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AFA Advocacy Plus Newsletter

Advocacy Activities – February 2021

Advocacy and Policy Committee Leadership

After leading the Advocacy and Policy Committee through a tumultuous year, Cynthia Maleski is stepping down as she serves as American Fraternal Alliance Chair of the Board. Cynthia successfully navigated the Alliance through several threats to the fraternal tax exemption and saw the Alliance’s Congressional Resolution garner bi-partisan support, increasing goodwill and awareness of the fraternal system.

Board member Karen Himle from Thrivent stepped up to continue Cynthia’s solid leadership, bringing a wealth of experience in nonprofit leadership, government relations, communications, and strategy. We are grateful for Cynthia’s service and thankful that Karen is taking on this rewarding and challenging work!

Meet the STEP UP Task Force

Protecting the fraternal tax exemption is an important part of the Alliance’s mission. To fulfill this important role, the STEP UP Task Force was formed at the direction of the Alliance Board to help identify key relationships between fraternals and state lawmakers.

The Task Force meets monthly to share key data about relationships between fraternals and state lawmakers. The group maintains a master document – the Champion Chart – which maps out areas of strength in each state. Strength is defined as an active membership, relationships with legislators, agents or staff who could speak on behalf of the society, key relationships with area nonprofits, or the willingness to meet with local lawmakers.

The STEP UP Task Force is chaired by Sharon Brosnan of Thrivent and Tim Saccoccia from the Knights of Columbus, two amazing professionals with a deep understanding of fraternal policy issues. Modern Woodmen, Woodmen Life, Catholic United Financial, and First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association are also members and part of this important cause. The Alliance is thankful for the leadership of these dedicated societies – and the door is open for new members. Join us!

STEP UP in Colorado

The Alliance is gearing up for the Colorado legislature returning from recess on February 16th. This is an especially critical state as Alliance advocates have previously fended off challenges to the fraternal tax exemption.

We can’t say if a bill will be filed, but we can prepare by gathering data and fraternal stories to define our narrative. Please consider the three key questions below:

  1. Does your society have connections with Colorado legislators?

  2. Does your society have community partners in Colorado who can speak to the importance of fraternal donations and volunteer hours?

  3. Does your society have a story of fraternal service in Colorado?

While Colorado may not be a fraternal stronghold, it has some activity, and all information is valuable. Please take a look at your society’s areas of strength in this key state and click here to share data to respond to this call to action. Every society that responds will receive points toward the Advocacy Scavenger Hunt!

Federal Policy Information from Capitol Council

Our DC-based lobbying firm Capitol Council is wealth of information on the transition, COVID relief efforts and other important updates. Click here for updates.

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 Virtual Education Opportunities

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

Fraternal Sector Orientation for New Society Employees

February 10, 2021 | 1:00 - 1:45 p.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.

To obtain the link to participate in this virtual roundtable, please email

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.

Fraternal Roundtables: Chapter Engagement, Measuring Fraternal Impact & More

March 11, 2021 | 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Central

Chapters and lodges are at the heart of the fraternal system – what did 360 local leaders have to share about engagement with their societies? Join your colleagues for a review of the 2020 Chapter Leader Survey results and touch on topics such as recruitment, skills development, training opportunities and agent relations. Plus, Advocacy & Membership Manager Elizabeth Patel will re-start the popular subject of measuring the impact that fraternals make among members and communities.

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

March 17, 2021 | 11:15 a.m. Central
Drew Goesl of Capitol Counsel, LLC

You don’t want to miss this month’s chat with Drew as he provides an overview of the Biden-Harris administration’s first 100 days in office. Join us for a lively look at what’s new, what to expect, and how fraternals can continue our work to develop champions in Congress.

ENCORE: Replay Now Available!

Did you miss the Alliance’s ENCORE meeting in December? Click here for the replay link to watch panel discussions, workshops and presentations combined with Alliance information and Fraternal Jeopardy. Read More

Fraternal Impact: Video Tributes Highlight How Our Societies Take Care of Communities

During ENCORE, members’ contributions and perseverance during the pandemic were featured in two video celebrations. Click here to watch how the Alliance honored the significant ways fraternals made a difference in 2020.

Fraternal Members volunteering.

Fraternal Benefit Society Member News

Foresters Financial works with Insurtech company dacadoo to create an innovative well-being platform

Foresters announced that it has teamed up with dacadoo to create a platform designed to empower and reward Foresters customers (members) who adopt lifestyles that embrace key aspects of overall well-being: physical, mental, and community-mindedness. Read More

Gleaner Life Insurance Society’s A- Ratings Reaffirmed

Ratings agencies A.M. Best and Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) both reaffirmed Gleaner Life Insurance Society’s annual ratings of A- (“Excellent” and “Stable,” respectively), the companies announced this month. Read More

Fraternal Members volunteering.

Associate Members

Allen Bailey & Associates Comments on Non Forfeiture Rate to Be Implemented in 2022

In July 2020, the maximum nonforfeiture rate was confirmed to decrease from 4.50% to 4.00% and understood industry wide to go into effect no later than 2022. However, due to the signing of the CAA and a critical revision in the NAIC’s Valuation Manual language, the interpreted maximum nonforfeiture rate is now 3.75%, to be implemented for issues on or after January 1, 2022. Read More

BKD CPAs & Advisors

BKD has created a new resource center to help disseminate important tax and accounting information for our clients and friends as we evaluate ways to mitigate the inevitable financial effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the incidence of COVID-19. Read More

Fraternal Members volunteering.

Thanks to Our Event Sponsors

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Education Sponsors:

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American Fraternal Alliance
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