American Fraternal Alliance Members to Rebrand To Help Attract New Generation of Socially-Conscious Consumers

Members societies come together to re-imagine a century-old concept to appeal to community-minded millennials.

OAK BROOK, IL — The American Fraternal Alliance (the Alliance), the national trade association representing 63 fraternal benefit societies in the U.S. and Canada, is excited to announce that it is moving forward with an initiative to create a “fraternal branding” program for its members.

“The Alliance membership has spent the past couple of years studying ways to reinvigorate and grow our niche in the insurance industry,” said Joseph Annotti, American Fraternal Alliance President and CEO.  “Our members are excited about the prospect of working and raising the necessary funds together to do something that would be difficult for many of these societies individually. The branding tools will feature consumer tested messaging, imagery and target marketing data that member societies can use in their consumer facing marketing efforts to help them expand and grow their business.”

Fraternal benefit societies, many dating back to the late 1800s, are a different kind of life insurance provider, securing members’ futures through reliable financial service offerings, and giving back to their local communities through meaningful volunteer activities. Though the passage of time and changing lifestyles have proved a challenge for growth in the fraternal sector, the fraternal model today remains a highly relevant, although lesser known, way for consumers to protect their family and give back to their community. Fraternal societies today continue to protect millions of families across the U.S. and Canada with quality life insurance and financial offerings and these organizations also, represent nearly 9 million individuals who, in 2015, provided more that 73 million volunteer hours in service to their local communities.

“We began our research with consumers several years ago and time and again we have found that we may be the best kept secret in the financial services arena,” said Annotti. “Only around ten percent of consumers have ever heard of fraternal benefit societies, which would seem to be a huge problem at first blush. The good news, however, is that in working with our brand development and research team from Maddock Douglas, we have found that once consumers understand the concept that they find it a very attractive alternative to standard commercial life insurers.”

Alliance research conducted by Maddock Douglas has shown that, among those consumers who are planning on purchasing life insurance in the next two years, there was a 23 percent increase in their overall favorability impression of fraternal life insurers once they understood the concept. This significant increase in favorability is viewed a positive avenue of growth for the fraternal sector in appealing to a new generation of socially conscious members and customers.

Maria Ferrante-Schepis, Executive VP and Managing Principal for Insurance & Financial Services Innovation for Maddock Douglas stated, “While going into this work, we had a strong hunch there was a market opportunity to renew the awareness and understanding of fraternals. However, we were highly impressed by the magnitude of impact, particularly on people who plan to buy life insurance in the next two years. This squares well with the trend of younger consumers choosing brands that are more socially driven than profit driven, and that give back to communities.”

Most life insurers, of all sizes, are searching for a magic bullet that will help them to crack the millennial market. The fraternal model is a time-tested concept that seems to mesh well with the views of younger consumers who are dedicated to trying to do business in a socially responsible way.

According to Ferrante-Schepis, “the core value of the fraternal benefit society, at its very roots, is about caring for a specific community, and being driven by that community’s well-being versus being driven by profit. However, over the years, this important aspect either morphed or became buried. But just like a valuable, timeless piece of art, it takes a group of committed people to dig deep, find it, and restore it again. That’s the intent of this program.”

Work on the next step of the branding program will begin this spring with a planned fall roll-out for the tools designed for the use of participating Alliance member societies.

About the American Fraternal Alliance
The American Fraternal Alliance promotes and supports the missions of its 63 not-for-profit fraternal benefit society members operating in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Alliance member societies provide a variety of life insurance and financial products for their members and nation-wide represent nearly 9 million individuals, making it one of America’s largest member-volunteer networks.

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