Living under one roof
As The Masonic Mutual celebrates its first year, we find out how this alternative to conventional insurance has benefited its members
It’s been an exciting first year for The Masonic Mutual since its launch on 1 July 2014. Founded and run by Freemasons for Freemasonry, its membership is growing, and the high number of enquiries has been keeping Jeff Moore, the Mutual’s first port of call, very busy.
‘The assets and activities of our members are diverse and wide-ranging,’ explains Jeff. ‘Mutual members have many historic and heritage buildings, as well as museums that house rare artefacts and treasures. And along with the more conventional fundraising pursuits, their charitable activities have included things like fire-walking. We have been able to provide better cover, often at reduced costs, and the feedback from members who have filed claims has been consistently positive.’
The Mutual was established by a group of masonic organisations to bring down the total cost of risk to Freemasonry. This is achieved by reducing spend, improving available cover, enhancing risk-management practice, and establishing a vehicle through which any surpluses generated can be retained for the good of Freemasonry.
The voluntary board of Freemasons, which is in overall charge of the Mutual, appointed Regis Mutual Management to look after the business on a day-to-day basis. The board is advised by representatives from Regis, including Jeff Moore and head of underwriting Martin Richards. Both Jeff and Martin are dedicated and enthusiastic masons, as well as seasoned veterans in the insurance market, having more than 75 years’ experience between them.
Robin Furber is Chairman of the board of the Mutual and has worked in various senior roles within the London insurance market. ‘I am delighted to report that the Mutual has performed well this year and am confident it has achieved, if not exceeded, its first year’s aims,’ he says, pointing to the new members who have been able to experience the improved cover and reduced costs first-hand.
‘We have been presented with some sensitive and potentially challenging claims in our first year. These have been handled efficiently and effectively,’ he continues. ‘Regis has provided a smooth and sound administrative framework for our members to access the Mutual. All UK masonic organisations with their own properties are welcome to apply for membership, including those in Scotland.’
In terms of what differentiates the Mutual, Robin singles out the fact that it has no shareholders, enabling it to operate for the long-term good of its members rather than the short-term demands of financial analysts. Owned by its members, who have a say in who is on the board, the Mutual offers tailored cover at prices that can be relied on over the long term. With no insurance brokers’ commissions or fees, or shareholders’ dividends to pay, it is also able to offer broad cover at competitive prices.
‘The Mutual has performed well this year and it has achieved, if not exceeded, its first year’s aims.’ Robin Furber
The flex factor
A charitable, fraternal and member-run organisation, Freemasonry was an obvious candidate for the creation of a mutual mirroring the views, ethos and beliefs of its members. As a mutual, the final decision on claim payments is down to the board – giving it a level of discretion beyond what’s available in the general insurance market. This flexibility ensures that each claim is viewed on an individual basis and the decision-making process is member-focused.
In terms of how the board actually runs the Mutual, membership is restricted to recognised masonic entities. At present, the Mutual is only for masonic organisations that have their own buildings. However, following a high number of requests for quotations, it will soon be offering cover for furniture, regalia and the liabilities of individual lodges or chapters.
‘Some of the largest and smallest masonic organisations have benefited by joining the Mutual, and all have either saved money or been provided with wider cover,’ says Martin. ‘Mutuality works.’
For more information on The Masonic Mutual, visit www.themasonicmutual.com or call Jeff Moore on 01892 893221