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October/November 2017 Reporter

October/November 2017

Dear Members,


2017 NFDA Pursuit of Excellence Awardees

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) presents the Pursuit of Excellence Awards to qualifying funeral homes every year at the annual International Convention & Expo. This year's convention is October 29-November 1 in Boston. PFDA would like to congratulate our member recipients: E. Blake Collins Funeral Home, Wilkes Barre; Emmanuel Johnson Funeral Home, Philadelphia; George I. Green Funeral Home, Munhall; Molden Funeral Chapel, Bristol; and Lanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, East Pittsburgh.

Equifax Data Breach

Equifax, which is one of the three major credit agencies in the U.S., had a massive breach of personal information effecting almost half of the entire U.S. population. Hackers had access to all the personal information needed to steal identities from May until July of this year. To see what you should do to help protect yourself and your identity, go to Kiplinger.com/go/Equifax.

Source: The Kiplinger Letter, Vol. 94, No. 37, September 15, 2017

CANA Statistics Report

In the most recent edition of the The Cremationist, CANA released detailed information about their Annual Statistics Report findings, which features final 2015 data, new 2016 data, and 2021 projections on cremation rates. According to the report, in 2015, Pennsylvania was one of the top 10 states with the highest number of cremations, with 56,360 cremations or a 44.4% cremation rate, and also one of the top states with the highest growth by number of cremations from 2011-2015 with a predicated increase of 7,753 cremations or a 6.5% increase. In 2016, Pennsylvania had 58,308 cremations, which equates to a 45.9% cremation rate. In 2012, the cremation rate was 40.4%. The report projects that by 2021 Pennsylvania's cremation rate will be 52.7%.

Source: The Cremationist, Issue 53, Vol. 2

2017 NFDA Election Results

The NFDA membership recently elected the officers for the 2017-18 Board of Directors: President Kenneth A. Cahall, CFSP, CCO; President-elect Charles "Chuck" T. Bowman, CMSP, CFSP, CCO; Treasurer R. Bryant Hightower Jr., CFSP; and Secretary Randall P. "Randy" Anderson, CFSP, CCO.

Also, the membership voted to change the current NFDA Bylaws based on the proposed package of enhancements.

Source: NFDA, September 1, 2017

Overtime Pay Rule Struck Down

At the end of August, a Texas judge struck down the Obama administration rule that would have required employers to pay overtime to most salaried workers who earn less than $47,476, a sharp increase from the current annual salary limit of $23,660. The Department of Labor will now start over with revising and updating the overtime exemption rule.

Holiday Shipping Surcharges

If you use UPS for residential shipments, you will see a jump in costs over the holiday season. UPS will be adding a 27-cent charge on all ground residential packages from November 19- December 2 and December 17-23. There will also be a cost increase for air packages and packages that qualify as large. FedEx will only be adding a surcharge for packages that are big or bulky and require special handling.

For more information about these charges go to http://blog.partnership.com/post/2017/08/30/UPS-adds-residential-holiday-shipping-surcharges-fedex-will-not-follow.aspx.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, September 25, 2017

Funeral Home Safety and the Opioid Crisis

Currently OSHA doesn't have an opioid exposure standard, but due to the severity of this epidemic, it is being recommended that Funeral Homes should follow the same procedures as they would with any potential workplace hazard. Since it is very difficult to determine if an unidentified substance is hazardous by sight, Funeral Directors need to use caution when a substance is found on or near human remains. A hazard assessment of these types of situations should be performed and personal protective equipment (PPE) should always be worn. After the assessment has been completed an exposure control plan should be created. All staff members need to be trained on the procedures of what to do if they suspect that drugs are on or near remains and understand the signs and symptoms of opioid exposure.

Source: The Cremationist, Vol. 53, No.3


E.R.P.L. and F.E.P.N. Can Help Y-O-U

Until the mid-1980s, employment practices liability claims were not a significant exposure. Most insurance policies didn't even include this exposure because many insurance companies viewed harassment and discrimination as intentional acts and therefore not in the public's best interest to insure. However, since then, the number of employment-related claims have skyrocketed.

An ERPL (Employment-Related Practices Liability) policy provides coverage for a "claim" that is caused by an "insured event." A claim is a written demand or notice alleging damages, which is received by a business. An insured event occurs when an employee, former employee, or job applicant alleges harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, or varying degrees of these primary allegations.

The Federated Employment Practices Network® (FEPN) gives clients access many complimentary services to help them establish and maintain a productive, non-discriminatory workplace.

Contact your Federated representative if you're interested in learning more about ERPL and FEPN.

Source: Federated Insurance, September 19, 2017

FDLIC Certified by Workplace Culture Experts at Great Place to Work®

Funeral Directors Life (FDLIC) was recently certified as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. Funeral Directors Life earned this credential based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at http://reviews.greatplacetowork.com/funeral-directors-life.

