What Is a Fraternal Benefit Society?

What Is a Fraternal Benefit Society?

Perhaps you’ve come across a Fraternal Benefit Society and wondered what makes them different from traditional insurance carriers.

From robust member benefits to unique products, fraternals have a ton of great features that really set them apart.

For starters, the fraternals we currently represent are:

  1. KSKJ Life

  2. Royal Neighbors of America

  3. Foresters

  4. Thrivent

  5. Gleaner

Let’s take a closer look at how Fraternal Benefit Societies work.


How Do Fraternal Benefit Societies Work?

A fraternal is a not-for-profit member organization that offers insurance products, most commonly life insurance and retirement products.

The profits made are reinvested in members’ local communities as well member benefits, such as scholarships and grants.

Every year, fraternals invest over $2 billion in time and direct contributions to local communities. We’ve seen fraternals provide funds for disasters as well as people in need. In total, fraternals represent over 9 million members.

Many consumers prefer fraternal organizations, because there’s a trust element, and they like how the excess revenue is spent. The member benefits are also a huge draw, which brings us to our next point.

What are Member Benefits?

Fraternal companies have what is called member benefits.

These benefits might include scholarship funds, disaster funds, free counseling, community grants, and complimentary member events.

If you’re in the business of selling annuities, you’ve probably come across the riders. For example, the 10% free withdrawal rider is very popular, but it costs the client some interest, which in turn costs them money.

Fraternal companies consider the riders a member benefit, which means the client does not have to give up interest in order to use it.

Here are a few more examples of some member benefits for the carriers we represent.

KSKJ Life Member Benefits

KSKJ offers “PerkSpot,” a discount program for travel, retail, entertainment, and more. There is also a hearing benefit that provides discounts on hearing aids as well as free hearing consultations.

ScriptSave is a prescription savings program that helps members save up to 80% on brand name and generic prescriptions.

There is an educational grant program that offers a $1,000 educational grant for all members who meet specific requirements.

Baby Benefit insures newborns for up to a year. The member’s newborn would be insured for $1,000 from the 7th-60th day of birth.

Royal Neighbors of America

Royal Neighbors of America also has a robust set of member benefits. This includes the following:

  • Difference Maker Fund

  • Nation of Neighbors Grant

  • Free and Discounted Services

  • Volunteer Opportunities

  • Educational Scholarships

  • Member Relief Fund

  • Voting Privileges

The discounts cover a ton of things:

  • Retail benefits, such as cash back when you shop online

  • Vision discounts, which help you save from 10%-60%

  • Legal discounts – free and discounted services from experienced attorneys

  • Hearing aid and dental discounts

  • MRI & CT Scan discounts, from 40%-75% off

  • Lab testing discounts, from 10%-80% off

To be a full member, you have to apply for membership and purchase an insurance or annuity product.

Foresters

Foresters has a unique approach to benefits. They consider these “well-being benefits,” which are made to enhance your family life.

This includes “Everyday Monday,” which is a helpline that offers debt counseling, bereavement, home emergencies, and personal legal matters.

There is also a member e-newsletter that provides helpful hints and tips on health, financial wellness, and community events.

The community grants help fund local family and volunteer outings, and the scholarship program helps students reach their educational goals.

There are member events, such as movie nights, amusement park days, sporting events, and more.

The emergency assistance program provides short-term, temporary financial aid to members who need help, and Foresters also organizes and supports volunteer projects in local communities.

Thrivent

Thrivent offers a ton of member benefits, which include discounted services and insurance benefits.

Here is a list of them:

  • Thrivent Choice, a way to direct money to congregations and nonprofits

  • Free & Discounted Services, such as identity monitoring and health discounts

  • Free Educational Resources, such as materials on planning your will or dealing with a loss

  • Thrivent Magazine, a quarterly magazine with news, tips, and information on blending faith and finance

  • Thrivent Action Teams, a way to volunteer

  • Thrivent Federal Credit Union

  • Thrivent Member Networks, helping local communities

  • Workshops & Events, such as free finance workshops

  • Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity

  • Thrivent Builds Worldwide Trip Discount, a discount on trips when you volunteer around the world

  • Uninsurable Child Life Insurance Benefit

  • Newborn Death Benefit

  • Legacy Support for Orphan Children Benefit

  • Board Elections

  • Heartwood Conference Center & Retreat

All in all, Thrivent has a ton of nice benefits for members, and there’s a big emphasis on combining faith and finance. If this is important to your clients, Thrivent could be a company to talk about.

Gleaner

Finally, we have Gleaner, who also has similar benefits.

Like KSKJ, Gleaner provides members with “PerkSpot,” a discount program that works with hundreds of merchants. There are also scholarships for students, local service clubs, and even product perks.

For example, the College Bound Waiver allows members to pay for college expenses by withdrawing annuity funds without a surrender charge. There’s also a Loyalty Bonus, which rewards members who hold certain life and annuity products for more than 5 years with an additional death benefit.

There are family events, discounted travel opportunities, and child death benefits.

Gleaner really focuses on maximizing their product benefits for its members, which makes their life and annuity products very enticing to those who want these extra perks.

How is the Terminology Different?

With fraternals, the products do the same thing, but they’re called something different.

For example, you own a life certificate, not a life policy. You’re a member, not a policyholder.

These differences help set fraternals apart from traditional insurance carriers.

How Does the Re-Insurance Work?

Fraternals are not part of the state’s guaranty fund, which means they are not insured by the state.

However, fraternals are still a very safe place to put your money. If something were to happen to the fraternal, another fraternal would come to rescue that company. However, this scenario of becoming insolvent actually happens more in commercial companies than in fraternal companies.

These fraternal companies are very conscious about keeping their members safe, and that’s why we don’t consider this difference to be an issue.


New Horizons has enjoyed marketing various fraternals for nearly two decades. We share in their mission of helping clients and members with great life and annuity products as well as the numerous member benefits offered to certificate holders.

Their products are often times unique, and they’re very consumer/member friendly. Their loyalty to their members as well as the well-being of our communities can’t be overlooked. Finally, their financial stability is top-notch.

While many fraternals don’t have an A.M. Best Rating, the ones that do are on the top of the list. For example, Thrivent has an A++ (Superior) Rating. This is the highest of the 16 ratings.

Overall, we love fraternals, and if you have any questions about their unique products or how the process works, reach out to me (Kirk Sarff, the Director of Life & Annuities).

Email Kirk Call Kirk


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