About | Western Fraternal Life

About Western

Enriching Today, Insuring Tomorrow

Western Fraternal Life is a not-for-profit financial services organization that gives back to the communities where members live and work.

Unique.

Western Fraternal Life is unique. As a fraternal benefit society, our profits go back to our members and their communities; not to corporate shareholders. Our members have a voice in our organization, at a local, state, and national level. Members are able to influence the direction of the organization through elections of delegates and directors to represent them.

Stable.

Western Fraternal Life is stable. Since 1897, we have offered products that give financial security as well as provided benefits that come free to our membership. Our heritage of giving back spans decades starting with Czech immigrants who joined for support when they most needed it. Western Fraternal Life has been able to help our members with our financial products and serve the communities of our members for many years. To learn more about our financial products click here.

Community-focused.

Western Fraternal Life is community-focused. Through our network of volunteers (in groups called lodges) our members have fed the hungry, cleaned local parks and cemeteries, hosted fundraisers, and participated in many other service activities. Our members dedicate their time and talents to serving their communities on a local level. If you would like to protect your financial future and become one of our 38,000 members, visit Become a Member.

A fraternal is a different type of insurance provider.
Insurance with heart.

Western Fraternal Life is more than a financial services organization. We are a fraternal benefit society that has been providing quality products and community service for over a century. A fraternal benefit society (fraternal), is a not-for-profit, mutual aid organization that (1) insures members and their families against death, disease, and disability and (2) maintains an active lodge system. Fraternal Benefit Societies are a different type of not-for-profit under the tax code 501(c)(8). That means that we are tax-exempt and our profits go back to our members and their communities, not shareholders.

Since 1897, Western Fraternal Life has offered benefits to our members while giving them the opportunity to give back through our volunteer network, known as lodges.

The American Fraternal Alliance, the trade association for fraternals, has this to say about what fraternals do.

“Fraternals are a different kind of life insurance provider, securing members’ futures through reliable service offerings, and giving back to their local communities through meaningful volunteer activities.”

Our Heritage

Western Fraternal Life has a rich history covering more than 100 years of fraternalism. In the mid-nineteenth century, millions of immigrants came to the U.S. to seek the American dream. For many of our earliest members, that dream meant buying and owning land. The hardworking Czechoslovakian immigrants settled together in clusters so they could speak with those who spoke their language and share resources. The immigrants soon found that they needed to protect themselves and their families from life’s uncertainties. Fraternal Benefit Societies began in the mid-1800’s as a way to bind those with a common bond (ethnic, religious, trade, etc.) and to provide support and opportunities for financial security. Our members began to form a fraternal benefit society, one that would allow them to share the costs of life insurance as well as promote their Czech heritage.

In 1897, members created this new society known as, “Zapadni Ceska Bratrska Jednota” or Western Bohemian Fraternal Association. The society would uphold the values they held dear; Truth, Love, and Loyalty. Those three words became the motto of our organization and have guided us in the decades since. The members believed that the lives of both men and women were valuable to households and became one of the first fraternals to insure women in 1899. In 1919, members also voted to insure juveniles. As years passed and Western Fraternal Life grew, membership was opened to all in 1947. Later, it became apparent to the Association that Western needed to change its name to reflect its inclusive membership. At the 1971 National Convention, members voted to change the name to Western Fraternal Life Association.

Members created lodges in their areas to celebrate holidays, host plays and dances, and speak their native language. The lodges became a source of support and camaraderie for members during trying times, such as the Great Depression and the World Wars. Western Fraternal Life’s lodges are still a source of fraternalism, just as they were in the past. Today, our lodge’s members give back to their communities by donating their time and talents to worthy causes. To learn more about our activities, visit our events calendar and check out our lodge locator.

Financial Strength

For over a century, Western Fraternal Life have prided itself on being a financially stable and secure organization. Our financial strength is just one of the ways we are enriching today, insuring tomorrow.

Overview of Western Fraternal Life’s Financial Statement as of December 31, 2016:

Assets:

$295,325,782

Liabilities & Reserves:

$271,333,090

Surplus to Certificate Holders:

$23,992,692

Adjusted Solvency Ratio:

109%

Insurance In Force:

$1,212,828,000

Annuities In Force:

$115,545,343

Certificates In Force:

47,244

Net Investment Earnings:

4.62%

Overview of Western’s Fraternal Membership as of December 31, 2015:

   

 Number of Lodges:

 120

Total Number of Members:

38,036

Total Amount of Community Service Hours:

102,906

Total Amount of Fraternal Support Hours:

82,716 

By-Laws

Click the link below to download a copy of 2015 Bylaws: 2015 Bylaws

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors are nominated by delegates from within their district and elected by the delegates of the National Convention that is held every four years. The Board elects its own Chairman/woman, who is responsible for managing the Board and for ensuring that it performs its responsibilities. The Board of Directors conducts the business of Western between meetings of the National Convention.

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District 1 (NE)
Terry Hynek
Board Member since 2007 

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District 2
(Upper MI/WI)

Brenda Vrieze
Board Member since 2011

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District 3 (IA)
Donald Krall
Board Member since 2003

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District 4 (MN)
Duane Jirik
Chairman
Board Member since 1998

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District 5 (IL, OH, PA, Lower MI)
Mary Bradley
Board Member since 2011

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District 6 (CA, ID, MT, ND, OR, SD, WA)
Bonita Fillmore
Board Member since 2011

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District 7 (CO, KS, LA, OK, TX)
Ross Sestak
Board Member since 2015

 

Management Team

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Craig Van Dyke
President

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Ann Day Freeman
Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriter

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Donald Nieland 
Vice President, Information Technology and Secretary

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Jack Minder 
Vice President and Treasurer

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Kevin Simpson
Vice President of Sales and Marketing