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AFA Advocacy Plus Newsletter

Advocacy Activities – January 2021

A Fresh Perspective

The Alliance’s new mission and vision provide a strong platform for 2021 as we work together to protect the fraternal tax exemption and share how our work has broad impact, especially in this unprecedented time of need. These statements will serve as guideposts as we create new opportunities to connect and foster meaningful engagement.

Mission Statement:
We unite members through advocacy, education, and networking to advance the fraternal benefit society movement.

Vision Statement:
A world where we live fraternally – United to improve the lives of others and be financially secure.

Congressional Resolution

Christmas came early this year when Senator Todd Young (R-IN) became the most recent member to sign on Senate Concurrent Resolution 9 right before the holiday. Cheers to Drew Goesl and Melissa Bonicelli Francis as they proved that fraternal advocacy never rests! Our Washington-based lobbyists are gearing up to ensure that the next administration understands how fraternals contribute to communities across the country.

Advocacy Scavenger Hunt

Ready for an after-holiday treat? Join the Advocacy Scavenger Hunt to unearth your society’s fraternal stories and champions as we gear up to educate a new administration about the best-kept secret in nonprofits. You don’t need to be politically connected to get involved – simply sharing where your society’s natural strengths lie in the areas where you are already working is a powerful step forward. Advocacy works for societies of all sizes, and we’re here to help.

Want to learn more? Contact to request a scavenger hunt link to get started or schedule a chat to discuss how you can join the effort.

Celebrating Cynthia

Special thanks to Cynthia Maleski as she steps down from the Advocacy & Policy Committee to assume her Chair of the Board responsibilities in 2021. Her steadfast committee leadership throughout 2020 saw record gains in support for the fraternal Congressional resolution, fended off challenges to fraternal tax exemptions in several states, and united fraternal leaders around advocacy goals during times of unprecedented challenge. Her time spent with the Advocacy & Policy Committee will provide a strong foundation for her tenure as Chair of the Board as we build critical relationships with a new administration.

Raising awareness of fraternal Congressional Resolutions H CON RES 27 and S CON RES 9. 110 House Co-Sponsors Signed | 31 Senate Co-Sponsors Signed

Alliance Information

Alliance Staff Update

Say hello to Elizabeth Patel, our new advocacy and membership manager! Elizabeth was previously with the Alliance from 2006-2012 and was involved with the early tax-exemption challenges in Washington and Hawaii. She spent much of her career in Indiana state government and is excited to be back in the fraternal world.

Elizabeth Patel


Huge thanks to everyone who joined the Alliance’s first virtual annual meeting! We appreciate your flexibility as we pivoted to Zoom and Remo to provide a new way to connect with colleagues and hear the latest fraternal updates from leadership. Many of you provided helpful feedback via the attendee survey and we are carefully reviewing your comments as we design 2021 educational offerings.

Important Regulatory News

December 27 Signing of Consolidated Appropriations Act Affects 2021 Rates and Regulations for Life Insurers

Thanks to Griffith Ballard & Company for this update on how the Consolidated Appropriations Act affects Alliance members.

Alliance Virtual Education Opportunities

The following events are complimentary for Alliance members. Non-members will be sent an invoice for $100 per person.

What’s New with Drew – Notes from Our DC Lobbyist

January 12, 2021 | 11:15 - 11:45 a.m. Central

With the inauguration a few days away, let’s look ahead at the landscape with Drew Goesl, our Washington insider and dedicated DC lobbyist.

Actuary Virtual Roundtable

January 19, 2021 | 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Central

Calling All Actuaries!
It’s time for one of the Alliance’s most interesting sub-groups to get together and talk shop. This informal discussion will include predetermined topics identified by the attendees. We don’t know what they’re talking about, but they do, and that’s all that matters! It’s our pleasure to be the ringleader and foster dialog for this critical group of fraternal experts.

Fraternal Board Success Starts Here

January 27, 2021 | 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. Central

Take advantage of the Alliance’s new partnership with The Board Builders and join us for the first-of-three webinars on good governance. This interactive course gives you the framework you need to get your board on the same page when it comes to governance. Once you are speaking the same governance language, you’ll be able to have a greater impact. During this session, we will play several short videos, and between these, we will engage in robust discussion about how fraternals can apply these concepts. Click here for a video message from our presenters.

Bernadette Patton headshot

M. Bernadette Patton, CAE

Mark Thorsby headshot

Mark Thorsby, CAE

LIC Annual Meeting – Fraternal Member Discount Available

February 3-4, 2021

Registration is open for the LIC Annual Meeting & Marketing Conference, featuring two days of information, inspiration, and idea exchange with “A View to the Future.” Speaker highlights include:

  • Matt Dixon – one of the world’s leading experts on Sales, Service, and Customer Experience – on how to drive customer loyalty with “Effortless Experience”

  • Demographer, futurist and author Ken Gronbach on Real Demographic Facts for New Reality Strategies

  • Innovation leader Scott Sanchez on experimenting your way to innovative growth

Click HERE to view preliminary agenda.

