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February 11, 2019

I spent the early part of last week in Pierre, South Dakota at the joint state fraternal alliance and fraternal insurance counselor meeting, which in South Dakota are one-in-the-same. The field representatives gathered there did a great job of taking the fraternal message to state legislators as the session gets into full swing. Field representatives are ideal ambassadors for the fraternal system. They are articulate, optimistic, and true believers in both sides – financial and fraternal – of our business model. The fraternal community could not have a better resource for grassroots activism.

Between early morning visits to the statehouse and an evening reception with dozens of state legislators, the attendees engaged in an important and candid discussion about the future of the state fraternal alliance and FIC chapter. Like many organizations, it is getting more difficult to get people to attend meetings and devote the time to education and advocacy activities. This trend is not limited to fraternals, but perhaps might be more acute in our system because of the aging demographic of the field representative community.

To their credit, the South Dakota group tackled the issue head on and developed several interesting ideas to rejuvenate participation in the organization, especially in the advocacy arena. Chief among them, focusing on having small groups of agents from a particular area meet with legislators in their district offices. Bravo!

From there – after some difficulties with ice in the Pierre hotel parking lot and on the runway at O’Hare – I made it to the Life Insurance Council Annual Meeting in Destin, Florida. The event featured a terrific mix of topics and attendees, including more than a few fraternals. Of most interest to me was the “Direct to Consumer” (D2C) session. This is a concept we’re going to explore at the Alliance’s Spring Symposium and one that every society needs to learn more about. In my view, D2C will never replace the role of the agent – like those that I met with in South Dakota – but, if done right it may actually enhance their value by transforming a transactional relationship into a fraternal one. Stay tuned…

Haven’t registered for the Spring Symposium? NOW IS THE TIME! I’m not kidding when I say this is going to be a GREAT conference. Check out the program and register right here. Wondering who should attend? Well, just about anyone in your society who is engaged in member relations, marketing, grassroots activism, administration, community service. The more the merrier and the better the networking opportunities. Hope to see you there!

Field rep meets with South Dakota Legislative leader.

Field rep meets with South Dakota Legislative leader.

Curt Zeck, CIO/Operations Executive, Royal Neighbors of America and Alliance CEO Joe Annotti at the LIC Annual Meeting in Destin, FL

Curt Zeck, CIO/Operations Executive, Royal Neighbors of America and Alliance CEO Joe Annotti at the LIC Annual Meeting in Destin, FL