FATHER MICHAEL McGIVNEY wrote in a letter to Connecticut priests in April 1882 explaining that he founded the Knights of Columbus, in part, “to unite the men of our Faith … that we may thereby gain strength to aid each other in time of sickness; to provide for decent burial, and to render pecuniary assistance to the families of deceased members.”
Over the next century, the Order became a leader in the life insurance industry, and by late 2000, Knights of Columbus Insurance had over $40 billion of insurance in force and $8.5 billion in assets. In 2015, life insurance in force surged past $100 billion, and assets exceeded $22 billion. The same year, the Knights of Columbus received its 40th consecutive highest possible rating for financial strength from A.M. Best.
In an interview at the time, Supreme Knight Anderson noted that these impressive numbers told only part of the story. “The Knights of Columbus is not like ‘most insurance companies’ because we are not concerned with profit in the way a traditional business is,” he said. “Our ‘bottom line’ is different. It’s not a question of how much money we made; it’s a question of how many Catholic families we protected. That is our mission.”
As the insurance program continued to grow, so too did the Order’s commitment to protecting families, ethical investing and service to the Church. Since February 2015, Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors has offered faith-informed investment strategies to Catholic institutions looking to invest in accordance with Church teaching. The K of C subsidiary currently serves dozens of dioceses, Catholic universities and schools, as well as more than 100 state and local K of C councils. In 2019, the Order also became affiliated with Knights of Columbus Charitable Fund, an independent 501(c)(3) public charity that offers a donor-advised fund helping both individuals and institutions to direct their charitable giving more effectively.
“We must always remember that Father McGivney could have easily directed his parishioners to the insurance companies that already existed in Connecticut,” Supreme Knight Anderson said in his 2020 annual report. “But he wanted something different — something with a Catholic difference.”
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