Royal Neighbors of America

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Official logo of Royal Neighbors of America

Back in 1895 when women couldn’t vote, couldn’t own property, and weren’t allowed to own life insurance, nine women founded Royal Neighbors of America. It is one of the largest women-led life insurers in the nation with a message that remains important and relevant today—empowering women to better their lives through financial protection solutions and opportunities to give back to their communities.

With assets over $868 million[1] and life insurance in force totaling more than $2.7 billion, Royal Neighbors has the financial strength and stability to ensure its 200,000 members are protected when the expected, and unexpected, happen.

In addition to insurance products, Royal Neighbors provides member benefits at no additional cost. These currently include:

  • Scholarships—More than $4 million in grants have been awarded since 1961 to traditional and non-traditional students
  • Nation of NeighborsSM Program—Nearly 1,200 individuals have been the recipients of more than $1.5 million since 2007 to realize a dream
  • Various health and retail discounts such as dental, vision, and hearing services; health screenings; prescription drugs, saving members $1 million a year; legal assistance; and cashback online shopping

Fraternal Organizations[edit]

The home office of Royal Neighbors of America in downtown Rock Island, Illinois.

A fraternal beneficiary society is a non-profit, mutual aid organization that: (1) insures members and their families against death, disease, and disability, and (2) operates under a lodge system.[2]

Royal Neighbors has approximately 300 active chapters across the United States through which its members actively volunteer within their communities. On a national level, members participate in volunteer days such as Join Hands Day and Make A Difference Day. In their own communities they perform a variety of activities such as donating to local food pantries; raising funds for libraries, community centers, individuals in need, etc.; improving neighborhoods through Habitat for Humanity; and hosting educational events that empower women. Royal Neighbors supports these activities with financial resources and direct home office assistance.

This nationwide philanthropic mission of neighbor-helping-neighbor began with the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Since that time, Royal Neighbors has, along with its members, helped victims of all types of disasters through monetary donations and hands-on assistance. Victims of such disasters as Hurricanes Katrina, Charley, Jeanne, and Ivan, floods, tornadoes, and mudslides have been given monetary help through the Fraternal Aid fund. This program of financial support was created in 1921 for members who experience extreme cases of need due to illness, accident, or natural disaster.

Its home office was completed in 1928 and was paid for in full at that time.

History[edit]

The early members of the Society were ahead of their time. In addition to providing life insurance for women, they stood firmly behind the women’s suffrage movement. Royal Neighbors was also one of the first fraternal societies to insure children and recognize mortality studies establishing the fact that women live longer than men, and to reflect that difference in life insurance premiums.

In 1888, Mrs. Marie Kirkland, Council Bluffs, IA, placed a notice in her town newspaper asking the wives of Modern Woodmen of America members to meet for a social get-together. Eight women responded and organized what was to become Royal Neighbors of America. Just a year later, the group reorganized as a social organization with a constitution, ritual, and articles of incorporation.[3] The name Royal Neighbors of America was chosen by the women because they adhered to the belief, “For better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far.” (Proverbs 27:10). They intended to be that helpful neighbor, combining the Biblical “neighbor” with the word “royal” that signified their belief in the nobility of the work they would do.

Because the founders wanted their organization to continue to grow as well as remain responsive to membership needs, they began discussing incorporating as a fraternal benefit society. In 1894, it was decided to incorporate in the State of Illinois, which had the most practicable insurance laws. All state requirements were fulfilled and Royal Neighbors was chartered as a fraternal benefit society on March 21, 1895. The first home office was located in Peoria, IL, and was moved to Rock Island in 1908.

In 1931 the society opened the Royal Neighbors of America National Home on the west side of Davenport, Iowa. It was established to help women in their organization who were in need of assistance.[4] It was closed in 2004 when Royal Neighbors determined that providing senior housing was not part of its core mission. The property was sold in 2006. The facility was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Financial Products[edit]

Royal Neighbors provides life insurance and annuity products to its members. Life insurance in force totaled over $2.7 billion in 2013.[5]

Recognizing that lives change as life events happen, Royal Neighbors meets the needs of women and their families through each stage of their lives with annuities and insurance products such as whole, term, and universal life, and final expense policies.

Programs[edit]

Beginning with the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, Royal Neighbors has, along with its members, helped victims of all types of disasters through monetary donations and hands-on assistance. Victims of such disasters as Hurricanes Katrina, Charley, Jeanne, and Ivan, floods, tornadoes, and mudslides have been given monetary help through the Fraternal Aid fund. This program of financial support was created in 1921 for members who experience extreme cases of need due to illness, accident, or natural disaster.

In addition to insurance products, Royal Neighbors provides member benefits at no additional cost, which currently include scholarships, the Nation of NeighborsSM Program, and various health and retail discounts.


Established: March 21, 1895

Home Office: 230 16th Street; Rock Island, IL 61201

Phone Number: (800) 627-4762

President/CEO: Cynthia A. Tidwell

Web site: www.royalneighbors.org

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Royal Neighbors of America 2013 Annual Statement of Royal Neighbors of America, http://www.royalneighbors.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2013-annual-report.pdf?sfvrsn=2
  2. ^ https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p557.pdf
  3. ^ Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations Westport, CT; Greenwood Press pp.295-6
  4. ^ John Willard (September 18, 2006). "Grandview Terrace was a royal residence". Quad-City Times. Davenport. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  5. ^ Royal Neighbors of America 2013 Annual Statement of Royal Neighbors of America, http://www.royalneighbors.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2013-annual-report.pdf?sfvrsn=2

External links[edit]