Daily Jewish Courier -- May 02, 1913Fraternal Organizations and Insurance
In accordance with the constitution of the Order of the Western Star - we mention them because it is a Chicago Order and is, therefore, of greater interest to us than any other order, though all orders are the same - each brother or sister is obligated to pay at least $7.20 a year, for which he or she receives the following benefits:
1. If a member dies the beneficiary receives $500.00, within sixty days after the death of the member, upon proving to the Grand Lodge that the member is dead.
2. In case of death of either a sister or brother, the lodge to which the member belonged, receives the sum of $50.00 for funeral expenses.2
3. If a brother or sister becomes unable to work either by permanently losing the sight of both eyes, or by losing one hand or both hands (not lower than the wrist), or by losing one foot or both feet (not lower than the ankle), he or she shall receive $500 after ninety days if he or she can furnish proof that it actually happened.
In order to receive these benefits the brother or sister must pay at least $7.20 a year and this must be paid quarterly in advance. However, the payment of this sum to the secretary of the lodge does not entitle the sister or brother to the benefits unless the secretary submits the payments to the Grand Lodge, but if the secretary seizes the money, or if the letter which contains the money to the Grand Lodge goes lost, then the brother or sister is not entitled to any benefits. The brother or sister becomes "ipso facto" if the lodge does not submit the money to the Grand Lodge.3
In order to receive these benefits each member must also buy tickets to all entertainments, raffles, or other social affairs which are sponsored by the lodges. The members must also pay all assessments which the lodge imposes upon them for whatever purpose it may be, e. g., opening sick funds, purchasing cemetaries, honoring officers with medals, contributions to charity, etc., and if he or she doesn't pay the assessed amount, he or she is expelled from the lodge and loses the right to insurance.
An orphan of a brother or sister can lose his insurance if the brother or sister sins against the lodge, grand lodge, or the officers. The violations for which the orphans of lodge brothers lose their insurance are: if one violates the constitution, which no one ever reads; if one does not obey orders from the grand lodge, executive board or grand master; if one seeks sick benefits and the grand lodge thinks that the brother or sister is not sick enough; if the 4grand master, grand secretary, or any other grand officer is exposed for fraudulent acts; if the rituals of the order are revealed; if the truth was not stated upon entering the lodge; disorderly conduct; if one drinks more than one shot of whiskey; and for revealing the presence of a grand officer in the Sherman House. For any of these violations, the order revokes the orphans' insurance, for which the member had paid, for many years, at least $7.20 a year.
If, however, one does not permit himself to be inveigled by the so-called "cheap" lodge insurance, and wants genuine insurance, he will get no bargain. Let us take for example the average age at which a man insures himself, twenty-five years. He takes out insurance in a lodge, that means that as long as he pays he is insured and if he doesn't pay he isn't any longer insured, but if he takes out a $500 policy with a company, he only needs to pay $8.20 a year.5
Although it costs him $1 more than in a lodge, it is, however, in reality cheaper because he is not obligated to pay taxes for entertainments, raffles, theaters, and other affairs; he can not be taxed for medals, charity, etc; he can not be suspended "ipso facto"; he can not be expelled for even cursing the president of the insurance company; his morals are not considered. The orphan is always assured of his receipt of the insurance.
If you are twenty-five years of age and you enter a lodge of the Western Star Order you must pay, for the rest of your life $7.20 a year in addition to all assessments and per capita taxes. If you pay for twenty long years, let us say, and if you are unable to make one payment due to an accident, old age, or for any other reason you are no longer a member - "ipso facto." Picture the condition of the orphans after the death of a suspended member.6
If, however, you insure yourself with a regular life insurance company and pay no more than $8.20 a year for a period of twenty years and after that can no longer pay for some reason, you get $103.50 refunded, i. e. more than half of what you have paid. If you do not wish to take the money you are then insured for $500 for a period of eighteen and one-half years without making any further payments, or you are insured for life for the sum of $226.50.
This is the difference between fraternal insurance and life insurance. With the former, it is their purpose to extort as much money from you as they possibly can, giving you for it in return as little as they possibly can. With the latter its the very opposite. To belong to any order from an insurance standpoint is to allow yourself to be swindled. The fraternal organization from an insurance standpoint is bankrupt, and sooner or later it will collapse.7
The Western Star Order owes an average of $150 to each member. This means that it is short a sum of two and one-half million dollars, for which it has a reserve fund of $30,000, and there is a rumor being spread that even this fund isn't safe, which is unbelievable.
Radical means must be adopted to place the Order on sound basis. A Chicago order should be a progressive one.
II D 2
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