Friendly Society


Friendly Society
(also Provident Society) (BrE) (AmE benefit society) n
an association whose members regularly pay small amounts of money so that they can be cared for when they are ill or old. Friendly Societies first became common in Britain in the 18th century, and there are still several thousand of them in Britain and the US which operate as non-profit savings associations.

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Mutual aid organization formed voluntarily by individuals to protect members against debts incurred through illness, death, or old age.

Friendly societies arose in 17th-and 18th-century Europe and England and became most numerous in the 19th century. They trace their roots to the burial societies of Greek and Roman artisans and the guilds of medieval Europe. In attempting to define the magnitude of the risk against which they guarded and to determine how much members should contribute to meet that risk, friendly societies used what is now the basic principle of insurance.

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      mutual-aid organization formed voluntarily by individuals to protect members against debts incurred through illness, death, or old age. Friendly societies arose in the 17th and 18th centuries and were most numerous in the 19th century.

      Friendly societies had their origins in the burial societies of ancient Greek and Roman artisans. In the Middle Ages the guilds of Europe and England extended the idea of mutual assistance to other circumstances of distress, such as illness. The friendly societies went a step further by attempting to define the magnitude of the risk against which it was intended to provide and how much the members should contribute to meet that risk. Offshoots of the friendly societies include trade unions, fraternal orders (such as the International Order of Odd Fellows), and life insurance companies. Today some insurance companies in the United Kingdom and in other countries of the Commonwealth still refer to themselves as friendly societies.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • friendly society — ► NOUN ▪ (in the UK) a mutual association providing sickness benefits, life assurance, and pensions …   English terms dictionary

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  • friendly society — noun Britain : benefit society * * * friendly society noun A benefit society, an association for relief in sickness, old age or widowhood, by provident insurance • • • Main Entry: ↑friend * * * friendly society UK US noun …   Useful english dictionary

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  • friendly society — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms friendly society : singular friendly society plural friendly societies an organization in the UK that saves money for people who give small amounts of money regularly …   English dictionary

  • friendly society — Benefit society Benefit society A society or association formed for mutual insurance, as among tradesmen or in labor unions, to provide for relief in sickness, old age, and for the expenses of burial. Usually called {friendly society} in Great… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Friendly Society — A non profitmaking mutual company registered as such under the Friendly Society Acts (1896–1955). Mutual insurance societies were formerly widespread but many closed after the introduction of National Insurance in 1946. Those that remain offer a… …   Accounting dictionary

  • friendly society — friendly so.ciety n an association in Britain that people regularly pay small amounts of money to, which then provides them with money when they become old or ill …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • friendly society — friendly so,ciety noun count an organization in the U.K. that saves money for people who give small amounts of money regularly …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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