What is the Knights of Columbus?
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal benefit society, with more than 1.9 million members in over a dozen countries. Founded by a priest to help provide financial aid to Catholic families, the Knights of Columbus is now one of the largest life insurers in North America. The Knights of Columbus also helps support a multitude of charitable causes. In the last decade, the Order has given more than $1.55 billion to charity.
What is a "fraternal benefit society"?
A fraternal benefit society is a membership-based nonprofit organization that offers its members numerous fraternal benefits, including insurance products.
Knights of Columbus members and their families have exclusive access to our top-quality life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance and annuity products. In addition to our strong, secure products, there are Family Fraternal Benefits that can help our members facing unique needs. Click here to learn about our membership benefits.
Can anyone purchase life insurance from the Knights of Columbus?
The Knights of Columbus Insurance program is available to members of the Order and their families. Practical Catholic males, age 18 or older, are eligible to join.
How can I join the Knights of Columbus?
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to males 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics. If you are interested in joining the Knights of Columbus, please complete our online form and a Knight in your area will contact you.
How can I find my agent?
To find your local Knights of Columbus agent, click here and enter your zip code or, if you are a Knights of Columbus member, your council number.
How does life insurance work?
By purchasing a life insurance policy and paying premiums you ensure that when you die, your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) will receive a lump sum, also known as a death benefit.
What is whole life insurance?
Whole life is a permanent life insurance product that provides money to your family when you die, and builds cash value while you live. Permanent life insurance is guaranteed and a great way to provide security for your family. Click here to learn more about permanent life insurance.
What is term life insurance?
Term insurance provides affordable protection to your loved ones for temporary needs and is designed to expire as your financial obligations expire. Our term insurance rates are guaranteed for the life of your policy, as is the amount of money that would be paid to your family should you pass away. Click here to learn more about term life insurance.
How much life insurance do I need?
Your life insurance needs depend on your current and future financial obligations. Your field agent who is also a brother Knight is available to meet with you at your convenience and analyze the needs of you and your family.
Click here to find your agent online or estimate your insurance needs with our free and easy to use life insurance calculator.
What is a premium?
A premium is the amount of money you pay for your insurance policy. Premiums can be fixed or flexible, depending on your coverage.
What is a beneficiary?
A beneficiary is the person (or persons) who will receive the proceeds of your life insurance policy when you die.
What is underwriting?
Underwriting is the process through which insurers evaluate the risk of insuring a person and use that information to determine eligibility and set premium pricing for insurance policies.
What are policy riders?
A policy rider is an additional benefit under an existing insurance policy that provides additional coverage.
What if I already have insurance coverage with my employer?
Keep in mind that even if you already have life insurance coverage with your employer, your coverage may not be enough, your employee benefits are not guaranteed, and if you leave your company, you cannot take your life insurance with you. It’s important to review your insurance policy periodically to make sure it still meets your financial needs.
What is a life insurance rate class?
A rate class is a risk category assigned by the company based on your health and medical records. Your rating class will help determine the premium on your life insurance policy.
What are dividends?
Dividends – which are not guaranteed – are a portion of earnings the Order has left over after paying expenses and setting aside the necessary amounts to assure that future benefits are fully funded. Dividends develop from favorable experience, such as people living longer than expected or from interest earnings higher than those guaranteed in their policy
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS DIVIDEND POLICY
This Knights of Columbus dividend policy applies to all participating policies of the company that are expected to pay dividends. While most policy forms are filed as participating, many do not have an expectation of paying dividends. The primary category of products that have an expectation for dividends are participating whole life insurance policies. Dividends are declared at the discretion of the Board of Directors after considering the advice of senior management. This policy has been established by the Board of Directors and is subject to change over time.
In practice, premiums are collected from policyowners for the insurance coverage purchased. These premiums are then used to pay current benefits on policies sold, pay expenses for operating the company, and to set up reserves for expected future benefit payments. Reserves plus the balance of any remaining cash flows are used to purchase prudent investments. An additional amount is also set aside as surplus, a safety net to provide for unexpected cash needs of the company in the future and to support new business growth. Earnings from all product lines (which includes gains or losses related to experience results from investment returns, death claim experience, expenses and taxes, policy surrenders, policy loan utilization, etc.) also feed into the surplus account. Knights of Columbus returns a portion of this surplus to policyowners in the form of dividends.
The Board of Directors determines the amount of surplus that should be retained for future adverse experience and how much should be distributed to policyowners. This amount is known as "divisible surplus." Divisible surplus is distributed to eligible policyowners in the form of dividends. The goal of the Knights of Columbus is to distribute divisible surplus equitably among classes of policies with like characteristics in the form of dividends. The company’s current and projected surplus position may also be considered when setting the dividend scale.
Currently, factors used by the Order to set dividends for each class of life insurance policies include the difference between actual and expected mortality experience for the class (i.e., the amount of death claims compared to what was expected to be paid), the difference between actual and expected operating costs and taxes for the class, and the difference between the investment returns on the reserves for the policy and the interest rate guaranteed in the policy design. The process to allocate dividends strives to achieve reasonable equity among classes of participating policies by distributing divisible surplus in a manner consistent with the contribution a class has made to creating the divisible surplus, subject to practical limits and industry practice. Policies are grouped into classes based on common attributes related to factors such as mortality, investment returns, expenses and taxes, and persistency. Classes are also separated by country geography.
The Order strives to pay the highest dividends possible while ensuring the overall safety and security of the product and the company. However, since dividends reflect actual experience, they are not determinable in advance and are not guaranteed in amount nor whether they will be paid at all. The method of determining dividends can change over time. The dividend scale is evaluated and voted on by the Board of Directors at least annually.
Is the Knights of Columbus financially strong?
With over $100 Billion of life insurance in force, $24 Billion of assets under management, and 42 consecutive years of superior ratings for financial strength from A.M. Best*, you can be confident in the guarantees that you receive from the Knights of Columbus.
*Currently rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best
What is the Knights of Columbus’ investment strategy?
We have always maintained very high standards for the investments we make, putting our assets only into investment-grade bonds and the highest-quality equities. We do not invest in junk bonds or in risky investment instruments.
Our unwavering commitment to our Catholic faith and to the Catholic families entrusted to our care also means that we must do business the right way. As a matter of principle, we will not invest in companies that deal in abortions, contraception, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, for-profit health care that pays for any of the aforementioned, and pornography.
How do I change my beneficiary?
Your Knights of Columbus field agent would be more than happy to assist you in updating your beneficiaries. Find your agent here.
Where can I find my current policy or annuity value?
Contact your Knights of Columbus agent to discuss the details of your current policy or annuity values. If you do not know who your agent is, find him here.