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May 2018 Reporter

May 2018

Dear Members,


Notice of the PFDA Annual Meeting

We invite you to attend PFDA's 2018 Annual Meeting and House of Delegates Meeting, which will be held at the annual convention on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, beginning at 9 a.m. at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Pocono Manor, PA. This meeting is for PFDA members.

At the meeting, members will vote on the following matters: the election of officers for 2018-2019 and the election of candidates nominated by their Local Associations for the position of District Governor. If you have any questions, please call the PFDA office at 800-692-6068.

(1) Election of the following slate of officers for 2018-2019:

For the Position of President:
Stephanie Doriguzzi, Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home

For the Position of President-Elect:
David V. Peake, Jr., Craft Funeral Home, Inc.

For the Position of Secretary/Treasurer:
Frank Kapr, Frank Kapr Funeral Home, Inc.

(2) Election of candidates nominated by their Local Association District Governor:

District 3
P. David Newhouse, P. David Newhouse Funeral Home

District 5
Aaron W. Pietryka, Wroblewski Funeral Home, Inc.

2018 Convention and Expo

The 2018 PFDA Annual Convention and Expo will be held June 3-6, 2018 at Kalahari Resorts, Pocono Manor, PA. To book hotel reservations visit: https://book.kalahariresorts.com/poconos/groups.asp and use group ID: 498 or call 877-525-2427. Five and half (5½) credits will be offered.

Local Association Presidents and Secretaries and PFDA members are asked to submit names of deceased members and immediate family members to be honored at the Service of Remembrance during the PFDA Annual Convention. The service will be held on Tuesday, June 5th at 10:15am.

The annual Service Awards Ceremony will take place during the PFDA Annual Convention on Tuesday, June 5th at 9:30am.

2018 District Meetings

PFDA's Annual District Meetings will be held during the weeks of September 10-13 and September 17-20, 2018. The continuing education seminars will be: Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse, presented by various speakers, for 2 CEU's and How Boomers Are Changing the Funeral Profession, presented by Josh McQueen, Passare, for 1 CEU.


Recommendations for Funeral Directors Exposed to an Overdose Death

In the Memorial Business Journal, NFDA has been running a multi-part story on the opioid epidemic. Both residue on the skin and personal belongings can put funeral directors at risk of overdose. In order to protect you and your staff members, here are a few pre-cautions everyone exposed to the body should be wearing: overalls or full-length gowns; rubber or latex gloves (or similar water- and chemical-resistant gloves; plastic sleeve covers; rubber nonslip and chemical-proof boots; and face masks or visors. Also, it is recommended that funeral homes have a naloxone overdose-reversal kit onsite and employees need to be trained on using the kit.

Source: Memorial Journal, March 29, 2018

Bank Accounts of Decedents

Historically, many funeral directors were able to go to the local bank with a death certificate and obtain monies in a decedent's checking/savings account to pay the funeral bill. Unfortunately, the law never permitted that practice and recently banks have begun to actually follow the law which provides: "Any bank . . . at any time after the death of a depositor. . . shall pay the amount on deposit . . . when the total standing to the credit of the decedent . . . does not exceed $10,000, to the spouse, any child, the father or mother or any sister or brother (preference being given in the order named) of the deceased depositor . . . provided that a receipted funeral bill or an affidavit, executed by a licensed funeral director which sets forth that satisfactory arrangements for payment of funeral services have been made, is presented." A sample affidavit for use by the funeral director can be found at PFDA's website under legal forms.

Apply Today for Career Development Awards

The Funeral Service Foundation offers up to 60 Career Development Awards each year to all licensed funeral directors. The awards underwrite registration fees for a single NFDA Cremation Certification, Arranger Training or Certified Preplanning Consultant seminar of the recipient's choosing. Twenty names will be drawn by the Foundation Board of Trustees in January, July and October. Recipients have one year to redeem their career award.

The Foundation accepts names for Career Development Awards throughout the year. Submissions are good for three selection cycles. Those interested may submit their names online at www.FuneralServiceFoundation.org. Information about each of these innovative training programs is available on the www.nfda.org.
Source: The NFDA Bulletin, April 2, 2018

The Funeral Friend Website – Resource for Funeral Directors

What's Your Grief has launched a new website developed specifically for funeral directors and they are interested in feedback from funeral service professionals. The site is called The Funeral Friend. Currently there are only a few articles on the site, but they will be adding more moving forward. The site is www.thefuneralfriend.com.

If you have any feedback, suggestions, comments or questions, you can contact them at whatsyourgrief@gmail.com.


ACT 6 of 2018 Includes Funeral Director Licensees

As of April 16, 2018, according to Act 6 of 2018, any person holding a license, registration, certificate or permit issued by a licensing board or commission under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs shall notify the appropriate licensing board/commission within 30 days of the occurrence of any of the following:

(1) a disciplinary action taken by a licensing agency of another jurisdiction.
(2) a finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere, probation without verdict, disposition in lieu of trial or an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ard) of any felony or misdemeanor offense.

To report a disciplinary action or criminal matter as set forth above, log in to the Pennsylvania licensing system (pals) at www.pals.pa.gov, and select "mandatory reporting by licensees" under the heading "licensing services."

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State

Have You Reviewed Your Employee Handbook in the Last Six Months?

