Great Western earns Credit Rating Upgrade

Earlier this year we told you of the acquisition of pre-need provider Great Western Insurance Company by the American Enterprise Group of Des Moines, Iowa.  As of April 25, 2018, A.M. Best has completed their ratings on Great Western Insurance Company post acquisition. A.M. Best has upgraded, in a report you can read here, the Financial Strength Rating of Great Western to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the Long Term Issuer Credit Rating to a- from bbb+. Other notable […]


Pre-Need: Defensive Strategy or Offensive Weapon?

Recently I was reading a business plan of a public company funeral home consolidator and when talking about how they look at the pre-need market, they mentioned that they look at Pre-Need as a “defensive posture” for holding on to call volume.  That was interesting to me because I have always looked at Pre-Need as more of a “go get people outside of your market group” to build business.  I’ve now decided that you should not look at Pre-Need as […]

Business Preneed

How Do You Get More Market Share?

There is not a business around that doesn’t want a bigger piece of the pie when it comes to market share.  Funeral businesses and funeral home owners are no different.  So, what is the secret in building your market share? First, there is no silver bullet on how it is done.  However, just like Major League Baseball being more analytic over subjective in analyzing data, funeral homes that analyze data can get a good indication of how to build that […]


American Enterprise Group grows with Great Western Acquisition

An article from the Des Moines Register that you can read here gives some implications on the American Enterprise Group (AEG), a Des Moines based insurer, and its acquisition of Great Western Insurance Company of Utah.  As you recall we made you aware of this acquisition last month on Funeral Director Daily and now that the transaction has closed we will give some more perspective with some information gleaned from the article. American Enterprise Group was founded in 1929 and […]


Presenting Pre-Need — Part 2

Okay, so I left you yesterday reading Presenting Pre-Need — Part 1 and teasing you that I would go into more detail with today’s Presenting Pre-Need — Part 2.  Not that you were up waiting all evening for it, but here is Part 2. I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s column and today I am going to try to let you in on how I succinctly explain the value of pre-need accounts to guests at funeral home seminars.  Hopefully, these tips […]


Presenting Pre-Need — Part 1

I did an article last Tuesday about the Krause Funeral Home and their low-key approach to Pre-Arrangement presentations with their “Pizza and Pre-Need” get-togethers.  It made me think about how I’ve presented Pre-Need in a seminar format and how my approach has been refined over the years as both the consumers and the product (death care) have changed in some subtle and some not so subtle ways. Over the years I started with trust based certificates of deposits and then […]


Pizza and Pre-Planning

More than ever, in our transitionary society, funeral homes are depending on pre-arrangements, at a younger age,  to get families to choose their funeral home over a competitor.  People just don’t seem as loyal as years gone by and the thought is that the idea of getting some future business on the books can’t do anything but help a funeral home in the future. Several years ago our funeral home started offering monthly seminars on pre-planning.  We still do and […]

Finance Preneed

Great Western Insurance Company to be Acquired

In an article from the Think Advisor which you can read here it was reported that Ogden, Utah based pre-need life insurer Great Western Life Insurance is going to be acquired by American Republic Insurance of Des Moines, Iowa. Great Western is a privately held life insurance company, specializing in Pre-Need funeral insurance started by a funeral industry family in 1983 – the founder, John Lindquist, still serves as CEO and Chairman of the Board.  It is reported that the […]


Pre-Arrangement Operations in the Cremation World

Back in the 1990s as our State of Minnesota began allowing insurance policies to be a repository for pre-need funeral arrangement funding, many funeral homes, mine included, started insurance agencies in order to profit from the decision.  Since, Minnesota is a 100% trusting state, prior to that decision if a family gave you $5000 to pre-arrange a funeral, all $5000, 100% of what you were given, had to be put in a certificate of deposit.  Since it was all put […]


What’s Happening in the Pre-Need Market

It is interesting for me to speculate on what is happening in the Pre-Need insurance market.  While I have access to some statistics – it is by all means when considering the national perspective – a small sampling size.  However, I do see a couple of things trending that I would indicate that the Pre-Need death care market could be up for some challenges. The first thing that I have noticed – and it doesn’t take a genius to understand […]