SWG PL: Funeral Directors Need Coverage As Unique As Their Job

January 6, 2021

According to the government of Canada website, there were more than 1,500 funeral establishments in the country, (1) the bulk of which operate out of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. Most of these establishments are small to medium sized businesses (99.6%) and profitable (82.2%). (1) These professionals bear the weight of the increased need for their services due to COVID-19, and many have reported they are overworked. (2)

Now is a crucial time for funeral directors to have coverage in case something goes wrong. In a time of increased emotional difficulty, funeral directors would benefit from ensuring they have the coverage and support they need to continue to provide exceptional care to the deceased and their families. South Western Group has expertise in this industry and can provide brokers with the coverage this market needs.

Funeral Directors Wear Many Different Hats

Funeral directors are more than just event planners. They are also responsible for the preparation of the deceased for the service, and they also consult with the deceased’s family. Following are some of the main responsibilities under this profession:

Embalming, burial, care, handling, and disposition of deceased bodies

Arranging transportation of the deceased

Preparing the remains

Submitting paperwork and legal documents

Consulting with the deceased's family

Discussing and assisting in planning funerals

Training junior staff

Unique Liability Risks for the Death Care Industry

While funeral directors may work to high professional standards, there is always a risk of being accused of negligence or to have mishaps occur that result in a lawsuit from the client. The sensitive and personal nature of their role is such that even small errors and oversights can lead to mental anguish claims on various grounds.

Here are some key exposures for funeral directors.

Negligence claims:

Alleged or actual mishandling of the deceased

Alleged or actual negligence in cremation or disposition of the deceased

Inappropriate memorial rituals

Lack of professionalism or ethical conduct at the funeral

Errors and Omissions:

Improper embalming of the deceased

Incomplete preparation of the deceased

Claims of poor shipping advice of deceased estates from overseas

Other failures to adhere strictly to procedures and regulations or other errors in performance which may give rise to mental anguish claims

Bodily Injury/Property Damage:

A funeral director is physically injured on the job (e.g. slips and falls on a wet floor during the service) and incurs medical expenses as a result

Damage to offsite property, such as a church or rented space (e.g. a wooden door frame is chipped as the casket is being carried into a church sanctuary, leaving the funeral director to pay for the damage

A liability policy protects funeral directors against claims of negligence, professional errors and omissions, as well as bodily injury and property damage occurring on and off the property. Rather than hiring a lawyer and settling a potential claim in court, funeral directors can rely on the insurance company to pay the damages in the event of professional mistakes. This can save the business thousands of dollars and offer peace of mind, knowing that the business is protected.

SWG PL Covers Death Care Professionals

SWG PL - Miscellaneous Professional Liability insurance offers a packaged E&O and CGL policy that covers funeral directors as well as a wide range of other hard-to-place classes of business. Tailored E&O coverage protects small to large organizations from a broad range of miscellaneous risks. SWG provides a Miscellaneous PL policy at competitive rates, bringing extensive knowledge and underwriting experience in professional liability.

In addition to funeral directors, we also provide tailored coverage for the following hard-to-place markets:

Bookkeepers

Business Consultants

Collection Agencies

Travel Agents

Employment Agencies

Event Planners

Interior Designers

Leasing Agents

Management Consultants

Translators

Utility Locators

And many more

Visit our website for more details

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/app/cis/summary-sommaire/81221
  2. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/funeral-homes-grappling-covid-1.5553436