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Friday, September 6, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak held the first meeting of the newly formed Funeral Home Advisory Board on Thursday. The board is designed to protect Oklahomans from fraud while planning a funeral.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department issues prepaid funeral benefit permits to funeral providers. The prepaid funeral contract is then funded through a trust or an insurance product. While the OID has found that the majority of funeral homes in Oklahoma are trustworthy, the Department has received numerous complaints of funeral homes accepting payments for prepaid funerals but not actually purchasing the requested trust or insurance product. The Funeral Home Advisory Board was formed to address this issue and others affecting the industry.
“Oklahomans deserve to be treated fairly,” said Doak. “When someone purchases a prepaid funeral contract, it’s to provide comfort for themselves and the loved ones they leave behind. When that contract isn’t honored, it’s like dealing a second blow to grieving families. This board was created to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
The OID’s Anti-Fraud Unit aggressively investigates claims of prepaid funeral fraud. A 2011 investigation led to multiple charges against a former funeral director in Creek County.
“We know there are people like this out there, but we’ve had no way of cleaning it up,” said Shaun Cummings, Chairman of the Funeral Home Advisory Board. “Now, with the help of the Anti-Fraud Unit, this board can restore integrity and honesty to our line of work.”
“The Funeral Home Advisory Board is a great collaboration between the funeral industry and the Oklahoma Insurance Department,” said Oklahoma Funeral Board Deputy Director Chris Ferguson. “Board members will be able to use their wealth of experience to discuss problems and solutions to help streamline the funeral profession from deceitful practices.”
Consumers who suspect fraud are encouraged to call the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit at 405-521-6614.
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
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