The licenses required to sell or service preneed in Missouri must be renewed annually, with the deadline for filing the required paperwork falling on October 31st. Technically, these licenses expire on Halloween unless the State Board staff has renewed them by that date. But, it is human nature to procrastinate, and many licensees wait until the final days to file their paperwork. With 545 licensed providers, 331 licensed sellers and 179 licensed preneed agents, the deadline paperwork handled by the State Board staff is substantial.
Regulation proposals discussed at the State Board’s September meetings underscore the frustrations the staff have with the licensing deadlines and the paperwork submitted by licensees. The proposals would add pressure to licensees having renewal paperwork filed weeks (instead of days) prior to Halloween (so that the staff would have more time to review the paperwork before renewing the license).
The ‘rub’ for the State Board staff is that SB1 sets Halloween as both the deadline for filing paperwork and the expiration date of the licenses. The law fails to provide a window for the administrative review of paperwork. Before dismissing this as the staff’s problem, sellers should consider that SB1 also allows a consumer to void his/her preneed contract if the seller did not have a license when the contract was sold.
The problem for the staff is that a number of sellers are submitting renewal reports that have not properly completed. Sellers who only use one form of funding are omitting the schedules for the funding vehicles they do not use. The renewal forms also require a summary of all contracts sold during the reporting period. If the summary is left blank, the staff has no way of knowing whether the fee accompanying the renewal is correct.
For the most part, the current renewal report form is the same as last year’s. However, sellers that use joint account funding need to recognize the report has a new Section M that requires information about the preneed contracts sold prior to the current reporting period. If the seller waits until October 31st to file the renewal, and omits the Section M report in error, the State Board letter received in November will seem like a late Halloween trick.