Financial security . . . a focus on family . . . a commitment to members and their communities. For over 130 years, Western Catholic Union has been guided by these principles established by our founders in 1877.
As a leader among fraternal benefit life insurance associations, we remain committed to offering our members quality products to assist them in achieving financial security and peace of mind through affordable, common-sense solutions to their unique financial needs. We continually strive to provide convenient access to our services in ways that best fit the busy lives of today's members.
We measure our success not only on our high-grade investment portfolio and strong surplus position, but by the positive impact we have on our members' families and communities.
Go Forth, Holding in One Hand the Book of Christian Truth And in the Other The Constitution of the United States.
Our mission is to attend to the fraternal, financial and spiritual well-being of the members of the Western Catholic Union by offering them the greatest number of social and spiritual opportunities possible and to keep our members safe and secure with the best insurance products available.
Whereas, We as citizens of this great Republic, are in full enjoyment of our religious liberty, and possess the right to form a Union (or Society) for the sole benefit of its members and their beneficiaries, and not for profit, and entitled to make its own laws and regulations, we have resolved to establish this Union, in which and through which Catholics, regardless of nationality and political opinions, may obtain mutual aid in time of need. To protect all classes and branches of industry, and elevate the social standing of its members, cultivate love and affection for the individual members and all local societies as well as the Central Organization.
A condition on which our way of life depends. The Western Catholic Union, as a fraternal benefit society strives to make these principles a reality. Security and fellowship forms the basic foundation upon which WCU operates. Through the branch system the need for social fellowship is met. Good organization with proper leadership is the key to success for a branch. However, all the planning possible will never replace the dedication and enthusiasm of active committee workers. Remember that it is people who make up "Fraternalism in action", not ideas or events.
"Go forth, Holding in One Hand the Book of Christian Truth and in the Other the Constitution of the United States
Revised February 14, 2012
"Let us look to the Cross as a symbol of our Catholic Christian heritage. So that we may always have faith in the positive good of all God’s people.”-------------------------------------------------------
“The Anchor as a symbol of our strength and stability in a sometimes harsh
and unforgiving world…”
WESTERN CATHOLIC UNION
Chartered December 21, 1877
Our mission is to attend to the fraternal, financial and spiritual well-being of the members of the Western Catholic Union by offering them the greatest number of social and spiritual opportunities possible and to keep our members safe and secure with the best insurance products available.
Whereas, We as citizens of this great republic, are in full enjoyment of our religious liberty, and possess the right to form a Union for the sole benefit of its members and their beneficiaries and not for profit, and entitled to make its own laws and regulations, we have resolved to establish this Union, in which and through which Catholics, regardless of nationality and political opinions, may obtain mutual aid in time of need. To protect all classes and branches of industry, and elevate the social standing of its members, cultivate love and affection for the individual members and all local societies as well as the Central Organization.
Section 1. Admission to benefit membership in the Western Catholic Union, hereinafter called the “Union”, shall be limited to persons who are members of the Catholic Church and nonmembers as hereinafter provided, and who are the owner-applicant of a life insurance or annuity certificate issued by the Western Catholic Union, except:
a) In case of a mixed marriage without children, or with children who are baptized Catholics, the non-Catholic party may be insured under the Union’s insurance plans, but the Catholic spouse must be a current benefit member or make application for benefit membership at the same time as the non-Catholic party.
b) In the event of the death of the Catholic member of a mixed marriage, the non-Catholic surviving spouse and their children may be admitted as insurance members.
c) Any person supporting the principles and objectives of the Union, who is of good moral character, may be eligible for membership in the Western Catholic Union.
Social members may be admitted by local branches but shall have no vote in the management of the Union.
Section 2. Applications for benefit membership shall be made on such forms and under such conditions as may from time to time be determined by the Board of Trustees.
Section 3. The Union shall consist of the members organized in local branches. Regular meetings shall be held by each branch at such time and place as it shall order. Each person fifteen (15) years of age shall be admitted to adult beneficial membership and shall have one vote. The minimum age of admission into an adult branch is 18 years of age in branch jurisdiction where a youth branch is operating.
Section 4. The private property of members of the Union shall be exempt from corporate debts.
Section 1. The National governing body shall be the National Council composed of branch presidents, deputy vice presidents, and delegates elected by the branches, 11 of the 14 members of the Board of Trustees elected at the previous quadrennial meeting, and the officers of the National Council elected by the Board of Trustees. A majority of the members of the National Council shall constitute a quorum.
