believe they have purchased and what they have actually been purchased have become more common.
Now, the media and the Treasury have enjoyed pointing the finger at Funeral Plan providers and making what, on the face of it, seems to be a sensible decision to regulate the market via the FCA.
Having been involved in what still is one of the biggest movers and shakers of the funeral planning market, I have seen first-hand the great comfort that having a plan comes with and will continue to champion its place as a viable product.
Personally, at my time at Safe Hands, I oversaw well over 2000 funeral arrangements with our families and 99.9% of the time, everything went as well as expected. The very few occasions where there were issues did not come down to poor product, poor salesmanship or poor processes and I remain confident that Pre-Paid Funeral Plans are here to stay for a long time.
With that in mind, here at Fortis we thought long and hard about our products and services and concluded that having our own Funeral Plan was not only logical, but essential in ensuring our customers receive a simple-to-understand, good value product to ensure that the whole family knows exactly what to do and what needs to happen when their loved-one passes away.
For 40 years, the Funeral Planning Industry has pretty much run on the same 3 or 4 plan-type format and every new company has simply followed. Fortis have decided to create a different funeral plan, aimed at giving the customer more control over the product they purchase rather than being given a dictated menu. We expect this to ensure that the arranging of the funerals is done to the specification required by the plan holder in all cases.
I also feel strongly that Funeral Directors have been given a bit of a rough deal by plan companies and increased competition for prices has driven down the fees paid out to the Funeral Directors causing a deep divide between the pre-need and at-need sectors. In turn, this has led to disgruntled Funeral Directors venting their frustration over commercials to the families which has the potential to escalate that frustration further at an already very difficult time.
The Fortis Funeral Plan is therefore very straightforward and easy to understand and has been created with the plan holder, their loved-ones and the funeral director in mind.
Firstly, Fortis have designed a plan to fully guarantee disbursements for Cremation Funerals, eliminating that awkward conversation between Funeral Director and Family and Plan Company stating “your plan doesn’t cover what you need” – Buying a Fortis Funeral Plan for Cremation Funerals fully guarantees Crematorium Fees, Dr or Medical Referee Fees and Officiant/Minister/Celebrant Fees.
Unfortunately, due to the large amount of private burial grounds and expensive council-run burial grounds, no number of algorithms would enable Fortis to guarantee burial fees as the controls were unpredictable and uncontrollable. Therefore, based on both my vast experience and national statistics, Fortis Burial Plans will come with a £1200 allowance for the cost of Opening the Grave. The Officiant/Minister/Celebrant Fee will however remain guaranteed.
Other USP’s include national collection and transportation for the person who has died at no additional cost wherever they may have passed away in the UK. This may seem like a small benefit, but I have, thankfully rarely, arranged to transport customers across country following their death at costs to the family of just under £1000 previously when they have passed away whilst away from home. This is an unexpected and expensive cost to families which will be avoided in all cases when customers purchase a Fortis Funeral Plan. If you have customers who regularly travel to stay with family, this is an excellent benefit.
Following the funeral, I have found that families are sometimes reluctant to revisit the Funeral Director to collect their loved-ones Ashes. A Fortis Funeral Plan will, if required, arrange for Ashes to be returned to the family at no additional cost to them, provided they go to a UK address.
It’s the little things that count!
You will have seen recently, a large increase in Direct Cremation type funerals and, for some, this offers a low-cost, no frills goodbye. There is no written rule that dictates we must have formatted funerals and some wish to go quietly and without bother. The Fortis Cremate Only Plan offers this for our customers and includes those little touches mentioned above, such as the free return of Ashes, which are not widely available in the marketplace.
The Fortis Funeral Plan sees what is, in our minds, the future of funeral planning and we are excited to see how regulation moves forward and expect to continue to ensure all our products and services are at the very forefront of their respective marketplaces.
If you would like more information about introducing the Fortis Law Funeral Plan and the commission available, then feel free to give Will Eccleston a call on 07707918768.
This article was written by Will Eccleston, Director, Fortis Funeral Plans
This article was submitted to be published by Fortis Law as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.