The Funeral Planning Product: Friend or Foe?

As Sunlife reveals the ‘Cost of Dying’ is now the highest it has ever been, Barry Floyd, Managing Director of industry leading funeral planning firm, Golden Leaves, outlines how the funeral planning sector works hard to help control inflation and protect the consumer.

According to the latest report released by SunLife, specialist financial services firm for the over 50s, the average Cost of Dying is now the highest it has ever been, having increased by £289 [3.1%] since 2018.  

This announcement comes just 12 months after the Competition and Markets Authority [CMA] issued a full market investigation into rising funeral costs; together with HM Treasury confirming regulation would be introduced for the Funeral Planning sector by 2022.

Customers have become inevitably wary of the entire funeral industry and how the press has portrayed it, using sensational wording for its services such as ‘rip-off’ and ‘untrustworthy’. These reports combined with recent statistics - 1 in 8 families revealing notable financial difficulty in having to pay for a loved one’s funeral – have often been followed by confused and factually incorrect media reports on the industry as a whole. This has created a universally negative opinion built on little to no understanding as to how the sector operates.

The latest SunLife report easily fuels this media fire, reporting 1 in 4 people were shocked about certain funeral costs, with many respondents having to resort to alternative means of funding in order to cover the costs of a funeral for their loved one.

However, the report also revealed 70% of consumers believe that everyone should be responsible for funding their own funeral and it is this opinion which gives opportunity to educating clients as to what is available so that they can start to think about how they prepare for the inevitable.

For the very few companies out there who are not FPA regulated, there are dozens more who have offered their business up to independent scrutiny and provide trustworthy, credible products to help to protect customers which represent superb value for money. For this reason, more emphasis needs to be placed on educating clients, giving them faith in these products and encouraging them to think seriously about these plans.

Why reputable funeral plans are the obvious choice

Fortunately, a solution already exists through FPA registered Funeral Plan providers and there are solid and positive reasons why these solutions should be offered to clients as a safe option.

Funeral Plans Protect Consumers

Over the last 15 years, the average cost of a funeral has risen by a staggering 130% whereas the cost of Funeral Plans has only risen by 35% and have not experienced or matched the price increases of funerals purchased directly from funeral companies at the time of death.

Despite impending FCA regulations, the funeral planning product exists to protect the consumer from rising funeral costs. And, more importantly, it is a model that works.

As a Funeral Plan falls under the bracket of ‘later-life planning’, consumers are protecting themselves and their loved ones from increasing funeral costs. In some cases, this can be to the tune of up to £10,000, depending on location and requirements.

Funeral Plans Remove Cost Burden

In addition to inflating funeral costs, the SunLife Cost of Dying report also revealed some interesting data on the loved ones often burdened with both the cost and arrangements of a funeral.

Less than 1% of respondents advised they knew or were aware of all of their loved one’s funeral wishes. When the time comes, it is stressful to be forced into making choices whilst also coping with the bereavement, and 4 in 10 funeral directors advised people to try to save money on items they later regretted. In having a pre-paid funeral plan in place, everything is taken care of at that difficult time.

The report also revealed that many respondents had to resort to alternative means of funding in order to cover the costs of a funeral for their loved one, with the majority of people [30%] advising they took money from savings or investments, 25% using a credit card, 22% borrowing funds from a friend or family member and 15% of people forced to sell items in order to cover the cost.

A fully guaranteed Funeral Plan removes this cost burden from loved ones, ensuring they remain unaffected by any current or future rise in funeral fees, whilst providing full detail and disclosure on what a loved one would want for their funeral.

Protect your client base by offering them what they need

By offering clients a fully guaranteed funeral plan package as part of your portfolio, you are more likely to retain your customers. If you don’t have this valuable option available to them, they are likely to purchase elsewhere when approached by other companies who are actively seeking business.

So, the funeral plan product is without doubt your friend, providing you select a credible FPA registered and regulated provider.

Therefore, by offering your customers a quality product from a reputable brand, you will not only retain their confidence and help them remove a significant financial and emotional burden from their next of kin, but you will also retain their business, increase your income and hopefully convert them into lifetime clients.

Reputable FPA regulated funeral planning companies, like Golden Leaves, are committed to educating consumers on the real value of funeral plans and their capability to help consumers plan for the inevitable, whilst removing anxiety and concern.

Barry Floyd

Managing Director, Golden Leaves

Golden Leaves is one of the UK’s market leaders and only independent funeral planning firm to have achieved BSI ISO 9001 for Business Excellence. The only other funeral planning firm to have achieved this accreditation is a Public Limited Company [PLC].

Headquartered in South London, Golden Leaves has been at the forefront of the Funeral planning sector since the late 1980s, has played a major role in the development of FPA (The Funeral Planning Authority) and is the only independent Funeral Planning firm to have introduced a guaranteed funeral plan to the UK market, which freezes the cost of a cremation funeral no matter how far into the future it takes place.

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