Law change to help more funeral directors sell insurance

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A change in Nebraska law set to take effect late next month will make it easier for funeral directors to sell insurance that covers funeral costs.

A funeral life insurance policy is a method of paying for what’s known as “pre-need” funerals, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1GHmIhU ) reported. Such policies offer advantages over putting money in a certificate deposit, which would be payable to the funeral upon death, or giving cash to the funeral home.

An insurance policy can include increases in value to keep up with inflation and are portable in case the funeral ends up in a location that’s different from where the buyer had planned. About 15 states have similar rules that make it easier for funeral directors to qualify to sell “limited line” insurance.

The change in state law, which will take effect Aug. 30, also sets a lower amount of training and continuing education that funeral directors and others must take to maintain licenses that allow them to sell funeral insurance.

The number of directors offering insurance may now increase by 20 to 25 percent, said William Lauber, legislative chairman and past president of the Nebraska Funeral Directors Association.

Homesteaders Life Co. of West Des Moines, Iowa, is one of about a dozen companies that sell such coverage. Vice president Gerry Kraus said funeral directors don’t need training like a full-fledged insurance agent would receive because it’s a very “niche market.”

Funeral directors who previously wanted to sell the insurance had to become fully licensed insurance agents and take 21 hours of continuing education every two years. Lauber said funeral directors find it difficult to take time away from the business for continuing education.

The revised law lets a licensed funeral director keep a limited line insurance permit by taking three hours of continuing education every two years.

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