Tag Archives: pre-need

Funeral Industry Split Over Pre-Death Discounts

Over the objections of some in the funeral home industry, two Knoxville legislators are proposing the repeal of a 1959 state law that prohibits discounting funeral costs to those who pay in advance.
Sen. Becky Massey and Rep. Ryan Haynes, both Knoxville Republicans, are sponsoring SB1286 at the behest of a group called Tennesseans for Funeral Reform, which is headed by Fred Berry III, manager of Berry Funeral Home in Knoxville.
It is scheduled for votes in committees of both the House and Senate this week. In January, state Attorney General Bob Cooper issued a legal opinion declaring the law in question is valid. Cooper was responding to a Haynes question on constitutionality of the statute.
Berry, whose grandfather served 16 years as a Republican senator from Knoxville, told the Senate Commerce Committee last week that the law was not really enforced until about two years ago. Since then the state’s funeral regulatory board, housed under the Department of Commerce and Insurance, has been inspecting contracts and imposing fines for violations.
Berry said that allowing discounts in the sale of “pre-need” funerals would save consumers money and encourage more people to make arrangements in advance. He said Tennessee is the only state in the nation with such a prohibition — a point disputed by those opposing the repeal bill.
Representatives of the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association and the Tennessee Funeral Home Directors and Morticians Association testified against the bill, contending that current law protects consumers and should not be changed.

Full story HERE.

‘Funeral Reform’ May Not Be a Dead Issue

News release from Tennesseans for Funeral Reform:
(Nashville, TN)—-February 20, 2012….The sudden or unexpected death of a loved one….it is one of the toughest times for a family. And many have not prepared by purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan.
One way to encourage that is by offering a discount as an incentive for folks to plan ahead, says Fred Berry, a fourth-generation Knoxville funeral home director and the spokesman for a new group called Tennesseans for Funeral Reform.
“Unfortunately,” says Berry, “discounts on pre-paid funerals arrangements are illegal in Tennessee. In fact, Tennessee is the only state in the entire country that prohibits such incentives.

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