Attending companies are encouraged to bring management teams; once one person registers, subsequent registrations are $50 per person. The Alliance is subsidizing a registration discount to Fraternal members only, using the code AFA100.

Fraternal Sector Orientation for New Society Employees

February 10, 2021 | 10:00 - 10:45 a.m. Central
Allison Koppel, CEO
American Fraternal Alliance

Join Allison during this informal webinar to learn the basics about the fraternal benefit system. With over 50 organizations across the country providing financial security and community service, our sector can be challenging to fully grasp for new employees. Allison will cover the history, basic governance and regulations, and discuss how all fraternals have more in common than one might think. This eye-opening opportunity for new employees (or board members), will be a quarterly occurrence and is complimentary for Alliance members.

Pulse Logic (a LIMRA Affiliate) Study on Digital Transformation – Industry Benchmarks

February 17, 2021 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Central
Kenneth Cochrane, Managing Director

Fraternals are part of a Pulse Logic* study that examines digital transformation strategies, where insurers are in this process, and where they intend to be in the next year or two.

Join Ken Cochrane to learn about the study’s findings and how your society’s technology plan compares to other organizations. This event is complimentary for Alliance members. *Pulse Logic is a LIMRA affiliate.

Enterprise Risk Management: Insights from Fraternal Leaders & AM Best

February 25, 2021 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Central

Kelly J.R. Bretz
Director of Product and Enterprise Risk Management
Catholic United Financial

Edward Kohlberg
Director – North American & Caribbean Life Health
AM Best

Steven J. Ollenburg
Chief Risk Officer
Modern Woodmen of America

David Marek
Financial Analyst II – North American & Caribbean Life Health
AM Best

Join fraternal executives to learn how they identify, measure and mitigate risk at their societies. To add another perspective, our friends at AM Best will describe how they assess an insurer’s ability to prepare for a variety of risks. Being in the middle of an unforeseen crisis will make this information even more timely. This event is complimentary for Alliance members.

Knights of Columbus Food Bank Donation

Fraternal Benefit Society Member News

Catholic Financial Life Announces Leadership Succession Plan

Catholic Financial Life CEO Bill O’Toole will remain at the helm of the fraternal insurance organization in 2021, while transferring his role as president to John Borgen, who will be promoted from his current position of senior vice president. Read More

Foresters Financial Launches Lifelong Learning Member Benefit

Foresters announced that it has launched a new benefit for its members, providing access to continuing education. Lifelong Learning offers Foresters members across Canada, the UK, and the US over 200 on-demand personal development courses at no additional cost. Read More

CFU Fund for Croatia Earthquake Relief Generates Significant Relief for Victims

Read More

Fraternals Respond: COVID Aid by Alliance Members Making a Significant Impact

Alliance members are fulfilling their missions through swift and substantial actions since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Read here how our societies are helping members and communities through a wide variety of programs. Email with details on how your fraternal is making a difference.

Modern Woodmen

Member Services


First Consulting Compliance Updates by State

Check out this latest information from First Consulting on their Legislative Monitoring Tracking Chart. Read More (login required)

The Alliance would like to bring your attention to:

South Carolina Bulletin 2020-11
South Carolina has released a new Guaranty Association Notice which must be attached to all new and renewed life insurance policies effective February 14, 2021.

Illinois Bulletin 2020-18
The Illinois Director of insurance informs the Chief Actuary of Fraternal Organizations and Life/Health Insurance companies that the three-year transition period for the Valuation Manual (VM) expired on December 31, 2019. All Illinois domestic companies subject to the Valuation Manual must perform principles-based reserving (PBR) for their ordinary life policies issued directly or assumed during 2020 and later calendar years, that would otherwise be subject to VM-20. Guidelines for exemption requests are included. The timeline for filing the Executive Summary, Life Summary and VA Summary of the PBR Actuarial Report is spelled out. This is the final year using the Life and Health Actuarial Company Bulletin as in future years it will be incorporated into the Annual Filing Checklist on the DOI’s website.

Associate Members

KBRA affirms the Insurance Financial Strength Rating (IFSR) for Catholic Financial Life

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) affirms the insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of A-, with a Stable Outlook, of Catholic Financial Life (CFL or the Society), a fraternal benefit society domiciled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Read More (log in required)

PNU Food Donation

Thanks to Our Event Sponsors

Connect NOW Sponsor:

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Education Sponsors:

BKD CPAs & Advisors Logo MacQuarie Logo
Optimum Life Reinsurance Logo Securian Asset Management Logo

American Fraternal Alliance
PO Box 68700, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0700 | 20 F Street NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20001

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