Recession Drives 65% Cremation Increase

September 17, 2009
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Funeral homes have seen a drastic increase in the less expensive cremation option over full burial year-over-year, some experiencing an almost 65 per cent increase, Tribune Business was told yesterday, as official figures indicated a 7 per cent increase in New Providence funeral fees – coupled with the recession – was responsible for the change.

In the Department of Statistics’ July consumer price index, New Providence funerals fees increased by 6.6 per cent, while fees in Grand Bahama increased by 7.9 per cent.

Many funeral homes were surprised by the change, some saying they were “shocked” to hear that funeral expenses had gone up.

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Managing director of Cedar Crest Funeral Home, Audley Fraser, said his company had not increased its fees in over three years.

According to him, despite the increased cost of shipping caskets, the company had tried to absorb the expense in order to keep their prices competitive.

However, Mr Fraser suggested the rising cost of burial in Grand Bahama – and the markedly depressed market – may be the reason for that island’s almost 8 per cent increase in funeral expenses.

He and other funeral home personnel agreed that the number of families cremating their deceased loved ones has increased exponentially since 2008.

With the cost of a basic funeral pegged at almost $5,000, and a direct cremation at about $1,300, persons were opting out of the costly and rapidly declining burial plots.

“It has increased drastically,” said a director at Butlers Funeral Home. “I’m doing a lot of cremations.”

She told this paper she was busy working on two full funerals, but that the requests for cremations far outweighed that of the traditional funeral and burial.

A Secretary at Restview Memorial Mortuary and Crematorium said his company had seen an almost 65 per cent increase in the number of cremations performed at their crematorium.

“It’s cheaper than having a funeral service,” he said.

He suggested that there have been a lot more deaths recently as well, blaming the increase on an overall decrease in health throughout New Providence.

“Cremation is the main solution people resort to these days,” said the Restview secretary.

Source: Tribune

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