Funeral plans and FSCS protection: individuals could lose out if their provider fails
30th August 2017
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) does not provide protection for individuals who have a funeral plan with a provider that fails. This applies whether the plan was purchased by paying a lump sum or by paying a monthly amount to the (funeral plan) provider.
Whilst funeral plan providers can be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the vast majority choose to use exemptions available to them which means they are not. Even if a regulated funeral plan provider were to sell a funeral plan to an individual, this would not be covered by the FSCS because these products are not categorised as a ‘designated investment’ under FSCS’s compensation rules.
Funeral plan providers rely on insurance companies and investment trusts to meet their obligations to customers. In some limited circumstances where the provider of a Whole of Life insurance policy or provider of a product held within a trust goes bust, FSCS may be able to pay compensation to the provider of the funeral plan or the trustees. It would then be for the funeral plan provider or the trustees of the investment fund to decide what to do with any monies that are paid out as a result. Having paid compensation, FSCS is not responsible for the decisions that funeral plan providers or investment fund trustees may make. It is unlikely that FSCS would be able to pay compensation directly to individuals.
Commenting on today’s announcement, James Daley, Managing Director at Fairer Finance, said: “We're delighted to see FSCS bringing some clarity to where its coverage lies and doesn't lie around funeral plans.
“The fact remains that no funeral plan customers have recourse to FSCS if their plan provider was to become insolvent. Yet most people think funeral plans are subject to the same regulation and consumer protection as general insurance products.
“It's commendable that bodies like FSCS are educating customers on any anomalies in consumer protection.”
Individuals with any questions about their funeral plans should contact their provider in the first instance or the Funeral Planning Authority, the self-regulatory body for the vast majority of the funeral planning industry, for further guidance.
Funeral Planning Authority
Kent ME18 5BZ
Telephone: 0845 6019619 (call charges may apply)