Section 2. Each branch is entitled to the number of delegates to the National Council in accordance with the chart below:
Member Delegates Member Delegates
1-150 *1 Delegate 551-650 6 Delegates
151-250 2 Delegates 651-750 7 Delegates
251-350 3 Delegates 751-850 8 Delegates
351-450 4 Delegates 851-950 9 Delegates
451-550 5 Delegates 951-Over 10 Delegates
*Branches – 50 or less – 1 Delegate (branch expense)
Such delegates and an alternate for each shall be elected by each branch by secret ballot at a regular or special meeting from among its benefit members at least forty-five days prior to any regular or special meeting of the National Council and be certified to the National Secretary at least thirty days before such meeting. The Branch President of qualifying branches will receive an automatic invitation to represent his or her branch as a delegate provided the branch is entitled to more than one delegate. If a branch is entitled to one delegate, the delegate will be elected in accordance with the Union’s bylaws. If the Branch President cannot attend the Convention, that vacated delegate spot will be filled by a duly-elected alternate.
Section 3. Regular meetings of the National Council shall hereinafter be held every fourth year at such time and place as ordered at the preceding meeting or by the Board of Trustees. Upon petition of a majority of the members of the Board of Trustees, the National President, shall, within twenty days, send notice to all branches of a special meeting of the National Council to be held no less than sixty and not more than ninety days from the date of such notice. Such notice shall state the purpose for which, the time when, and place where, such meeting is to be held. Business transacted at any special meeting shall be confined to the purpose stated in the notice of the meeting and such matters as are necessary or incidental thereto.
Section 4. The officers of the National Council shall be National President, National Secretary, National Treasurer, and the eleven National Trustees, at least one of whom shall be a woman and at least one of whom shall be a man. The 11 National Trustees shall be elected from an 11-vote ballot. Ballots containing more and/or less than 11 votes shall be declared ineligible and discarded. No Trustee shall be holding an active sales contract with the Union during his or her tenure as a member of the Union’s Board of Trustees. No employee or spouse of an employee of the Union, may be a candidate or serve as a member of the Board of Trustees with the exception of the National Officers. In addition, any agent or employee whose contract or employment is terminated by the Union shall be ineligible to run for any position at the next regular meeting of the Council following termination. No person who has attained the age of 76 years prior to the date for the election of said Trustees shall be eligible for election or re-election as a Trustee.
Only persons who have continuously owned a WCU life or annuity contract as determined by the Board of Trustees for at least four (4) years prior to the Council meeting, and in good standing as determined by the Credentials Committee, may be candidates to the Board. In addition, when submitting their name to the Credentials Committee, prospective candidates must include a certification from their local branch president or secretary-treasurer confirming their attendance at no less than eight (8) local branch functions, providing they live within 100 miles of an active branch since the last regular meeting of the Council. Notice of National Council meeting shall be given at least 180 days in advance. A candidate shall submit his or her name and qualifications to the Credentials Committee no later than 120 days prior to the meeting of the Council in order to be a candidate for office. Only candidates whose qualifications have been verified by the Credentials Committee will be considered as nominees. In addition, any candidate wishing to distribute literature to the delegates at or prior to the Council meeting must submit such literature to the Credentials Committee for its review and approval on a timely basis, in accordance with Article 6 of these bylaws, prior distribution of the literature to the delegates is prohibited. Any candidate who does not comply with these procedures will be disqualified as a candidate and will not have his or her name on the ballot. No nominations from the floor will be accepted during the National Council meeting. One Deputy Vice President shall be elected from each district of the Union for a four-year term and the Deputy Vice Presidents shall be considered voting delegates at-large during the quadrennial convention following the convention year of their appointment. The districts and duties of the Deputy Vice Presidents shall be determined by the Board of Trustees. The election of trustees shall be elected quadrennially at the regular meeting of the National Council. To be eligible for election, a candidate must have been a member in good standing for at least two years prior to his or her election to the board. By a two-thirds majority, all of the members of the Board of Trustees shall elect the National President, National Secretary, and National Treasurer. Each such officer shall hold office until a successor is elected by the Board of Trustees or until the officer’s resignation or removal. The National President, National Secretary, and National Treasurer after election to the office shall be or shall become residents of headquarters located in the Quincy, Illinois immediate area within 120 days. Any of the above officers of the Board of Trustees may be removed for cause by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all the members of the Board of Trustees at any regular or special meeting of the Board of Trustees .
