Iowa’s attorney general is going to court, asking that the Iowa Insurance Division be allowed to step in and try to recoup the money for people who paid in advance for their funerals at two northwest Iowa funeral homes.
State officials say their investigation shows Andrew Joyce no longer has a license to sell “pre-need” contracts for funerals and burials handled by the Joyce Funeral Home in Emmetsburg and the Joyce-Alesch Funeral Home in Graettinger.
“Mr. Joyce had not notified us that he was ceasing to continue business as a pre-needs seller, did not renew his license and did not take the steps of giving the money back to those customers of his,” said Dennis Britson, assistance chief of the securities bureau in the Iowa Insurance Division, “and that’s what led up to the action and why we’re trying to make sure that those funds get returned to consumers.”
According to the Iowa Insurance Division, a bank account for the Graettinger funeral home was closed in mid-July “due to a lack of funds” and accounts for the funeral home in Emmetsburg and a monument company “maintained negative balances.” State officials already have contacted 56 customers, but Iowans who may have signed a contract with one of the two funeral homes, but haven’t gotten a letter yet are advised to contact the Iowa Insurance Division in Des Moines.
“This is about safeguarding consumer funds and getting them back to those individuals that those accounts are for,” Britson said, “and Mr. Joyce hasn’t done that.”
Radio Iowa was unable to reach anyone at the two funeral homes on Wednesday. The office lines in Emmetsburg and Graettinger rang, but no one answered and neither accepted recorded messages.