The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Help yourself to some of this

Friday, 8 April 2016

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When John Taplin of Open Prepaid Funeral Plans first proposed that we work together to create a GFG funeral plan I told him to f*** off.

Not in so many words. I was icily polite. I was practised in the art having previously spurned the seductive sweet talk of another funeral plan pedlar which wanted to fly me to Scotland and show me how shiningly ethical it is. In their case I explained (courteously) that I failed to see how it could be a good deal for the consumer to lavish hospitality and double-jointed accountancy on an innumerate dingbat like me.

John persisted. What did we want a funeral plan to look like? I fired impossible specifications at him and hissed “See what I mean? Can’t be done, cannit?”

And he replied, “Oh I think it can.”

So (finally) we met and the rest is, as they say, the present and the future. We showed our freshly-minted prepaid plan to a fifth-generation funeral director of impeccable credentials and all the risk aversion you could ask for. He mulled and he mused and finally he spoke: “With this plan I get to charge every funeral at the full at-need price.” I’d been blind to that because John and I had focussed exclusively on the interests of the consumer. But you can see why our heritage FD liked what he saw when you consider this from Golden Charter’s Ts and Cs:

“Upon completion of the Beneficiary’s funeral arrangements the Selected Funeral Director will be entitled to payment from us … The Selected Funeral Director will have no recourse against us or the Trust in the event that the sum so intimated by us is lower than the relevant parts of the original Funeral Plan cost”

Yes, what an absolutely crap deal for consumers. I pay for a £3500 funeral and get one costing hundreds of pounds less — a bit like finding myself in a 2 star hotel when I’d paid for 4.

And yes, what John and I had created is a thing of unparalleled and luminous beauty which is also very badly needed. We call it GFGPlan. 

Your conventional prepaid funeral plan is beginning to look as dated as the mullet. Imagine a restaurant that serves only fixed 3-course meals cooked to recipes first published in Woman’s Own in 1958; that’s what you get with a conventional funeral plan.

Today’s funeral buyer wants cafeteria service – a bit of this, some of that, no limousine thanks.

Today’s funeral director doesn’t want to have to shoulder the risk of its plan provider finding itself a bit short.

The beauty of GFGPlan is its simplicity. It’s a pot. Into which you put money. As and when. It grows at 4% pa. None of the money is spent on salaries, commissions or freebies for noisy bloggers. It empowers the consumer to buy what they want and no more than they want. It pays a proper price to funeral directors. 

Is it risk-free? If there was a total global financial meltdown, no. But if every GFGPlan-holder died today, the trust fund would be able to cover every single one of them. Can any other prepaid plan provider can say that?

If you’ve not yet studied GFGPlan, we strongly recommend that you do so. Start here.

 

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4 comments on “Help yourself to some of this

  1. Wednesday 13th April 2016 at 2:48 pm

    I’m confused here. From the consumer point of view, the consumer has no guarantee of the value of funeral they will get in years ahead if buying an Open Plan??

    Not that I am blind to issues with Golden Charter, but the Independent Way allows the FD to do mostly everything listed here at the price we want to set.

    And yes, the funeral director makes a commitment to provide the funeral as discussed and priced in years ahead. (Different of course for the direct sales ones sold by someone with no knowledge of the funeral profession which we are not under obligation to accept)

    • Friday 22nd April 2016 at 5:49 pm

      The GFGPlan operates slightly differently from a Bespoke Plan (in GC case the Independent Way, which incidentally we offered first!).

      A bespoke plan is something that a funeral director can create with their client and be as specific and unique as they want and can price each individual item at todays prices and include a suitable contribution towards disbursements. This then locks in the funeral director as the nominated FD and they are committing to provide the services detailed for no additional cost at the time of need. Much like a ‘normal’ prepaid funeral plan. Disbursements are a contribution and like all plans from independent providers are not 100% guaranteed.

      Did you know that Open are the only plan provider to apply the same rate of growth to disbursements as we do to the FD elements of a plan? All other providers only apply RPI to disbursements (and in some cases the FD fees too). Over 10 years the difference could be hundreds of pounds that you’ve got to ask the family for. Our applied growth has averaged over 3.5% per annum since 2003. We’re also the only provider to share this information openly. Why? To help funeral directors and because we just think its the right thing to do.

      The GFGPlan differs in that’s it’s suitable for those individuals and families that know they want to put some money aside for future funeral expenses but don’t necessarily know what they want at this stage, they might have the basics, burial or cremation, traditional vehicles or not, religious or not but they’re happy to either leave it until a later date to add detail or happy to let their family choose the details and in some cases the funeral director at the time of need. They know they have a pot of money available to pay for the funeral either in full or in part.
      The funds can only be used for funeral expenses and offer a really flexible approach to funeral planning. It’s growing in popularity.

      We have always been open and try to keep things simple. There are issues out there with most of our competitors in some form or another, often around aggressive selling tactics, excessive charges and commissions and unreliable payments to funeral directors.

      Prepaid Funeral Plans should be a simple product, uncomplicated, low risk, respectful and dignified. Not a means to make a lot of money quickly.

  2. Monday 11th April 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Same here- the only funeral plan we offer after lots of research. Love the simplicity of this. It really doesn’t feel like anyone will get a bad deal at the end of this.

  3. Monday 11th April 2016 at 11:55 am

    Not only do I like this plan and actively promote it, but I like everything Open has to offer and they are the only company I currently use.

    When researching pre-payment companies, I just couldn’t find one that was a fair deal for the person buying it or the funeral director that would carry out the funeral.

    In fact, I have recently had an email from a pre-payment company asking if I would take their plans. After reading their terms and conditions, I couldn’t accept them. The onus would be on me for all liabilities and their payment terms to me were shocking.
    Not to mention their intellectual property clause!

    I have found Open to do exactly what they say on the tin and to any funeral directors looking for a company who treat funeral directors and consumers equally, look no further.

    I think the GFG plan is ahead of it’s time by at least five years. However, I see a lot of funeral plan companies struggling to keep up with this one and cue some major catching up from them in the next couple of years!

    Well done to Charles and John for coming up with something that really benefits everyone.

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