Section 5. The 14 officers of the National Council shall constitute the Board of Trustees. Vacancies in the Board of Trustees shall be filled by the Board of Trustees for the unexpired term. The Board of Trustees may appoint a medical director and such assistant Secretaries and other employees as the Board of Trustees may deem necessary. Unless otherwise fixed by resolution of the National Council, the compensation and bonds of officers shall be determined and fixed by the Board of Trustees.
Section 6. It shall be the duty of the Board of Trustees to prescribe the general rules for underwriting and for the formation and supervision of the branches, and to perform any other function which may be required. The Board of Trustees shall appoint an executive committee consisting of the National President, National Secretary, National Treasurer, and such other additional members as the Board of Trustees may deem necessary. The Executive Committee shall have the responsibility of the management of the Union between the Board of Trustees meetings and shall meet at least monthly. The Board of Trustees shall have power to create other committees and define their powers. Unless otherwise specifically ordered, the actions of any committee shall be reported to and be subject to review and approval by the Board of Trustees.
Section 7. Meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held at lest semi-annually as determined by the Board or on call of the National President, or any five members of the Board filed with the National Secretary. A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
Section 8. Honorary Board members may receive emeritus status if they have served as a member of the Board of Trustees for at least 10 consecutive years and retired because of the age requirement or by a recommendation and majority vote by the Board of Trustees. An Honorary Board member may attend all Union Board meetings as an interested non-voting member. Honorary Members are to receive compensation as determined by the active Board members. Honorary Board members may attend the quadrennial convention of the Union as an at-large voting delegate and shall receive the same compensation, rights, and privileges as any other Delegate.
Section 1. Contracts may be issued when in compliance with the laws of the state or province where issued, upon such evidence or insurability as required, of such persons and upon such forms and plans and providing such benefits, privileges, and options, all as may from time to time be prescribed by the Board of Trustees.
Section 2. Contracts, including annuity certificates, shall be issued as ordered by the Board of Trustees upon such standards of mortality as limited by the law in the state or province where the contract is issued.
Section 3. All contracts shall be issued to members upon such rates payable under such classifications as to risks as may be fixed and ordered by the Board of Trustees and Union’s Actuary. The Board of Trustees and the Union’s Actuary shall fix
and adopt a manual for classification of risks as standard, hazardous or prohibited, and minimum and maximum amounts of insurance.
Section 4. Benefits may be made payable to any beneficiary, natural or artificial, except as limited by law in the State where the contract is issued. In the event of the death of a beneficiary prior to the death of an insured member, and upon failure of such member to designate another beneficiary, unless otherwise provided in the benefit certificate, then the amount to be paid under the Benefit Certificate upon the death of said insured member shall be distributed to the estate of the deceased member.
Section 5. Unless otherwise provided in the contract, change of beneficiary may be effected by application on forms furnished by the National Secretary; provided that no such change shall become effective until endorsed upon the contract by the Union at its home office.
Section 6. If the reserves as to all or any class of certificates become impaired, the Board of Trustees may require that there shall be paid by the owner to the society the amount of the owner's equitable proportion of such deficiency as ascertained by the Board, and that, if the payment is not made, either (1) it shall stand as an indebtedness against the certificate and draw interest not to exceed the rate specified for certificate loans under the certificates; or (2) in lieu of or in combination with (1), the owner may accept a proportionate reduction in benefits under the certificate. WCU may specify the manner of the election and which alternative is to be presumed if no election is made.
Section 1. Unless otherwise provided, Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the proceedings at all meetings.
Section 2. No vote by proxy shall be recognized in any meeting of the National Council or of the Board of Trustees .
Section 3. These bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation may be amended at any regular or special meeting of the National Council by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of the delegates; provided that the elected delegates shall have two-thirds of the votes of all delegates. The bylaws may also be amended at any regular or special
meeting of the Board of Trustees by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all members of the Board; provided that not less than fifteen days notice shall be given by
the National Secretary to all members of the Board of Trustees of any amendment to be voted upon by the Board; provided, however, that an amendment may be adopted without such notice by the unanimous vote of all members of the Board of Trustees. Any
amendment of the bylaws by the Board of Trustees shall be subject to review, ratification, and approval by the National Council at its next special or regular meeting.
