Insurance Update
August 2015
Issue No. 59             
In this issue

Keys to happier living  



About Us 

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 A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and ad&d, dependent life and ad&d, retiree life, long-term disability, short-term disability, and Medicare supplement coverage for eligible ministers and other employees of congregations, districts, and camps. Dental, vision, retiree life, and Medicare supplement coverage is also available for eligible retirees of congregations, districts, and camps.


Medical and ancillary plans are available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.


Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.  
Contact Us 
1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120

There is an interesting element to all insurance companies that we sometimes forget. Their goal is to pool the resources of many people in order to "ensure" that large needs may be met, whether it be paying the costs for health care, accidental death, or long-term disability. The underlying idea behind insurance is that human beings can accomplish something together that they are not able to do alone.


That idea is explored in this month's Insurance Update -- the benefits of working together and of living in community. This choice of theme is inspired by two sources. In Benefit News, (published quarterly by BBT), there is a report on a documentary titled "Happy," which demonstrates that people who live in community are happier than people who live alone. The second source is the Church of the Brethren itself, which has a deep commitment to the importance of Community in the life of people of faith.


In the article that follows, you will find excerpts and links to a variety of information that will give you plenty of food for thought on the benefits of Community. We pray you are having a safe and relaxing summer, enjoying it with your family, friends, and community members, and making wonderful memories to share and keep.



The importance of community

Jane Addams, settlement social worker, reformer, and founder of the social work profession in the United States, wrote, "The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life." In other words, people would be wise to work toward being part of a community to help enrich their own lives, and in turn improve the conditions of their surrounding society. Jane Addams' quote is at the head of a brief article titled, "The Importance of Community," that offers some simple things you can do to strengthen your sense of belonging.


Link to article here. 


Below are excerpts from several more articles about community. Enough is given of each piece to whet your appetite and encourage you to click on the link to read more. Included are two excerpts from research on the health benefits of volunteering. They are included because volunteering is one of the ways people connect with one another and build community.



Good friends are good for you

By Tom Valeo


They might get on your nerves at times, but good friends have bigger benefits than you may realize.


"You got to have friends to make that day last long," sings Bette Midler. But good friends may help your life last longer too, according to an Australian study. Conducted by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, the study followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years. It found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22 percent.


Why is this so? The authors suspect that good friends discourage unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and heavy drinking. And the companionship provided by friends may ward off depression, boost self-esteem, and provide support. Also, as people age, they may become more selective in their choice of friends, so they spend more time with people they like.


To read the entire article, go to:  



Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits

From, 2015 


With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Volunteering can also help protect your mental and physical health.


One of the better known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. And volunteering is a two-way street: it can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help.


To read the full article, click here. 



The health benefits of volunteering for older Americans

Review of Recent Research

Corporation for National and Community Service, 2012


According to data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, 18.7 million older adults -- more than a quarter of those 55 and older -- contributed on average more than three billion hours of service in their communities per year between 2008 and 2010. Older volunteers meet a wide range of community needs -- helping seniors live independently in their homes, tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, providing financial education and job training to veterans and their families, and helping communities recover from disasters. In fact, older adults who volunteer typically volunteer more hours in a year than other age groups.


In addition to providing valuable services to individuals and communities, older volunteers are also living active lives through volunteering. A growing body of research shows an association between volunteering and mental and physical health benefits. In particular, older volunteers report lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, fewer physical limitations, and higher levels of well-being.


To read the entire research review, go to: 



Another article titled "The importance of community"

Article from the Huffington Post for the younger generation  

By Harper Spero


In this article, a young business woman writes about the transition from counting friends, to building community.


"Throughout high school, college, and after college, many of us are on a mission to have the highest number of friends possible. For some reason, we think it's quantity over quality. As we get older, we recognize the importance of having friends who are authentic and genuine -- people who love, respect, and support us. Most of us are happier with a handful of best friends who we can truly rely on, compared with 25 friends who don't really mean as much to us.


As I started my business in 2014, I had been in touch with nine different girlfriends over a period of a few weeks. We were trying to make dinner plans. I decided that, instead of trying to make nine different dinner plans, I'd host a potluck at my apartment. I asked everyone to bring a favorite dish and whatever they wanted to drink. Everyone was extremely excited and open to this idea. The majority of the ladies had never met before and knew nothing about each other prior to walking into my apartment."


To read this thoughtful article, click here. 


Five benefits to living in a community

Blog by Anne


Click here to go to blog. 


This is an edited version of Anne's blog. The experiences are from a more intentional community than that in which most of us live (such as co-housing). Still, the ideas are thought-provoking.



Living in a community demands that we reach out to people, but reaching out works both ways and provides an element of security. Life in community can range from living in an Amish Community, intense and with many rules, to living in a particular place or joining an interest group online of like-minded people.


A sense of belonging

When people feel isolated, without friends or relatives, they become lonely and eventually depressed. A community spirit can instill a sense of belonging in these individuals; they are no longer alone; and they begin to lead healthier, happier lives.



Living in a community protects individuals from the harshness of having to do everything for themselves. It can help a person who falls on hard times to feel supported. Community living means that people know each other. This can mean less crime and less need for surveillance. Surveillance is a consequence of living amongst strangers.


The sharing of resources

Sharing resources can greatly reduce the cost of living. Many of the luxuries that people enjoy are not used 24/7, or even if they are used frequently, they can often be shared. The quality of items that can be afforded goes up while the cost goes down. You can live cheaper and better, and the only cost is being more social.



Cooperation and Competition

It is natural for individuals to cooperate with each other. We are a tribal species. Cooperation on an individual level is very beneficial, because generally each person is interested in and skilled at different tasks. Close-knit groups of individuals whose skills and personalities complement each other can be particularly healthy, happy, and successful.


Employment and fulfillment

One of the greatest benefits of living in a community setting is that it gives us the freedom to care for our lives, our wealth, and often both at the same time. The needs of a community are numerous, and the avenues of occupations that could benefit a community are likewise numerous. Skills and expertise can benefit the individual member economically, but they also forge networks of professional relationships. By working within a community, each individual's skills and abilities can be applied in a unique way.

 LTCILong-Term Care Insurance

Living with, interacting with, and enjoying other people clearly benefits your health and lengthens your life. Feeling secure in that network of valued people, knowing that you will be cared for when you do have health needs, knowing that the people in your circle will have the assistance they need to help you -- enhances the pleasures of living in community. Brethren Insurance Services has something valuable and important for you. We offer Long-Term Care Insurance for all members and employees of the Church of the Brethren and their family and friends; and also for employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities and their families and friends.


If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or click here to request more information.