What does this achievement mean for the Knights of Columbus?
I think it is a testament to three things: the quality of our business, the trust our members have in the Knights of Columbus, and our dedicated agents who represent us in the field.
For the first, we strive to run our insurance program in a way that is different. That means we put people before dollars, and we do the right things for the right reasons. That is what we mean when we say insurance by brother Knights for brother Knights. That is our promise. That is the Knights of Columbus difference. And that is what gives us our advantage.
In regard to our members, the achievement is an obvious indication that they trust us and that our products meet their needs. We are grateful for that trust, and we take that trust very seriously. We have more than 2,000,000 active contracts that represent the financial futures of hundreds of thousands of Catholic families across the United States and Canada. It is a great honor.
As for our agents — this achievement would never have been possible without them. We do not sell our products directly to our members; we sell through our network of dedicated full-time brother Knight agents who work tirelessly day after day to make sure every Knights of Columbus family has the protection they need. These men have done tremendous work. The best thing about doing business with the Knights of Columbus is that you have one of our brother Knight field agents there for you.
What does this achievement mean for our members?
To our members, it should be a point of pride. We are the only Catholic life insurer to have achieved this milestone. Our members can see that the Knights of Columbus is in a class by itself. And for our members who have yet to take part in the insurance program, this achievement encourages them to consider participating in this important fraternal benefit. There has never been a better time to turn to the Knights of Columbus to help secure your family’s future.
What is the significance of the number itself, of surpassing $100 billion of life insurance in force?
This number is the total sum of the face amount of all of our active policies. But perhaps that is not the best way to think about it.
What this number represents is the future hopes and financial security of our members and their families. Yes, it means $100 billion of life insurance in force, but it also means $100 billion to protect lives and to save homes. It’s $100 billion of trust and of financial protection for our Catholic families.
When it became clear to you that the $100 billion milestone was within reach, that the Order would surpass it, what went through your mind?
I can say I was not surprised. I was not surprised because I knew the way we were doing business was the right way. I knew that, as a company, we were motivated by the right things, focused on the right things and doing the right things, and I knew our members would trust us.
Our progress has been steady and consistent. We have set a new record for sales each year for the last 14 years. That statistic is remarkable when you stop to think about it. The last 14 years have seen some major financial crises, and yet the Knights of Columbus has kept moving forward, has never looked back and has never faltered.
Every January, I get the opportunity to address our general agents, and I begin my remarks to them each year in the exact same way. I tell them, “Thank you for making last year the best year in the history of the Knights of Columbus insurance program.” It is a great honor to be able to do that.
What niche does the Knights of Columbus fill in the insurance marketplace?
The Knights of Columbus is the premier Catholic life insurer in North America. We are Catholic in the way we do business — we do not invest in companies that participate in abortions, contraception, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, for-profit health care that pays for the aforementioned, or pornography. And we are Catholic in the way we give back, too. The Knights of Columbus has donated more than $1.55 billion to charity in the last decade, much of which was made possible by the proceeds of the insurance business. In fact, a lot of the good work we do is made possible by the success of our insurance program. It is a powerful engine that, along with the ongoing efforts of our brother Knights and their councils throughout the world, makes the Knights of Columbus who we are.
What do you think Father McGivney would think of the insurance program today?
He would be proud. This is very much his program. He was looking for a solution to the never-ending financial suffering of widows and orphans in his parish. He labored over the details of the original insurance program. He studied other fraternal benefit societies to see what their programs looked like. He knew this benefit was needed, and he knew that it could provide tremendous value.
Don’t forget, he himself was a man who had to leave the seminary and return home when his father died unexpectedly. The need for this type of fraternal benefit was very real to him.
He wanted to build up Catholic families — in faith, in fellowship, in charity, but in finances, too, and I think he would be tremendously proud of how his organization has carried on his mission.
What’s next for the program?
We continue to move forward. This is a tremendous milestone and a tremendous accolade. And it is an outstanding testament to all the things I mentioned, but it is by no means the end. We have never been motivated by numbers or by dollars.
That will not end at $200 billion. It will not end at $300 billion.
What remains important is that we continue forward with Father McGivney’s vision to protect our Catholic families.
Posted on 11/4/2015