Dignity has published a new White Paper calling for a stronger regulation of the funeral plan sector. The detailed document explains how regulation can be improved to better protect customers.
Strengthening Regulation in the Funeral Plan Sector
“Strengthening regulation in the funeral plan sector” sets out a detailed vision for what stronger but proportionate regulation in the funeral planning market should look like. The paper has been developed with regulatory experts and follows the independent research commissioned by Dignity in July 2017. The research which was verified by Fairer Finance, who had full editorial control, highlighted misleading advertising and aggressive telesales methods.
Research, conducted for Dignity, by Matter Communications in March 2018, shows that whilst improvements are evident since Dignity first raised awareness of the problems in the funeral plan sector last year, significant issues remain.
Key amongst the proposals set out in the White Paper is a model of stronger regulation that would see the existing Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) placed on a statutory footing with all firms compelled to register with the regulator in order to trade.
Important to Maintain Momentum
Simon Cox, Dignity’s Head of Insight and External Communications, said: "Following the research we conducted last year and the report with Fairer Finance, it was important to maintain momentum.
“We have seen growing support amongst policy makers and consumer groups for action and have therefore drafted a White Paper detailing a stronger form of regulation which will better protect the consumer.
“Our recent research shows that while improvements in conduct are evident many of the issues identified last year remain. Our recent research shows that while improvements are evident there remains significant issues facing consumers from funeral plan providers and distributors that are not registered with the FPA.
The Funeral Planning Authority is the Natural Solution
“The FPA is the natural solution to improving standards in the sector due to its expertise and understanding of how the market works, and the important steps it has taken in recent years to strengthen its independence and processes. In many ways the existing FPA rules are, as can be evidenced by our White Paper, a good platform on which stronger regulation can be built. Our advice and preference would be for a statutory FPA but if this is not feasible, FCA regulation would be preferable to the status quo.
“Dignity prides itself on its excellent quality and standards that it offers the industry, both with its funeral plans but also with the facilities and care that it provides for the deceased and the bereaved. The whole funeral sector needs stronger regulation and our work on the funeral plan market is just the start. With statutory regulation in place, we hope that the industry will together work better for the consumer."