Section 4. During the interim between conventions of the National Council the Articles of Incorporation and the bylaws may be amended without review ratification and approval by the National Council at its next special or regular meeting provided the following requirements are satisfied:
(a) The proposed amendment shall be approved by a vote of not less than three-fourths of the members of the Board of Trustees at any regular or special meeting, and
(b) Such proposed amendment shall be certified by the National Secretary and a copy thereof in the form of a referendum ballot shall be forwarded by mail to each member of the Board of Trustees and to each duly accredited delegate to the last preceding convention of the National Council, and
(c) The members of the Board of Trustees and the duly accredited delegates to the last preceding convention of the National Council shall indicate acceptance or rejection of each proposed amendment in writing by marking and signing the official referendum ballot and forwarding it to the National Secretary within thirty days from the date that the same shall have been mailed from the National Office. After the expiration of forty days from the date of mailing the referendum ballot, the National Secretary shall tabulate the votes received and shall certify the results to the National President, and
(d) On receipt in writing of a two-thirds favorable vote on such amendment, the same shall be officially announced by the National President and the National Secretary, to the Presidents of all branches, and from and after the date of such announcement shall be in full force and effect.
Section 1. Subject to the laws of Illinois in effect from time to time, any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending, on-going or completed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (other than an action by or in the right of the Union) by reason of the fact
that he is or was a National Officer or National Trustee of the Union, or is or was serving at the request of the Union as a director, officer, employee, agent, or trustee of another
Union, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, or as a member of any administrative committee or other committee of any plan created under a trust, shall be indemnified against expenses (including attorney’s fees) judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with such
action, suit or proceeding if he acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to the best interest of the Union, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner which he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the Union, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful.
Section 2. Subject to the laws of Illinois in effect from time to time, any person who was, or is, a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action or suit by or in the right of the Union to procure a judgment in its favor by reason of the fact that he is, or was, a National officer or National trustee of the Union, or is or was serving at the request of the Union as a director, officer, employee, agent or trustee of another Union corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise or any member of any administrative or other committee of any plan created under a trust shall be indemnified against expenses (including attorneys’ fees) actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the defense or settlement of such action or suit, if he acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be not opposed to the best interest of the Union except that no indemnification shall be made in respect of any claim, issue or matter as to which such person shall have been adjudged to be liable for gross negligence or material misconduct in the performance of his duty to the Union, unless, and only to the extent that the court in which such action or suit was brought shall determine upon application that, despite the adjudication of liability, but in view of all the circumstances of the case, such person is fairly and reasonably entitled to be indemnified for such expenses as the court shall deem proper.
Section 3. To the extent that a National Officer or National Trustee of the Union eligible for indemnification under Section 1 or 2 of this Article has been successful, on the merits or otherwise, in defense of any action, suit or proceeding referred to in Section 1 or 2 of this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, he shall be indemnified against expenses (including attorneys’ fees) actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection therewith.
Section 4. Any indemnification under Sections 1 or 2 of this Article (unless ordered by a court) shall be made by the Union only as authorized in the specific case, upon a determination that indemnification of the party eligible for indemnification under Section 1 or 2 of this Article is proper in the circumstances because he has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in Sections 1 or 2 of this Article. Such determination shall be made by the Board of Trustees by a majority vote of the disinterested members.
Section 5. Expenses incurred in defending a civil or criminal action, suit or proceeding may be paid by the Union in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit or proceeding, as authorized by the Board of Trustees in the specific case, upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the party eligible for indemnification under Section 1 or 2 of this Article to repay such amount, unless it shall ultimately be determined that he is entitled to be indemnified by the Union as authorized in this Article.
Section 6. The indemnification provided by this Article shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which those seeking indemnification may be entitled under any agreement, vote of the disinterested members of the Board of Trustees, or National Council, or otherwise, both as to action in his official capacity while holding such office, and shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a party eligible for indemnification under Section 1 or 2 of this Article and shall inure to the benefit of heirs, executors, and administrators of such a person.
Section 7. The Union may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a National Officer or National Trustee of the Union or who is or was serving at the request of the Union as a director, officer, employee, agent, or trustee of another Union, partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise, or as a member of an administrative committee or other committee of any plan created under a trust against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in any such capacity, or arising out of his status as such, whether or not the Union would have the power to indemnify him against such liability under the provisions of this Article.
Section 1. The Credentials Committee shall consist of all members of the Deputy Vice Presidents and Honorary Directors other than candidates for the Board of Trustees and Union legal counsel. Only applicants for board positions who have been certified as candidates shall be eligible for election to the Board of Trustees.
