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Words That (Just Might) Work

June 22, 2015
I spend a good bit of time trying to come up with ways to explain “who we are and what we do” to folks who have never heard of a fraternal (which is just about everyone on the planet).  After reading The Language of Trust, a terrific book on “effectively communicating to a nation of skeptics,” and listening to a group of Alliance member society executives describe the attributes that differentiate their societies from other financial services organizations, I was inspired to brush up my “elevator speech.”  I want to test out these messages on you to see if they accurately reflect what we’re all about.  I welcome your comments – especially those that can improve these words to make them work a little better for all of us.  Please post them here to share with all readers and start a dialogue on this topic, or send them to me privately at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org. elevator-pitch • A fraternal is a different kind of life insurance company.  They are cooperative organizations, owned by and accountable to their members. • Fraternals are not-for-profit financial organizations. Unlike traditional insurance companies, they return the proceeds from the sale of life insurance, annuities, and other financial products to their members by funding charitable organizations and local community service efforts that reflect the shared values of those members. • Fraternals are not driven by reporting quarterly profits to Wall Street.  They are focused on securing their members’ long term financial security and helping them to live more generously.  By providing direct financial support and assisting members to conduct meaningful volunteer activities, fraternals improve the lives of their members and the communities in which they live and work. • Fraternals are not for everybody.  The fraternal cooperative concept may not appeal to individuals involved in sophisticated investments like arbitrage and hedge funds.  However, for individuals who are looking to save for their children’s college tuition, fund a comfortable retirement, take care of their families in the event of a breadwinner’s death, and have a genuine interest in improving the lives of others, fraternals may make an excellent alternative to traditional, for-profit insurance companies. • Fraternals offer financial services products that most consumers can understand and appreciate.  What’s more, they have a 125-year track record of fulfilling their promises to members.  Fraternal life insurers offer products that reflect the qualities of the members themselves: plainspoken, honest, unpretentious, and reliable. • Fraternals unite individuals with shared values.  They make a positive impact in their local communities by organizing volunteer projects and making direct financial contributions to causes and charities supported by their members.  Many members choose to lead or participate in local volunteer projects that provide a helping hand to those who need it most.  Participation in these activities is optional and flexible.  Every member makes a difference simply by purchasing an insurance product from a fraternal, because a portion of the income from insurance sales is used to fund financial contributions to organizations and facilitate volunteer projects that reflect the shared values of the members. Again, please share your thoughts here: