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    We get by with a little help from our friends…

    Everyone reading this knows what sets their society and the fraternal system apart from other types of financial services providers.  If I were to ask you to list the reasons, they would probably look something like this:

    • We help our members secure their financial futures and, through contributions and volunteer activities that reflect our members shared values, improve the communities in which our members live and work.
    • We invest the earnings from our financial services operations in community service activities, not because we want to be “good corporate citizens,” but because giving back is the foundation on which our society is built.
    • We fill the gaps in institutional safety nets that federal, state, and local governments could never address.
    • We enrich the lives of our members and provide opportunities – even if it is only through the purchase of an insurance policy or annuity – for them to make a difference by serving others.

    The list could go on and on, and I encourage you to please add your thoughts in the comments section below…

    One often overlooked difference that I’ve discovered during my tenure at the Alliance is the willingness – almost eagerness – of fraternal executives to share their insight and intelligence with their peers.  It’s a remarkable trait that deserves to be recognized.

    Prior to coming to the Alliance, I spent more than 20 years as a trade association executive on the property/casualty side of the insurance business, the last 15 years with a major national trade association representing some of the largest insurers in the U.S.  The executives of these organizations were cordial to one another when they met at association meetings and conferences.  But you would NEVER see the CEOs of these organizations comparing notes about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sales and marketing or customer service.  Antitrust guidelines notwithstanding, the leaders of these companies knew that offering any assistance to the enemy could damage the market share, share price, or profitability of their organization.

    That just isn’t the case with fraternals.  And the most vivid demonstrations of this take place during Buddy for blogAlliance Mid-Year Meetings.  Every year, I watch fraternal leaders carry on conversations in the educational sessions and in the hallways, lobbies, and lounges about what their societies are doing right, and what well-intentioned plans didn’t work out the way they had hoped.  I’ll be honest, at first this openness was surprising – almost a bit disturbing – to me.  But it didn’t take long to figure out that these executives knew a lot more about the nature of the fraternal model than I did.  And at its core, fraternals are based on sharing, including risks, rewards – and intelligence that can reduce risks and enhance rewards.

    These leaders know that one society’s success helps not only that organization, but the entire fraternal system.  By helping one another enhance distribution networks, engage members, and control costs, fraternal leaders increase their colleagues’ chances of success, as well as their own.  As my parents used to say, “one hand washes the other.”

    Want to experience this unprecedented sharing experience?  An easy way to do so is register for an upcoming Alliance Mid-Year Meeting.  Registration for three of our most popular events the Fraternal Communications Mid-Year Meeting,  the Executive Summit, and Fraternal Compliance Dayis open now, and registration for the Investment Mid-Year Meeting and Actuaries Mid-Year Meeting is coming soon.  The programs for each of these events are exceptional – as you’d expect from the Alliance.  And compared to other industry meetings, the registration fees are incredibly affordable.

    But the real value – the “fraternal difference” value – comes in the time between the sessions, when you’ll have the chance to discuss the theories and case studies covered in that day’s program.  I’m looking forward to seeing you at a 2016 Mid-Year Meeting and watching the intelligence sharing process begin anew.

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