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TOPIC: Funeral home insurance agent

Funeral home insurance agent 27 May 2009 17:36 #212

  • suffering999
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Hi, My mother in law passed away a month ago today. The funeral home she was dealing with was her agent for her life insurance for her and her son (my husband) come to find out a couple a weeks after her passing on 5/22. We found out that her and her son's policy has been inactive since they started it, which was 11/15/03 and ended 12/15/03. But we haven't missed a payment since the life insurance contract was signed. Not really sure if she received anything in the mail saying that her insurance was dropped or anything, because she lived alone, until she became really ill and moved with us. Also as we were planning everything for her funeral we were not presented with an itemized list of any prices for anyrthing for the funeral, this was a first time experience for us and she had only one son, I feel we was fully taken advantage of, due to know knowledge of anyrhing pertaining to planning a funeral or life insurance policy's. After contacting the funeral home to let them know that we acknowledge that the policy's hadn't been paid, we was presented with a statement that everything will be taken care of (funeral home) and that the policy will be reinstated for my husband from the 5 in a half years that it has been cancelled it will be paid up till this year when I made tje last payment in 3/09 ( life insurance company). I'm really confused and feel that they took total advantage of my mother in law. And I was wondering is a insurance company allowed to reinstate a insurance policy after 5 yrs it hadn't been paid by the agent. I hope all the information is clear. Please help!!!!!
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Re:Funeral home insurance agent 28 Sep 2009 08:49 #291

  • northstar73
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  • Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director
Sorry this reply is four months after the post, but hopefully it can still help you as well as inform others of what is to be done.

First - Many funeral homes use insurance policies as funding vehicles for families to prepay funeral service expenses. There are a number of advantages to this, including:

- The ability of the client to make monthly payments over time (premium payments) and still receive the full death benefit if death occurs before premiums are paid. This may vary depending on health of individual and plan, so make sure it is clear.

- The interest on the insurance policy grows tax free, compared to the 1099-INT that is issued when funds are deposited in a local financial institution in trust.

- The policy is portable... you own it, can take it anywhere you wish, and in many cases, funds are available much faster after death.

- There are small commissions on these policies paid back to the funeral home. Hence the reason many funeral homes are still able to offer you a plethora of information and no-obligation preplanning services without fees.

NOW, in your case, we need to start with some basics:
First - What is your state's laws about prefunding of funeral services? This varies greatly from state to state and dictates what and when a funeral home must do with funds payed in before death. Contacting your state FCA office will greatly help as well as contacting other funeral homes via telephone. Most will answer you questions over the phone about where a funeral home must place the money, when it must be done, and how will you receive confirmation that it is done (you need not tell them your situation, simply say that you are interested in prefunding but are concerned about what happens to the money you give them, where it goes, and what if you move... this will get you the same answers you need).

Second - If they sold you insurance, they (and you) are not only governed (and protected) by the state board of funeral service but also the state insurance commissioners office. If you feel the funeral home is giving you a story and is not to your satisfaction, inform them that you will have to take it up with the state funeral board and state insurance commission because you still are not comfortable with what has happened and their explanation and solution is still not acceptable to you.

Third - You are fully entitled to receive an itemized price list as well as a statement of goods and services when arranging a service. I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing, and dealing with questions such as yours during the difficult time of a loss is not any easier. If the funeral home failed to provide this to you, ask them again to do so and remind them that the Federal Trade Commission requires them to do it and you would prefer they provide what they are supposed to before you need to file any type of complaint. They need to know that this issue bothers you and they need to fix it.

Like everything above, your best answers MAY come from the funeral home itself and without threat of escalating it to the next level. If they fail, then threaten to escalate... if they fail again, then most assuredly escalate it since your family may not be the only one to fall victim possible unlawful and unethical actions. Using the above information to let them know that you are aware of your options if they fail to satisfy your needs and concerns will show them you are in control of the process and it is YOUR questions that need to be answered.

As far as the insurance policy and reinstatement goes, the simple solution there is to call the insurance company, state your case, and ask for the payment history and in-force confirmation of your policy. It sounds as if the agent of the funeral home was collecting the premiums and then not submitting them. The funeral home, aware of this now, is submitting the premium as a single payment to ensure it is taken care of. No, you cannot reinstate back 5 years... which is unnecessary anyway since your husband is still living. In addition, if payments started and ended within this 12 month window you give, then it was only a 1 year payment option anyway... not that the insurance ends as well, the benefit is still paid in full but no more premiums are due. More importantly, you want ot ensure that the policy exists today for the need in the future (and that includes taking your money to another establishment if you so choose, again, check specific state rules on this as it varies).

Another point for all to remember... when using an insurance product and making premium payments, it is always safer and secure to mail payments directly to the company, not the agent, funeral director, or funeral home.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions and maybe some others who find themselves asking them too...

NS73
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Re:Funeral home insurance agent 14 Apr 2010 22:28 #326

  • Resamith
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This is a really sad story to read, why people are so insensitive
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Re:Funeral home insurance agent 15 Apr 2010 05:56 #327

  • northstar73
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  • Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director
As always...

For every one family that has a bad experience, many have a positive one. Unfortunately, every profession has people like this in it who seem to give all a bad reputation and we tend to post about bad experiences more than positive ones.

I hope this family finds resolution to their concerns and sees that the entity they worked with is by far non-representative of the profession of funeral service or the people who call it a career.

NS73
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Re:Funeral home insurance agent 19 Dec 2010 22:54 #425

  • Gresham
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you better look for receipts of payments , and consult your lawyer to sue the company .
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Re: Funeral home insurance agent 29 Jul 2011 02:56 #503

  • Linda27
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Funeral home service embalming involves the replacement of the deceased blood with chemicals and dyes, then suck the internal organs, so that functions can be set. For some grieving an open casket is important because it gives them the chance to have a physical relationship with the deceased, before putting them to rest. But it can also be done in a screening room, as previously mentioned.
Last Edit: 12 Oct 2011 08:40 by edmcham. Reason: 10/12/2011: Removed business related URL
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