History of Foresters
The Ancient Order of Foresters which today trades as Foresters Friendly Society was established in 1834, although our origins lie in a much older society called the Royal Foresters, formed around 1745.
Our first members came to recognise they had a duty to assist their fellow men who fell into need "as they walked through the forests of life". This 'need' arose principally when a breadwinner fell ill, could not work and received no wages. Illness and death left families financially distressed and often destitute.
Addressing this need has been the main purpose of Foresters Friendly Society throughout our long history. Members recognised that by paying a few pence a week into a common fund, they would be able to offer sick pay and funeral grants when needed.
Some of the key moments in our history:
1834 - The Ancient Order of Foresters is founded.
1850 - Foresters attains legal status under the new Friendly Societies Act.
1864 - Members set up the UK's first voluntary Lifeboat Fund.
1912 - After the National Insurance Act of 1911, Foresters becomes an 'Approved Society', allowing it to get involved in the state system of National Insurance, which virtually doubles the total membership of the Society.
1918 - The Foresters' War Memorial Benevolent Fund is established to provide financial assistance to members and their families who have been severely affected by the losses of the First World War.
1934 - Centenary celebrations include a thanksgiving service, held simultaneously at over 500 locations while around 1,135 delegates attend the AGM, including visitors from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Holland and the United States.
1959 - Foresters celebrates its 125th anniversary.
1984 - Over 600 members attend the 150th anniversary celebrations.
1988 - Payments by the Foresters' War Memorial Benevolent reach £1 million.
2000 - The Society is regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
2003 - Foresters acquires Tunstall Assurance Friendly Society.
2005 - Acquisition of Leek Assurance Collecting Society.
2009 - Foresters celebrates its 175th anniversary at its AGM in Manchester, close to where the Society began.
2010 - Foresters announces its partnership with Archery GB (the governing body for the GB Archery Olympic and Paralympic teams) as the Performance Partner.
2011 - Foresters announces we have been chosen to be the Telegraph Media Group's regular savings service provider.
2013 - Following the change in financial services regulator, Foresters is now dual regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
2013 - Foresters announces the renewal of its Archery GB sponsorship - continuing as Performance Partner for the next 3 years.
2013 - Foresters launches its Introducer Scheme.
2014 - Foresters celebrates its 180th anniversary at its AGM in Torquay.
2014 - Foresters acquires the Post Office Insurance Society (POIS)
2015 - Foresters announces record sales results in 2015 with a 32% increase in premium income to £19million. The Society also paid out over £1million back to its members in the form of dental and optical grants, discretionary benefits and charitable donations. This is in addition to the £1.9million paid out in the form of final bonuses to its policyholders and £0.7million in annual bonuses added to their guaranteed benefits.
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