The pre-paid funeral plan market is about to change. From July 2022, all funeral plan providers in the UK will be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The statutory oversight follows several years of campaigns, Government calls for evidence, and formal consultation with the funeral industry.
Dignity welcomes the stronger protections and regulatory framework the FCA is introducing as it will create a more reputable and trusted product for customers.
We are pleased to confirm Dignity has sought the required authorisation and has been engaging regularly with the FCA. The new regulation applies to both Dignity and Simplicity Cremation funeral plan products, as well as funeral plans through our partnership with Age Co.
The new rules are designed to ensure products offer fair value, to create fair competition, and to enable a stable marketplace. Importantly, it means companies that are not acting in the best interest of customers or fail to demonstrate their ability to meet the requirements, will have to exit the market.
Here’s what you need to know if you are an existing Dignity Funerals or Simplicity Cremations Plan customer, or if you’re considering taking a plan out with us:
1) Are Funeral Plans still a good product?
Funeral plans are a great way for people to share their funeral wishes, and save money to cover the cost of their funeral so that it doesn’t fall on their loved ones when they have passed away.
Over and above the peace of mind that a funeral plan gives, a real benefit of a plan is that you can effectively freeze the cost at today’s prices, meaning your funeral will be protected from possible future price increases.
Whilst the new regulations might sound worrisome, they are designed to create a much better product and customer experience when you take out a funeral plan, and of course trust that when your plan is needed, your family and loved ones will be treated fairly and properly.
2) Has Dignity sought authorisation by the FCA?
As one of the UK’s largest providers of funeral plans, we want to reassure our existing customers that Dignity has sought the required authorisation and has been engaging regularly with the FCA.
Our customers can be confident that their plan will be covered by FCA regulation and the consumer protections that come along with it. All regulated activity will be carried out by Dignity Funerals Limited, which will be our regulated entity. This will cover funeral plans by Dignity, Simplicity Cremations, and any of our funeral plan partners.
3) How are my funeral plan funds protected?
Dignity places your funds in an independent trust until the time of the funeral. The trust is run by independent trustees who ensure the money is prudently managed and a surplus is always held. Once the FCA regime starts your money in these trusts will also be protected by the FSCS.
4) Will existing funeral plan customers be protected by the new regulation even though it was taken out before July 2022?
Yes, we can confirm existing funeral plan customers will be protected under the new regulation. Customers will all benefit from all of the important principles laid out by the FCA’s new regulations, including protection of customer fund levels in our trust, and rules to ensure customers are treated fairly.
5) Can I convert my existing Dignity Funeral Plan to a new product that is regulated under the new rules from July 2022?
Customers can change their funeral plan if they wish to, however as the regulations apply to existing plans we do not believe there is a need to do so.
6) Will existing Dignity Funeral Plan customers have access to the same financial ombudsman and consumer redress options as new plan customers from July 2022 onwards?
Yes, all Dignity Funeral Plan customers, whether new or existing, will have access to the ombudsman services, such as the Financial Ombudsman Service and FSCS.
7) Can I cancel my funeral plan?
We hope all of our customers are reassured by the new regulations, which are intended to provide greater protections and security in holding a funeral plan. However, if you’re unhappy with your plan, you are able to cancel subject to our usual cancellation process and fee – this process will remain the same following regulations coming into affect in July 2022 and adheres to the FCA’s principles of treating customers fairly.