Cassity Family and NPS

Beleaguered NPS/Lincoln Shuts Down ST. LOUIS – NPS/Lincoln Memorial Life has shut down its operations, according to a company account representative who told Kates-Boylston Publications that owner Brent Cassity broke the news during an employees-only conference call on April 5. Between 50 and 60 sales representatives were let go during the call. An NPS insider who declined to be identified by name said the move was in response to the Texas Department of Insurance’s order to Lincoln to stop writing new business. The good news for funeral home owners is that the Texas Department of Insurance — which has taken the lead role among the states investigating the company — announced April 9 that it, along with the Texas Department of Banking, is forcing NPS/Lincoln to “establish a plan to pay policyholder claims and to address existing contracts.” Under the Texas order, NPS must also remove itself as the policy beneficiary on its Texas contracts, a practice the company is said to have used on a regular basis. But the bad news is that NPS/Lincoln will only pay face amounts going forward. Further, Kates-Boylston has learned that Lincoln never issued policies to some of its funeral home clients. Instead, it offered paid-in-full certificates. Tom Riperda of Educational Concepts Unlimited, an insurance training firm in Belleville, Ill., noted that the business arrangement doesn’t bode well for funeral directors because it means NPS is probably the beneficiary of policies, not the funeral homes. No Policies, Just Certificates So far, no funeral directors have come forward claiming that NPS has failed to pay up. “We’ve had several claims with them since this started going down, and we’ve been paid in a very timely manner,” said Dave Searby, owner of Searby Funeral Home in DuQuoin, Ill. Searby even said he’s gotten full growth points. However, 234 funeral homes recently sent a letter to Cassity to complain about the missing policies. “There is a concern that the funeral directors, who are licensed insurance producers, completed Lincoln Memorial Life Insurance applications to fund the prearrangements but have never seen a policy,” the Jan. 11 letter reads. “When one funeral director phoned the Illinois Insurance Board to inquire if the policies were backed by the Illinois Life and Health Guarantee Association, he was told to check the policy,” the letter goes on. “All the funeral homes have are ‘Paid in Full Certificates.’ It is also a concern that when another funeral director requested a copy of the policy, one was sent but it was incomplete and World Service Life Insurance Company of America was the company name on the policy, not Lincoln Memorial Life Insurance Company.” Cassity did not respond to interview requests in time for publication. A source close to the company said the certificates are essentially worthless. “You and I could do up a paid in full certificate on a computer,” the source, who asked not to be named, said. “It means nothing.” So bad is the situation that even some of the companies’ most loyal employees are now feeling hurt. “I feel taken advantage of,” said Danielle Grace, a former NPS account executive who left the company last December. “My funeral homes put their trust in me,” Grace continued. “They did business in good faith with me, and I turned around and did business in good faith with NPS. I feel that NPS owners and management weren’t honest with us. In fact, I know they weren’t. I feel a huge sense of loyalty to the funeral home owners who are left wondering what is going to happen and what to do next. It’s truly an unfortunate situation for them. This is their future.”

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