Due to the new concerns with harassment, drug related laws, wage and hour requirements and guns in the workplace, SESCO is recommending that you review and update your Employee Handbook. Here are some topics that should be updates: Workplace conducts and social media; Arbitration agreements; Harassment; Parental Leave; Disability and other accommodations; Paid leave laws; and Employee health and safety (OSHA). To read the entire article go to: https://sescomgt.com/sesco-report.

Source: The SESCO Management Consultants Report, Volume MMXVIII, Issue 1, January/February 2018


HB1343 Passes the House

HB1343, amends the act entitled, "An act empowering the General Counsel or his designee to issue subpoenas for certain licensing board activities; providing for hearing examiners in the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs; providing additional powers to the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs; and further providing for civil penalties and license suspension," adding that in addition to disciplinary powers and duties, boards and commissions shall have the power to provide for the carryover of any continuing education credits in excess of the number required for biennial renewal. The carryover shall be valid for one biennial renewal term only. This will have to pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor to become law.


My Growth Rate is What??

One of the biggest mysteries in funeral service is knowing the growth rate being paid on your preneed funeral contracts. Most funeral directors assume they still have the rate they signed up with years ago. The truth is, a lot has changed in the interest rate environment in the last few years, and rates just aren't what they used to be. This article by Todd Carlson, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer for Funeral Directors Life, shares how you can cut through the red tape and solve the mystery of what your growth rate truly is in today's interest rate environment. Read more at http://bit.ly/MyGrowthRateIsWhat.


Funeral Directors Life is Named to Fortune Magazine's List of the 2018 Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance

Great Place to Work and FORTUNE have honored Funeral Directors Life as one of the 2018 Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance. The ranking considered input from more than 76,000 employees in the Financial Services & Insurance sector. Great Place to Work, a research and consulting firm, evaluated more than 50 elements of team members' experience on the job. These included employee pride in the organization's community impact, belief that their work makes a difference, and feeling their work has special meaning. Rankings are based on employees' experiences, no matter who they are or what they do. Funeral Directors Life took the fifth spot on the national list for small & medium companies.

The Best Workplaces in the Financial Services & Insurance is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE based on employee feedback from Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations. Funeral Directors Life also was recently recognized on the 2018 Best Workplaces in Texas list for small and medium companies, ranked sixth.

Source: Funeral Directors Life, News Release, March 27, 2018

Opportunities After the New "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act"

The "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," which was passed by Congress in December 2017, made significant changes to individual, business and estate taxes, and became effective as of January 1, 2018. While the business-related provisions are considered permanent, the individual and estate tax provisions only remain in effect until December 31, 2025, when they are subject to a "sunset" and will revert back to 2017 law.

To learn more about the major changes that could impact you and your business in the coming year go to: https://www.federatedinsurance.com/ws/fi/InsuranceResources/index.htm.

Source: Federated Insurance, It's Your Life, March 2018

When Disaster Strikes

The devastating results of 2017's extreme weather are still vivid in many of our minds. Catastrophes and disasters present themselves in many forms. A business's ability to handle these disasters is critical not only to its future and success, but also to the success of the community. How will your business react to the challenges presented by a catastrophe?

For tips and recommendations to protect you and your funeral home go to:

Source: Federated Insurance, Risk Management Corner, March 2018


Why Following Up with Families is so Important

Funeral home marketing focuses on ways to get new families, but what about customer retention? Your promise to serve a family should not end when the funeral is over, you should be following up with families after the services. Here are some reasons why funeral directors should take that extra step to follow up with families: you make them feel special and you create loyalty; you make them feel they made the right choice by choosing your funeral home; you get honest feedback that will help you grow; you provide higher customer service; and you will get more referrals from their family and friends. Remember, it is always cheaper to retain a current family, then it is to go out a find a new one.

Source: Funeral Business Advisors Magazine, March/April 2018


Scammers are Hijacking Local Phone Numbers

Scammers, to trick people into answer the phone, are taking over local phone numbers at an alarming rate. Many times, these calls are overseas criminals attempting to gain personal information or get payment from something that isn't owed. If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately, don't answer yes to any questions, and don't press any buttons. If the call seems legit, hang up and call back a valid phone number for the company.

Source: The Kiplinger Letter, Vol. 95, No. 11


Joseph W. Lopez, 74, of Belle Vernon, passed away on March 20, 2018. He is survived by his son Joseph, a Licensed Funeral Director at Spallino Funeral Home, Charleroi.

Anthony E. Perry, 91, of Oakland, passed away on March 31, 2018. He was a Licensed Funeral Director and owner of Anthony E. Perry Funeral Home, Oakland and he had worked at Elmer Herman Funeral Home, Pittsburgh.

Nancy R. Bock, 82, of Glenshaw, passed away on April 11, 2018. She is survived by her son Lawrence, and granddaughter, Emily, both licensed funeral directors and working in the family business, Bock Funeral Home, Glenshaw.

Shelby D. Ferguson, 94, of North Belle Vernon, passed away on April 18, 2018. He was as past PFDA Board of Governors member. Shelby is survived by his son, Shelby, owner of the family business, Ferguson Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., Belle Vernon, and Past President of PFDA. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Karlee, a licensed funeral director, working in the family business.

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