What is the Bereavement Standard?
Posted on 23rd October 2020
Some of the UK’s biggest banks, building societies and insurance companies are discussing how to improve services for bereaved customers.
More than 60 organisations, including major banks, intermediaries and brokers are involved in creating a new Bereavement Standard.
A YouGov poll shows that 80% of the British public agree with the three elements of the proposed Standard to improve the way grieving customers are treated.
Many would like to see utility companies, banks, mobile phone and other service providers follow an industry-wide standard, according to the poll of over 2,000 UK adults.
On average, we each have up to 20 utility, banking, mobile, broadband, TV subscription and other household service accounts which need to be closed when we die. It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process.
The Tell Us Once service, introduced in 2011, allows families to report a death to multiple government and public organisations at once.
The Death Notification Service also helps people notify financial services companies. It is planning to expand to include utility companies this year.
However, there isn’t an equivalent service for all private companies.
Will the Bereavement Standard go ahead?
While nothing can reduce the impact of losing a loved one, families often struggle with the administration required by financial organisations. Unfortunately, in some cases they have to deal with a burden of bureaucracy, unsympathetic staff, and repeated requests for the same information.
Nearly 90,000 people have already signed an online petition calling on the government to introduce the Bereavement Standard, and 50 cross-party MPs have signed an Early Day Motion in the Commons.
The Bereavement Standard would:
set a timeframe for bereavement enquiries and account closures
standardise the paperwork and documents required to close accounts, with an emphasis on digital documents
ensure service providers have dedicated bereavement channels with properly trained staff with an email channel for each company to directly handle these cases so that bereaved customers don’t have to wait in call queues.
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