Funeral plan providers see market volume growth – report

Funeral provider Distinct Cremations has welcomed the findings of a new trade body that has praised the industry for adapting quickly to new Financial Conduct Authority regulations.

In its first annual report, the National Association of Funeral Plan Providers (NAFPP), says its research shows sustained consumer demand for pre-planned funerals. The NAFPP survey indicates members’ plans are now funding around one in six of all burials and cremations, financing more than 112,000 services in 2023. Steve Wallis, managing director of Distinct Cremations, said:

“I’m delighted that after the shockwaves caused by the collapse of providers like Safe Hands and Unique, public trust is once again returning. The new rules are helping to ensure consumers’ plans are safe now and, in the future, because providers are now held to a higher standard.

Cold calling has been outlawed, as has the payment of overblown commissions.”

Steve says the NAFPP report confirms that a significant proportion of the retired population have already put funeral arrangements in place. He added:

“The research highlights there is a continuing demand from consumers to secure their end-of-life plans and make financial arrangements in advance.”

The NAFPP reprises a biannual market update formerly provided by the now defunct Funeral Planning Authority and represents the growing prepaid funeral plan sector. NAFPP chairman, Steve Rowland, commended providers for adapting so quickly to the new regulatory environment. He said:

“New propositions for families have emerged and with new providers entering the market, there is probably more choice now than ever.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has regulated pre-paid funeral plans since July 2022 following the collapse of providers Safe Hands, One Life and Unique. The NAFPP represents and promotes the prepaid funeral planning sector with 27 of the FCA’s approved plan providers in membership, including local funeral directors, niche suppliers, national brands, and integrated providers.

Cannock-based Distinct Cremations are part of Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of cemeteries and crematoria with 37 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, and provide direct cremation services throughout the UK.

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