For more than 20 years, Nebraska preneed sellers have filed an annual report that accounts for the aggregate contributions and distributions from their trust funds. The annual report form also computes the amount of income that must be accrued to the account if the seller elects to withdraw excess income from the trust. In its quest to determine whether preneed trusts are adequately funded, the Department of Insurance has made a request for individual contract data that supports the annual report.
Nebraska’s request for individual contract data reflects a trend developing with other Midwest death care regulators.
Individual contract data reporting was a priority in failed legislation by Kansas regulators.
Missouri’s State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors has acknowledged the need to determine whether existing preneed trusts are adequately funded, and that objective requires some detail about what comprises the trusts established under the prior law.
Missouri cemeteries are about to embark on preneed sales under a new law, and regulators have already expressed a need to know about those sales.
While many death care operators may challenge the individual account data request as burdensome or intrusive, operators harmed by NPS or the IFDA insurance debacle, have reason to be providing such information.
The degree an NPS provider suffers ‘damage” by honoring a preneed contract depends on several factors: the age of the contract, the casket, the funeral home’s current atneed prices, to name a few. To challenge that more than the guaranty association payout is needed, the industry must be willing to provide hard facts based on actual contract data. If the active NPS contracts are included in a state’s annual reporting, a basis has been established for a database for tracking the NPS consequence to the industry.
The same is true for Illinois funeral directors seeking to recover for the IFDA asset meltdown. Recovery has to be based on contract data.