Our Continued Commitment
In July, the editorial team at LifeHealthPro.com, a comprehensive website for life and health insurance advisors, published a series of interviews titled “13 insurance industry heroes you need to know,” beginning with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. As CEO, he shared some insights about the Order’s fraternal benefit program and why there is no higher rated insurer in North America than the Knights of Columbus. The interview is reprinted here with permission.
Why Knights of Columbus? How did you get your start?
Anderson: We are a Catholic fraternal benefit society, and I joined my local council in the 1980s in the Washington, D.C., area. I was attracted to the mission of the organization, the idea of combining charitable outreach and Church and community service, with the idea of protecting the financial stability and future of Catholic families. Over the next several years, I moved into leadership positions at the local and state levels of the organization, and then at the corporate level.
Describe what you do.
Anderson: Because we are a fraternal benefit society whose first principle is charity, my work entails focusing both on the enormous charitable outreach that we do — $170 million and 70 million hours donated by Knights last year — and on the top-rated insurance program that we provide to our members. We are rated A++ by A.M. Best, with [$95] billion in insurance in force and $21 billion in assets under management. We have seen solid growth in our charitable giving and our insurance business over the past decade and a half, so my yearly calendar is filled with a mix of insurance, business, Church and charitable meetings, activities and events.
Describe how you’ve experienced such strong growth in the Knights’ financial resources, especially that of life insurance.
Anderson: We work hard at what you might call mission integrity. The Knights of Columbus was founded more than 130 years ago to protect the financial future of Catholic families in the event of the tragic death of a breadwinner and to provide charity to those on the margins of society. Today, those same founding principles are at work in every aspect of our business, guiding our corporate governance, our professional agency force, our investments, and our day-to-day business operations. It is this continued commitment to our foundational principles that is the key to our ethical, sustainable and successful business model.
Share an achievement you are especially proud of.
Anderson: This past year, we were certified by the Ethisphere Institute as a “World’s Most Ethical Company.” We were one of two companies so honored in Ethisphere’s life insurance category, and one of fewer than 150 companies worldwide. I think this award, combined with our solid growth in both insurance business and charitable giving, and our top rating from A.M. Best for 39 consecutive years all indicate that we have a winning, sustainable model for growth precisely because that growth is based on ethical principles.
Share a story about a client you have helped.
Anderson: The day after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, we launched our 9/11 Heroes Fund in the amount of $1 million. We immediately understood that those who had lost a loved one who was a first responder would have an immediate need for emergency funds to pay the bills, or the rent, or the mortgage. So we sent our agents out to meet with the widows of the fallen, and with a simple signature on an affidavit, we provided funds for their immediate use. Some of those first responders who fell that day were Knights of Columbus; most were not, but the families of more than 400 fallen heroes received our support because of our focus on both insurance and charity.
What excites you most about the insurance industry today?
Anderson: What excites me most about the insurance industry today is that when tragedy strikes a family, we’ve done something to protect their future, and we have been doing that since 1882.