|Calendar Year||Plan Sales in Period||Plans Drawn Down in Period||Plans Undrawn at End of Period|
Note – these statistics are only in respect of the FPA Registered Providers of funeral plans: the number of Registered Providers increased in 2003.
As can be seen from the statistics above, in recent years, funeral plan providers registered with the FPA have sold an increasing number of plans (74,683 in 2008). Only about half of that number of new plans are drawn down each year and, consequently, there is an increasing portfolio of plans undrawn (514,748 at the end of 2008).
Not all companies selling funeral plans are registered with the FPA. Some of these companies are known to the FPA, others are not (especially those that may contravene the legal requirements for funeral planning companies and that come to light from time to time).
There is no obligation placed on providers of funeral plans to register with the FPA but all providers are subject to the legal requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act. Unregistered providers give concern therefore that there may be no independent check of their finances, documentation or processes and systems of operation. Their clients may equally be unaware of an additional risk of exposure to unscrupulous practices. Because the FPA is unable to identify all such unregistered providers and those that are known do not provide statistical information, the FPA does not know the size of this unregistered market but it is thought that Registered Providers account for something like 95% of funeral plans sold.
There are also other financial products described by sellers as funeral plans but these may not be “funeral plans” as defined in law (see Article 59 of the defining legislation). One such product is a whole of life insurance policy intended to provide the funds for the policy-holder's funeral: these are marketed under a variety of names, for example, “50+ plans” and even “funeral plans.” These are designed to provide funds towards the cost of the funeral when required but they may or may not contain any arrangements for the conduct of the funeral.
There are other types of funeral plan intended to deal with the repatriation of the deceased, in particular:
(a) a plan to cover the repatriation of the deceased from the UK to abroad; or
(b) a plan to cover the repatriation of the deceased from abroad to the UK.
Generally, these plans are outside the scope of UK regulation because (in the case of (a)) the legislation refers to “...a funeral in the United Kingdom ....”) or (in the case of (b)) because financial arrangements entered into outside the UK are generally considered to be outside UK regulation.
The FPA recommends that potential purchasers of a funeral plan should exercise care when considering buying what they believe to be a funeral plan. They should ensure the plan provider is legitimate and financially viable and that the plan terms are designed to deliver the outcome that they desire.