Both the Memorial Business Journal and the Funeral Service Insider commented last week on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s February 7th article regarding the former executive director of the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association. Several issues were raised that should be included in future industry debate, and in particular, I would agree with Mr. Isard’s questions whether

Our preneed provides peace of mind by freeing your family from the burdens of rising funeral costs and from making difficult decisions during their time of grief.

Since the inception of the transaction sixty years ago, that statement has defined preneed marketing. Even the AARP recently embrace the peace of mind concept. The inflationary

The financial fallout from the failures of NPS and IFDA regarding compliance with state and federal laws has accelerated the decision of many funeral directors to switch to the non-guaranteed preneed contract. That non-guaranteed contract represents a fundamental change in the relationship that is established between the consumer, the funeral home and the preneed fiduciary.

The

The funeral director’s decision about how to fund his preneed is influenced by the state’s trusting requirement, investment returns, administrative convenience and the volume of preneed business. Essentially, there are three methods of funding preneed: the depository account, the master trust and the insurance policy.

The funeral director’s use of the depository account predates all

Has the economy caused consumers to put preneed on a back burner? Perhaps, but funeral directors can anticipate an increase in spend down inquiries. It is hard to turn prospective business away, but funeral directors need to consider how these transactions do not lend themselves to insurance funding or the conventional guaranteed preneed contract.

In

Regulators and preneed sellers squared off recently over the subject of who owns the preneed trust fund: the funeral home or the consumer. Hearings to reform Missouri’s preneed law hit a wall when the issues of trusting requirements, income accrual and portability was taken up by a review committee comprised of regulators, industry representatives and consumers.  

In a debate