Dignity commits to rescue plan for safe hands customers

Dignity, the largest funeral plan and end-of-life service provider in the UK, has announced its further commitment to support those that have been impacted by Safe Hands Funeral Plans entering administration. This comes as the sector transitions to new regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Since 23 March customers of Safe Hands have been at risk of having no funeral provision, and Dignity moved quickly to pledge their protection to those at immediate risk for a period of four weeks. Dignity is now offering additional reassurance to those with a Safe Hands funeral plan, we have agreed to fulfil all funerals of existing Safe Hands customers for the next six months.

As part of the commitment to protect Safe Hands’ customers, Dignity has put forward a plan to the administrators of Safe Hands that would cap payable rates and disbursements below the market price of funerals. This is a not for profit solution that Dignity is delivering as a socially responsible provider of end-of-life services, and one the company is uniquely positioned to make as a provider of funeral plans with a supporting nationwide network of funeral homes and crematoria.

During the next six months Dignity will make an offer to each existing Safe Hands customer of a replacement funeral plan from Dignity.

It looks like there will be a considerable shortfall in the assets of the Safe Hands trust and so Dignity is likely to be asking for additional contributions from customers if they wish to take out a new Dignity funeral plan. The company will be pricing these plans as cheaply as possible to cover the future liability, and to help customers, is willing to spread the payments over five years. Dignity expects the pricing to be lower than any alternative providers existing plans.

For those who don’t want a replacement Dignity funeral plan they do have the peace of mind that they are covered for the next six months and will ultimately receive from the administrator whatever is recovered for them in the liquidation of Safe Hands.

Mike Hilliar, Director of Funeral Planning at Dignity said:

“What has happened at Safe Hands is disgraceful and highlights why the discipline and safety of regulation is needed and overdue.

We passionately believe funeral plans are an inherently good product that help people plan and pay for their funeral in advance. We want to protect against any risk to customers, but also safeguard the long-term integrity of the market.

Earlier this year we set out our pledge to minimise the impact on funeral plan customers during the transition period to FCA regulation. As part of this commitment, since March we have been working with the administrators of Safe Hands to ensure that families who suffer a bereavement where a Safe Hands plan is in place, do not go without a funeral.

However, this is only a short-term solution and we have been considering in line with our pledge, what we can do to help all customers of Safe Hands. Longer term, we are working on a solution where funeral plan customers are able to choose to transfer to a Dignity funeral plan. There are many technical and legal factors to consider, so we will engage with the administrators and the FCA to ensure our proposal is robust and in the spirit of the new regulation.”

Mike adds: “As one of the UK’s largest providers of funeral plans, we want to reassure our existing customers that Dignity has sought the required authorisation and has been engaging regularly with the FCA and currently have no reason to believe we won’t be authorised.”

Dignity have said they will continue to monitor the market and, should other high-risk situations emerge from funeral plan providers deciding to exit the market, the company will explore solutions with the wider funeral sector and the regulator on a case-by-case basis.


About Dignity

Dignity was one of the first companies to develop a funeral plan product, innovating the concept in 1985, and sells around 30,000 funeral plans per year.

Dignity is the only UK provider uniquely positioned in the end-of-life sector that offers the provision of high-quality funeral plans, high standards of care and compassion at the time of need through our national funeral director network, whilst offering a peaceful place to say goodbye and remember at our 46 crematoria and cemetery locations across England and Scotland.

The benefit for the consumer being one trusted, respected and regulated funeral plan provider that will also deliver the funeral to the highest of standards at the point of need.


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