Service Corporation International - Dignity Memorial



Who is Service Corporation International (SCI)?

Service Corporation International (SCI) was initially founded in 1962 and has its company headquarters in Houston, Texas.  They own 1,435 funeral homes and 374 cemeteries in the U.S. and are the largest funeral and cemetery services company in the world.  SCI provides any and all funeral-related services mainly in the United States and Canada but they also own facilities in eight European countries including England, France and Germany.  Additionally, the company also conducts business in Singapore.  The services they provide include embalming, burial, cremation and pre-arranged funeral packages.  Their products cover every aspect of funerals such as caskets, burial vaults, flowers, cremation funeral options and burial garments.  It is estimated that their share of the total funeral and cemetery market in North American is 13%.

SCI consider themselves to be innovative industry leaders providing high-quality services, good value to the consumer and compassion in their interactions with bereaved family members of the deceased. 

What were the corporationís beginnings?

The founder of this huge organization is Robert L. Waltrip, a licensed funeral director, who received his initial experience in the family funeral business.   Mr. Waltrip has managed the firm for over forty years.  Part of his formula for success was the purchase of additional funeral homes starting in the 1960ís and the ďclusterĒ concept whereby many facilities pool their resources for cost efficiency. 

Their network of funeral homes has largely been built-up by acquiring existing funeral businesses.  Although SCI introduced the brand ĎDignity Memorialí in 1999, many of their network of funeral homes still trade under the family names that were acquired.  In fact, in some businesses the original funeral home staff may still be retained and employed by SCI.

The company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and currently has funeral contracts for unperformed services in the amount of $6.8 billion as of December 2011.  The company states that it has assisted more than 630,000 families in the past year and through their extensive network of companies would be able to serve almost 80% of the families in the United States.

In 2006 SCI acquired Alderwoods Group, who were at the time the second largest company in the North American death care industry.  In 2010 they acquired Keystone North America, the then 5th largest company and in 2011 they acquired 70% of outstanding shares of The Neptune Society.  Neptune is described by SCI as the nationís largest direct cremation organization.  These acquisitions have helped to position SCI as a dominant force in the death care industry.  

What brands does SCI trade with?

SCI operates a number of brands targeting different aspects of the death care market.

  • Dignity Memorial: provides services in 41 states and seven Canadian provinces.
  • Dignity Planning: Dignity Planning provides funeral planning and arrangements through Dignity Memorial North America locations.
  • Advantage Funeral and Cremation Services: Advantage provides basic funeral services and products.
  • Funeraria del Angel: Funeraria del Angel provides specialized services for Hispanic customers.
  • Memorial Plan: Memorial Plan currently manages six funeral homes and five cemeteries in South Florida.
  • Making Everlasting Memories: helps memorialize loved ones by preserving and publishing life stories.
  • National Cremation Society: Founded in 1972, National Cremation Society is the oldest and largest cremation service in the United States.
  • Neptune and Trident Cremation Societies: operate in 9 states offering cremation services
SCI also owns a disaster-recovery subsidiary, Kenyon International Emergency Services, Inc. which was involved in the aftermath of the tsunami tragedy that took place in Thailand in December of 2004.  A private client (either a corporation or institution) hired Kenyonís mobile mortuary to locate remains of individuals connected to that client in the disaster area.  This subsidiary has a list of clients in excess of 200, which include institutions, governments and corporations for which it has the capability of setting up a disaster management coordination center. 

SCIís Partnerships

SCI has partnerships with a number of organizations including:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW)
  • The Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA)
  • FedEX
  • American Legion 
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • Angel de la Comunidad Fundacion
  • Employee Bereavement Programs for:

  • - American International Group (AIG)
    - Florida Hospice Association
    - Liberty University
SCIís Competitors

SCIís top competitors in the funeral industry are:

  • Stewart Enterprises, a 100-year old company, which has 217 funeral service locations and 141 cemeteries in 14 states (& Puerto Rico).  Stewart Enterprises are also a partner in and has a staff of 5,400.
  • Carriage Services, Inc. that has 147 funeral homes in 25 states and 33 cemeteries in 12 states.
  • StoneMor Partners L.P is now the 2nd largest owner and operator of cemeteries in the U.S. and has its head office in Levittown, Pennsylvania.  It has 293 properties in 26 states, 274 cemeteries and 69 funeral homes
SCIís acquisition of Alderwoods Group in 2006 raised some concerns.  The Federal Trade Commission contended that the merger would lessen competition in 47 markets, leaving consumers with fewer choices and the prospect of higher prices. An agreement was reached to proceed with the merger, whereby SCI had to sell a number of properties within 29 markets.
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