QuikStats: Invocare & Australian Deaths 1989 – 2011

by Shane Granger

It’s a ‘Mr. Death’ or something. He’s come about the reaping? I don’t think we need any at the moment. (Monty Python, 1983)

Last Sunday Michael Rowland hosting Inside Business made light of the funeral industry. Recent comments by Andrew Smith, CEO of Invocare, Australia’s largest operator of funeral services provided the opening when during an investor presentation he pointed to lower than projected H1 mortality rates had created a “headwind” for the company.

Andrew Smith went on to state “In terms of an operating result this has been a challenging first half with the number of deaths and market share falling below expectations in Australia and NZ,”.

These comments were reflected in the Investor Presentation which noted that:

  • Comparable funeral case volume growth of 1.3% at April YTD dropped to decline of 0.7% by end of half (June).

An unseasonably warm winter in Australian seems to have caused a slow down in deaths across the country this year. It must be a significant drop to impact the forecast revenues of Invocare who seemed to be tracking well to the start of autumn.

Here’s a look at Australian Deaths (Male/Female) from 1989 through to 2011.

1 - AustralianDeaths_1989~2011_130830

The really surprising finding from this QuikStat was that I could not readily access temporal pattern data (that is deaths by month). I would think that this type of data would be becoming more useful due to the possible impacts on mortality from climate change. Of course, that’s not to say that there isn’t any done but it would certainly require more digging.

As for Invocare, they believe that the FY 2013-2014 offers further challenges with a summary point noting that the number of deaths will be below expectations in Australia and New Zealand!

Let’s just hope that Andrew Smith doesn’t end up knocking on your door to discuss the ‘reaping’ anytime soon.

Update (31/08/2013)

  • Michael Rowland responded to the article with the following tweet. As it turns out he is not just scripted funny (but the real deal). My thanks!

2 - mjrowland68