Co-op Bank to trial sale of funeral plans

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The Co-operative Bank is to trial the sale of funeral plans in its branches as more people look to offset rising end-of-life costs.

End-of-life-costs including funerals, probate, headstones and flowers have increased by 20 per cent to more than £7,000 over the past four years, with the cost of the funeral jumping by 60 per cent, a recent survey by Axa estimated.

The Co-op Bank’s trial will involve 30 of its own or partner Britannia’s branches.

It said the advantage of a plan is that the price is guaranteed at today’s price, whatever happens to inflation in future. Payment is either in one fee or 12 monthly instalments.

The bank is the financial arm of the Co-op movement, which is already the UK’s largest funeral arranger and conducts one in four funerals in the UK. The group is also the largest UK provider of funeral care plans.

At present, its plans are sold either online or through the Co-op’s 1,100 funeral homes but the trial will see a range available at the nominated branches, including set burial and set cremation plans. Customers can sit down with an adviser to discuss the most suitable plan.

Rod Bulmer, Co-operative Bank’s managing director for retail, said: “The Co-operative is in the unique position of being able to combine a trusted bank brand with a successful funeral planning division. By bringing these businesses closer together, we can offer our customers easier access to personal funeral planning services.”

More than 100,000 funeral plans were sold in the UK last year.