(1) The Credentials Committee will:
(a) review all information that applicants for board positions submit or that is otherwise obtained;
(b) The Credentials Committee shall certify all applicants who have met the following requirements and characteristics for The Board of Trustees:
i. complied with the requirements of these bylaws; and
ii. did not intentionally submit false or misleading information; and
iii. has at least a general knowledge of the fraternal benefit system; and
iv. has at least a general knowledge of the history, customs and structure of the Union; and
v. has affirmed his or her willingness to participate in educational seminars and programs that provide regular instruction in life insurance and/or financial services organization management issues.
vi. has no criminal history.
(c) submit to the delegates a summary of all accurate and relevant information about each certified candidate;
(d) review all literature that a certified candidate wishes to distribute or to have distributed to the delegates; and
(e) the committee will respond to candidates 60 days prior to the National Council meeting.
(f) prohibit a certified candidate from distributing or having distributed any literature that is inaccurate or misleading, and decertify any candidate who makes an unauthorized distribution of literature.
RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES
Section 1. The purpose of this Article is to prescribe the sole means to present and resolve grievances, complaints or disputes brought by members, certificate owners, or beneficiaries against the Union or its members of the Board of Trustees, members of the National Council, officers, agents, and employees. Procedures set forth in this Article are meant to provide prompt, fair and efficient opportunities for dispute resolution, consistent with the fraternal nature of the Union, without the delay and expense of formal legal proceedings.
Section 2. Except as expressly limited in this Section 2, this section applies to all past, current and future benefit certificates, members, insureds, annuitants, certificate owners, and beneficiaries. It applies to all claims, actions, disputes and grievances of any kind or nature whatsoever. It includes, but is not limited to, claims based on breach of benefit certificate, breach of contract, as well as claims based on fraud, misrepresentation, violation of statute, discrimination, denial of civil rights, conspiracy, defamation, and
infliction of distress, against the Union or its members of the Board of Trustees, members of the National Council, officers, agents, or employees.
Section 3. This Article does not apply to claims or disputes made after the applicable statute of limitations has expired.
Section 4. This Article does not apply to action brought by the Union, including, but not limited to, actions for declaratory judgment, determining proper payees, recovering amounts due, and contesting insurance coverage or membership eligibility.
Section 5. No lawsuit or any other actions may be brought for any claims or disputes covered by this Article. The following are the steps and procedures for presenting and resolving disputes:
a. Appeal. Appeal of a dispute to a designated reviewer within the Union appropriate to the dispute.
b. Mediation. If an appeal does not result in a mutually satisfactory resolution, either party has the right to have the matter mediated in accordance with the mediation rules of a neutral dispute esolution organization to which the parties agree, or, in the absence of an agreement, the American Arbitration Association.
c. Arbitration. If there is still no mutually satisfactory resolution, the matter will be resolved by binding arbitration in accordance with the arbitration rules of a neutral dispute resolution organization to which the parties agree, or, in the absence of an agreement, the American Arbitration Association. The arbitrator(s) may award any actual damages incurred for which there is liability, but may not award attorneys’ fees, exemplary, extra-contractual or punitive damages. The decision of the arbitrator(s) is binding and final. Additional procedural rules may be defined in policies established by the Union and made available upon request. If a claim or dispute is subject to law that prohibits parties from agreeing to submit future disputes to binding arbitration, arbitration results shall be non-binding unless both the individual and Union voluntarily agree to binding arbitration after the claim or dispute has arisen.
Section 6. Fees and expenses of the mediator and/or arbitrator(s) shall be paid out of a dispute resolution fund established by the Union. This does not include attorneys’ fees, experts’ fees, or discovery costs, which each party shall bear as its own responsibility.
Section 7. No claim or dispute may be brought against the Union or its members of the Board of Trustees, officers, agents, or employees, in a representative capacity, or on behalf of any class of persons or members. Claims or multiple persons may be joined and presented under this Article provided all affected members, certificate owners, and beneficiaries consent in writing, or if the Union determines joinder is appropriate.
All claims not coming within the benefits or provisions of the insurance shall be held to be addressed to the systemic benevolence of the Society and shall in no case be made the basis of any legal liability on the part of the Society.
“The Heart as the love and charity toward all people…”
“The Handshake, symbolic of the spirit, cooperation and teamwork
that our members in branches and districts have so brilliantly displayed
since the founding of the Western Catholic Union in 1877”
Western Catholic Union
PO Box 410
Quincy, Illinois 62306-0410
217-223-9721 – 1-800-223-4WCU