The Co-operative Group is to start selling its funeral services door-to-door in an initiative that claims to be the first of its kind in the UK. The company will use its 3,000 insurance salesmen to carry out the sales.
It is the first time that the Co-operative Group has sought to overlap its insurance arm, Co-operative Insurance Services (CIS), and its separate funeral services business, Funeralcare. Recently appointed marketing director Craig Shannon is overseeing the integration of Co-operative Bank and CIS into Co-op Financial Services. In a separate venture, Co-op is test marketing a branch combining the bank, CIS and travel business Travelcare in central Manchester.
Unlike most other life insurance companies, such as Prudential, which has axed its direct salesforces in recent years, CIS maintained its door-to-door salesmen as its primary distribution. Its main products have traditionally been life insurance, pensions and savings products. More recently it has diversified into mortgages and home and motor insurance.
Under the funeral plan, customers will be asked for a single up-front payment for a funeral service provided by Funeralcare, without having to take a medical. Different service level options will be offered.
Co-op bank is also launching a “carbon-dioxide conscious” car loan this week, where a donation by the bank to Climate Care will offset 20 per cent of emissions.