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Last updated June 15, 2009
Founded in 1883 by Joseph Cullen Root, Modern Woodmen of America is now the third largest fraternal benefits society, with more than 760,000 members. Root’s goal was to create an organization that would protect families following the death of their breadwinner. The term “woodmen” was inspired by an old parable about the good that came from the woodmen clearing the forests to build homes, communities and providing security for their families. “Modern” was meant to reflect the need to stay current and change with the times. The ending “of America” was added to symbolize the patriotism of the organization. Today, Modern Woodmen is continuing to emphasize security and keeping up-to-date, just as the name intended. Its main product lines are life insurance, annuity and investment products designed for the family market.
Modern Woodmen is organized around a lodge system. Called camps, these local organizations offer fellowship and community service opportunities for members. The lodge system “constitutes one of the most powerful forces for altruistic good in the United States.” Modern Woodmen members are part of more than 2,300 camps nationwide and more than 700 youth clubs. Modern Woodmen members across the country participate in “Join Hands Day” and “Make a Difference Day”, which are national days of service; camps and youth clubs also participate in recurring volunteer and social projects throughout the year. The organization’s “Matching Fund Program” matches money raised by individual camps for community members or organizations in need. Modern Woodmen’s fraternal expenditures for member benefits and programs totaled more than $22 million in 2006. These programs include disaster relief, college scholarships, tree planting, volunteer programs, and educational programs
In hopes to meet a broad range of individual needs, Modern Woodmen of America offers a variety of life insurance products including permanent life, term life and children’s and younger adult’s life insurance. Permanent, the most popular form of life insurance, provides lifetime coverage to the insured. A cash value accumulates over time as long as the premiums are paid. Term life insurance, on the other hand, provides coverage for a fixed number of years at a fixed rate. If the insured dies within those set years, the death benefits will be paid to the beneficiaries. The policy will terminate after those set years unless renewed. Usually, this is the most affordable type of life insurance. Modern Woodmen offers a variety of types of children and young adult life insurance products including Junior Max and Step One. Under the Junior Max plan for only $24 a year, you can purchase up to $7,500 of life insurance protection for a child up to the age of ten. The coverage will last until the age of 18. This can also be converted to more of a permanent option later. Step One is a type of insurance that can be purchased for children 0 to 25 years of age and provides coverage until the age of 30. Benefit amounts of $10,000 and $25,000 are available under this policy. This, too, can be converted to term or permanent. Contact Modern Woodmen of America at: Modern Woodmen of America 1701 1st Avenue Rock Island, IL 61201 Telephone: (800) 447-9811 Sources: “Modern Woodmen of America,” Wikipedia, May 2009; “Life Insurance,” Modern Woodmen web site, 2009, “General Information About Modern Woodmen,” Modern Woodmen web site, 2009