Missouri Preneed Examinations: The Doctrine of Semi-Absurd Statutory Construction

Missouri funeral homes are frustrated with the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.  The second round of preneed examinations has begun, and the Board’s staff is citing sellers for “new” contract form violations on “old” contracts.  Examiners are reviewing all outstanding contracts, including those covered in the seller’s first examination, and now citing the seller for violations of Section 436.425.    The rub for many of funeral directors involves insurance beneficiary designations accepted in a spend down situation.  The State Board approved a rule a few years ago (20 CSR 2120-3.210) that defined insurance funded preneed contracts to include spend down transactions.  That rule was opposed by the Board until the then current Board chairman was removed by former Governor Nixon.  The remaining Board members got the ‘message’, and the rule was eventually approved.  But, the…

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