Death needs its own NCOA list The US Postal Service is now $2.8 billion in debt and wants to cut its postal workers' health insurance. It could simply receive $4 million a year from the same National Change of Address vendors who pay it $200,000 each per year by having a card similar to the Change of Address Card at the post office for deaths. This card could then become the Death File — then, as with NCOA for changes of address, the list industry could remove the deceased from active lists.
Currently, the industry can buy the Social Security Death File for $1,850 a year to cleanse its data. However it only covers 75% of Americans who are entitled to receive Social Security, and does not cover anyone receiving a government pension. Further, it only provides the name and ZIP code, which sometimes belongs to the hospital a person died in and not his or her home. The street address is not available because of the hodgepodge
of privacy laws. Frankly, I understand privacy regarding financials of the dead, but I do not understand it for the fact that someone is dead.
A large problem with using NCOA data to get these deceased changes
is the role that widow or widowers play. Around 8 million people in the US have this status and are using the dead spouse's credit card and checking account before and after he or she died. If you telemarket the
dead person, the spouse will get upset, but if you mail the dead person, the spouse will get out the dead person's checkbook and make a donation or purchase. Mark the matches of deaths run them against Amaica or Ml (the two companies that have a contract with every local bell company's inter nal billing records). If the deceased spouse is paying a phone bill monthly, the surviving spouse is the one making the decisions. A death card at the post office would allow the widow or widower to change the name on bills
or take deceased children off all bulk rate mailing lists.
Article 401R requires all births to be given a Social Security number, but this is only half of what needs to be done. Having a death card at the post office could cut the cost of taking a census and help track when individuals' Social Security numbers and identities should no longer be considered active.
Our industry needs a death card at the post office to keep up to date on the more than 13 million deaths a year that impact our data. The USPS needs to cut its deficit. Carriers would be carrying approximately 4.745 billion less pieces of mail; bar coded at 18.3 cents a piece, the savings in postage to our industry would he more than $86.8 billion.
Leslie Ann Mandel-Herzog III President and owner
The Rich List Company www.richlist.com