The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration has hired a special counsel to look into the problems of a funeral insurer.

The special counsel, Miller Leonard, a Platte City, Mo., lawyer, will work with a team of investigators to see whether National Prearranged Services Inc., St. Louis, and a sister company, Lincoln Memorial Life Insurance Company, Austin, Texas, violated Missouri laws and regulations, according to officials in the Missouri department.

NPS and Lincoln Memorial are affiliates of Forever Enterprises Inc., Clayton, Mo., according to a proxy that Forever Enterprises filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2003.

Texas officials estimate customers of National Prearranged Services and affiliates have about 150,000 of the companies’ funeral insurance policies in force.

The Texas Department of Insurance placed the companies into receivership earlier this month, officials say.

A Texas state court has prohibited the companies from conducting company business or other parties from taking any action against the companies’ property, officials say.

The Missouri insurance department has obtained a consent order from Lincoln Memorial that calls for the company to reverse the replacement of the company’s whole life insurance policies and to reverse the policy loans made against the whole life policies.

In April, the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors obtained a memorandum of understanding with NPS that calls for NPS to suspend sales of pre-need contracts in Missouri.