From the Desk of Rob Kimes – September

As Summer changes to Fall my job description focus changes slightly from the focus on membership growth, the Mid-Winter Advocacy Summit, and Lobbying the Legislative session in the beginning of the year. Through the Convention, incoming and outgoing of officers, and all that the summer months bring. Now in the fall I put on my West Virginia Pre-Need Trust growth and management hat. The Association has been fortunate to have seen substantial growth over the last eight years. There has been growth in funeral homes that use the Trust and corresponding growth of the overall deposits. Actually we have increased our average funds on deposit by 50% over the last 8 years.

We are about to implement ways to get your claims even faster than before and we are also planning to roll out a program where funds from the buyer that make monthly payments can go directly from the buyer’s bank account into their trust account without the funeral home taking in and sending out these periodic deposits.

Most of you are aware the Trust doesn’t use a third party sales group or have any sales person dedicated strictly to call on funeral homes on behalf of the trust. We do it through the office and I would gladly come to your facility explain all aspects of the trust, train you on the forms and procedures, and get you into the program.

We don’t use smoke and mirror techniques such as “casket freezes” or “trinket points programs”. The consumer (you) will pay for such techniques. Usually in the form of less commissions, less growth, or less discounts from vendors you use. It is all in the numbers, so ask yourself am I really getting the best for me and my client families, then call me to discuss our trust.

We offer a solid, yet conservative growth product with the ability to retain up to 10% of the initial deposit for your revenue stream. Our end of year growth numbers in the last eight years have been solid. We strive to pay claims and make deposits easier and as mentioned above are in the final stages of making claim payouts even faster and deposits less time consuming. All of this and still maintain good stewardship of your pre-need funds. Our division of duties and adhering to state law is never a gray area when it comes to your Association pre-need trust.

Speaking of changes…I attended the last West Virginia Board of Funeral Service Examiners meeting and the board took the following actions.
*The board accepted the resignation letter of Office Manager Constance Sloan.
*The board dismissed Regina Anderson as Executive Director.
*The board has retained Linda Lyter as temporary Executive Director and Alice Long will remain on in her current clerical role.

I have been in communications with Vital Statistics concerning electronic death certificates and it is in the purchasing department. Just a side note Matt Wickert is the acting state registrar and Gary Thompson is the acting assistant director within DHHR.

We are currently in the process of upgrading the Association website The new advanced site will have many new features and we are excited to be able to offer our members the top of the line technology! Dues payments will be available on the new site! More information to come as we complete this process. We will update you all when it’s up and running!

If there is a way in which I can be of assistance, please let me know. Have a safe and pleasant fall season.