The Klarahill Group rests on two firm foundations – funeral services and family law. Where funeral services are concerned the group’s aim is to consolidate the industry, offering partnership and participation to funeral homes with strong local roots. Group subsidiary Verahill focuses on growth in legal disputes and preventive financial family law, as well as legal services regarding the deceased. Collectively, they employ around 200 people and have more than 60 offices, from Uppsala in the north of Sweden to Malmö in the south.
: SEK 270 m
: about 200
: Sven Knutsson
Sven Ackell & Petra Segerdahl
CEO Klarahill & CEO Verahill
During the year, Klarahill, the funeral division of the Group, continued on its acquisition journey. Today the company has around 60 offices and more than 100 employees – from Uppsala in the north of Sweden to Malmö in the south. Acquisitions and a clear business model form the basis for profitable development that continued in 2022. The funeral business increased its sales by 38 percent – to SEK 202 million.
STRONG NETWORK IMPORTANT IN COMPETITION
The many acquisitions have enabled Klarahill to quickly and successfully integrate new funeral homes into the group. A strong internal culture is required to keep 60 funeral homes in line with each other, each of them established to a great extent in the local community and with a habit of doing things their own way. During the year Klarahill initiated a strategic valuation process. This was about demonstrating the benefits of the funeral home network and assuring the quality of what is offered. At the same time, it is important to maintain a local identity and entrepreneurial spirit in order to be competitive, explains CEO Sven Ackell.
“In 2022 we focused much more sharply on strengthening our team spirit, in particular by bringing everyone together at a staff conference on the theme of Together,” he says. “This provided new insights and gave us an energy boost.”
For more than 15 years there has been a debate about whether the Church of Sweden should be able to run funeral homes, and at the end of 2022 the General Synod decided to allow this. Klarahill believes that the legislation is inadequate and that the decision will lead to unequal and unhealthy competition that will hit smaller funeral homes particularly hard.
“Our acquisition plan remains in place, but the establishment of funeral homes by the Church of Sweden represents a new risk that we need to take into account going forward,” says Sven Ackell.
MORE INTELLIGENT SOLUTIONS FOR CUSTOMERS
Today Klarahill carries out 7,000 funerals per year and aims to reach 10,000 by 2025. To cover a larger part of the funeral market, it is therefore important to supplement local presence with a digital option. The digital agency Lova Begravning has been part of Klarahill since 2020.
“Our digital offering allows us to compete with other players who have focused solely on a digital presence, known as online funeral homes,” says Sven Ackell. “Having both a digital service and physical funeral homes means that we occupy a unique position in the market. For example, we can take on assignments in Stockholm that we wouldn’t otherwise have received at our offices, and we can use existing resources available in other locations. Working digitally and more intelligently, with coordination and collaboration, gives us more time for our customers.”
VERAHILL CORRECTLY POSITIONED
In 2022 the family law business in the subsidiary Verahill broadened its range of services and now offers expertise in property law and international private law. Distinct specialist groups have also been established, while the staff has grown from 60 to 100 during the year. The investments are expected to have already made a major impact by the end of 2023, according to Petra Segerdahl, CEO of Verahill.
“Our expansion running parallel to that of the funeral division offers major opportunities,” she says. “We’re growing our existing business while attracting new skills. Our employees are truly passionate about making a difference and want to be involved in driving development in the company and the industry.”
A clear trend in 2022 is greater interest from operators such as insurance companies and banks in offering family law services to their customers. For example, a deeper partnership with the insurance company If was established, with Verahill now being a preferred partner in family law for If’s corporate customers.
MEDIATION – A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION FOR ALL
Previously, Verahill’s business was dependent on providing legal services regarding the deceased, but it has now positioned itself as an innovator in dispute resolution. By investing in a broader range of products, the business is now more robust, with a strong business model and a steady flow of customers. What’s new in 2022 is that Verahill has launched mediation as a new service.
“We always put the child first in custody disputes, and mediation helps mitigate conflicts when parents have difficulty agreeing,” says Petra Segerdahl. “Working closely with our partner Varannan Vecka, we’ve put together a package comprising our service plus their digital tool for parents who have separated. This combination is unique and has the potential to make a big difference for families and society.”
Significant events 2022
Sven Ackell new CEO at Klarahill.
Acquisition of four funeral homes, with 11 new offices.
Launch of a mediation service.