Friendly societies were born out of local communities, where elders banded together to look after each other in times of need.

Gradually these elders started paying membership fees, so when one became sick or passed away they could dip into the savings to support families. This support became an important part of people’s lives.

Since 1877, NobleOak has continued this tradition by making Life insurance more affordable and accessible to Australians. Today, we continue to offer low-cost, good value Life insurance products.

NobleOak is proud to be a friendly society and a member of the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), the industry body for the Australian mutual financial services sector.

How do they differ from Life insurance companies?

Under the Life Insurance Act 1995, Life insurance policies may be issued by a registered Life company or a friendly society. There are two main differences:

  1. Life companies operate statutory funds whereas friendly societies operate benefit funds. Statutory funds and benefit funds are similar – they both receive premium monies from their clients and pay claims to their clients, and they are both regulated by APRA.
  2. For Life companies, the actual policy contract is called a policy document. A friendly society’s contract with its members is contained in master benefit fund rules covering all holders of the product. These rules and any variation to them must be approved by APRA. The terms and conditions are provided to clients in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).