Originally published in the January 11, 2018, issue of the Memorial Business Journal
As the calendar for the 2018 NFDA Cremation Certification Program begins to fill out, Mike Nicodemus, vice president of cremation services, reports that he has conducted this program in 26 states since its inception in September 2013.
Nicodemus said the program has been conducted at 11 mortuary science schools, with 2,753 attendees receiving certification in the four-plus years the program has been in place. In 2017 alone, the number of attendees certified was 576.
Virginia and Maryland have held the most programs; both hosted four programs each, along with Jefferson State Community College, Wayne State University and San Antonio College (Alamo Campus).
Five mortuary science schools hosted the program for the first time in 2017: Mt. Ida College, Piedmont Tech, Lincoln College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology and Arkansas State University.
In discussing the impact of the program, Nicodemus shared a comment from Jack West, national account executive for Federated Insurance, an NFDA endorsed provider. “About five years ago, we noticed a disturbing trend of increased claims tied to cremation services, both in the number of claims and the severity of those claims,” West said. “Federated’s loss ratio specific to funeral directors was deteriorating and performing well over our target numbers.
“However, over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic turnaround with our loss results,” he continued. “Much of the improved results can be attributed to NFDA’s Cremation Certification Program. Mike Nicodemus has performed countless programs from coast to coast, providing much needed education to funeral service providers.
There is no doubt that the education provided has helped to reduce litigation and the number of fires caused from performing cremation services.”
Programs on the calendar so far for 2018 include:
- February 13: Raleigh, North Carolina
- February 23: St. Petersburg, Florida (prior to the start of the NFDA Cremation Conference, February 23-25)
- March 6: La Vista, Nebraska
- March 12: Birmingham, Alabama (refresher course only)
- March 15: Salt Lake City, Utah
- March 20: Detroit, Michigan
- April 4: Newton, Massachusetts (Boston Area)
- April 9: Fargo, North Dakota
- May 2: Catonsville, Maryland (Baltimore area)
- May 21: Bloomington, Minnesota
- June 13: Charlottesville, Virginia
- August 1: Birmingham, Alabama
- October 13: Salt Lake City, Utah (prior to the start f the NFDA International Convention & Expo).
Dates will continue to be added to the calendar; check www.nfda.org/cremationcertification for updates.
“There is no question the hosts of this program see the value it brings to those who attend,” Nicodemus said.
“The information provided on legal issues, operational procedures and environmental issues, to name a few, has come from years of research, writing and experience. And whether you operate your own crematory or not, this program is tailored to meet the needs of funeral directors and operators to better serve cremation families,” he added.