The American Fraternal Alliance hosts mid-year meetings for a variety of audiences — Fraternal Management, Presidents and CEO’s, Actuaries, and Investment Managers to name a few. UCT tries to have representatives at as many of these meetings as we can. It is a great way to learn about what is going on in the Fraternal Industry, in the Insurance Industry, and in the U.S. and Canadian economies in general. It is also a great way to discuss common challenges with executives from other Fraternal Benefit Societies.
I went to the mid-year President/CEO meeting last week and it was a great learning experience as usual.
We are all dealing with many of the same issues. As financial services companies we all are faced with a low interest rate environment that affects many of the products we sell and our bottom line. It was helpful to hear from Greg Ip from the Economist Magazine, what his view is of the current low interest rate environment, and what he thinks the future holds. His overview of what has been going on in the Global economy was very helpful.
We are also in a regulated industry, so it is helpful to learn what our regulators are concerned about. There was a panel of five Insurance Commissioners who talked about what issues are top of mind for them. There were also opportunities to talk with them and ask questions. They want to make sure that our members are protected and so do we. As states have worked to update Fraternal regulations, it has been helpful for Fraternal executives to work with them to achieve our common goal of ensuring that our organizations are able to meet our promises to our members.
We also had an opportunity to learn about demographic changes in the US, and particularly about the growth of the Latino population in this country. There are many aspects of the Fraternal model that should be appealing to this demographic, and we need to learn how best to increase brand awareness in this market segment.
We are all trying to increase active membership, particularly among younger generations, and sharing ideas on how to do that is always valuable.