Funeral Home Settles Pre-Need Case

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WVAH and the Charleston Gazette mail report that a Putnam County, West Virginia funeral home has reached a settlement in a case from 2015 in which the funeral home submitted death claims on preneed funeral plans for people who were not yet deceased.

Homesteaders Life Insurance Company contends that the Gatens-Harding Funeral Home claimed over 100 people died between 2005 and 2013 and the funeral home collected over $900,000 in proceeds from the policies over the same time period.

The settlement reached will not allow Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, or any business owned or operated by Chad or Billie Harding from selling preneed contracts. The funeral home will also have to pay $25,000 to cover the state’s investigation and this settlement is independent from other administration, licensing, or prosecutorial matters.

Funeral Director Daily’s take: This seems like a small penalty. However, there may be more jurisdictions yet to weigh in. It will be quite a jolt to the PR of the firm also.

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