Source: FDLIC News Release, September 21, 2017

Federated Mutual Group named to 2017 Ward's 50® Top Performers

Ward Group®, a Cincinnati-based consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry, recently named Federated Mutual to the top 50 U.S. based property and casualty companies.

Ward Group annually recognizes 50 companies that have excelled at balancing financial safety, consistency, and performance during the past five years.

Source: Federated Insurance, News Release, September 2017


Email Scam Alert

The following email was sent to one of our members: "Good day, am Lang, I will like to know if your funeral facility is capable of handling international repatriation of remains from West Africa. If YES please get back to me asap. Thanks Lang." Please don't respond to the email, it is a scam.

FBI and IRS Scam Emails

An email with the emblems of the FBI and the IRS is being circulated and requesting readers to complete an FBI questionnaire by clicking on a link. Do not click on the link or open any attachments. The sender is trying to install a malicious program on readers' computers and then block the computer owner from information on the computer unless they pay money.

Source: The Kiplinger Tax Letter, Vol. 92, No. 18, September 8, 2017

Scammers Target Grieving Families

The Alabama Board of Funeral Service has issued a warning about individuals trying to scam grieving families. NFDA has not received any reports from other states, but wants everyone to be vigilant.

In Alabama, individuals are contacting family members who have currently lost a loved one and asking for additional money for funeral services and merchandise. The callers are requesting that family members bring the money to the parking lot of the funeral home after hours and/or asking for a credit card over the phone for payment.

You may want to warn your families of this incident and tell them to report any suspected fraudulent activity to local law enforcement.

Source: NFDA Bulletin, September 25, 2017


Is Your Funeral Home a Resource for Families?

These days we are a "Google first, call second" society. So, when a family googles your funeral home, what is there first impression? Are you capturing families' attentions? Does your website show current information? Does your funeral home website focus on your staff's background and their accomplishments, instead of their passion to help people? Does your website look dreary and gloomy? Have you paid to have your website updated and refreshed? Does your site show your value, services and pricing? Does your website help families who need answers at 2am?

Today 81% of shoppers do research online before making a purchase, so if your website isn't giving families the resources they are looking for, they will go to one of your competitors and buy from them.

Source: funeralOne Blog, May 30, 2017


Hurricane Disaster Relief

Kudos to all our generous PFDA members and members of other state associations, for all the donations to help our friends in Texas as they recover from Hurricane Irma. To date we have raised over $19,000. Thank you all.

PFDA 2017 District Meeting PowerPoints

The PowerPoints for each CE program given at this year's district meetings are available for you to download on the PFDA website. Each program can be downloaded at http://www.pfda.org/pfda-downloads/index.php.

PFDA Scholarship Winner

Deborah Bauer of Petersburgh, PA has been awarded the PFDA sponsored scholarship to the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS). Currently she works as a funeral assistant at Cutright Funeral Homes. Congratulations Deborah.

PFDA Welcomes Our New Members

Join PFDA in welcoming our newest members: Daniel J. Hughes Funeral & Cremation Services, Wilkes Barre; Joseph S. Blazosky Funeral Home, Nesquehoning; Simpson Funeral & Cremation Services, Monaca; Escamillio Jones Funeral Home, Philadelphia, PA; and Delaware Valley Cremation Center, Philadelphia.

PFDA Office Closed

The PFDA office will be closed at noon on November 22. The office will be closed on November 10, 23 and 24. Happy Holidays Everyone.


End of Renewal Period Continuing Education

All Funeral Directors must have the six continuing education credits to renew their license by January 31, 2018. PFDA is offering all six credits from November 8, 2017 – January 10, 2018. Registration forms are enclosed. Additional information can be found under "Upcoming Events" at www.pfda.org.

2018 Mid-Winter Conference-Save the Date!

PFDA is having a Mid-Winter Conference, February 6-8, 2018 at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, PA. More details to follow.

2018 Convention and Expo

The 2018 PFDA Annual Convention and Expo will be held June 3-6, 2018 at Kalahari Resorts, Pocono Manor, PA. More details to follow.


Mona Neil Rouzer Forsaith, 101, of Mars passed away on August 23, 2017. She was the wife of PFDA Past President, Paul Forsaith.

Stephen M. Brady, 69, passed away on September 2, 2017. He was a licensed funeral director and owner of Stephen M. Brady Funeral Home, Pittsburgh. He is survived by his son, Stephen III, a licensed funeral director working in the family business.

John E. "Jack" Herrington, 90, of Philipsburg, passed away on September 4, 2017. He is survived by his son John H. "Jay" Herrington, a licensed funeral director at Koch Funeral Home, State College.

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