Last year I attended, on behalf of the Province, a conference and meeting at the United Grand Lodge to discuss the future progress of the initiative. It was largely centred on the launch and offering to Masonic Centres of the Masonic Mutual assurance. This was launched originally in 2014 and is already offering considerable discounts to Lodges throughout the country.
This mutual has no shareholders and is working solely for the common benefit and long term good of its members. Its members come from a large cross section of the Masonic community such as United Grand Lodge, where the Mutual covers the insurance for Temples, the Museum and facilities, the facilities at Queen Street, RMBI Supreme Counsel for Scotland, Provincial Grand Lodges and Masonic Centres across the length and breadth of the UK and Northern Ireland.
The Mutual is supported by a panel of insurers which include Aviva, Builders Direct S.A and Assicurazioni Generale S.P.A.
Graham Redman the Deputy Grand Secretary has put it on record to say that the creation of the Masonic Mutual is “one of the best things to have happened for Freemasonry in the recent past”.
I have contacted all Lodges throughout the Province and they are encouraged now to entrust and approach the Masonic Mutual as a preferred bidder to offer insurance services. Of course, understanding that independent management of each individual building is down to those teams that are entrusted with the responsibility and Province has only a role to recommend services through this initiative.
I am pleased to say that it has been reported to me that a number of Lodges have now entrusted Masonic Mutual with their business and have received discounts.
Further, under the Masonic Buildings Initiative, we have recently, through the generosity of a rating surveyor, with whom I have long standing connections, being able to carry out a desktop exercise in relation to rateable values of the respective buildings in our Province.
I am pleased to report that he has found that there are savings to be made in relation to 2 of the most significant buildings that we presently occupy in the Province. Others appear to be much in line with rateable values within the market and assessments more generally, and thus it would be unlikely that any cost savings could be obtained in the majority of circumstances.
However it is useful for all to know that their premises are being looked at by specialist surveyors and that the facilities for drawing on specialised advice and recommendations are available to you all, as and when you may require them.
I have on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master and his team written to those Lodges who may be able to make savings and undoubtedly appeals will be submitted in those cases.
Finally, for this year’s progress, I would like to begin to prepare a database for Lodges of specific trades, professionals associated with buildings and any advisors that feel that their services may be appropriate. I shall be writing to all members with the Province in due course, with further details of how you may be able to submit information if you should be interested in offering any specific service or trade to the Masonic Centres within the Province.
Whilst writing, we should add that we are not in a position to advise or specifically give guidance without invitation and terms should always be agreed independently of any provincial reference and indeed, commercial arrangements between any Brethren offering a service and any centre employing them would be entirely autonomous between themselves.
Needless to say, watch this space......
Assuring you that we shall be in touch further.
ANDREW MORGAN, FRICS FAAV