(In the UK) a mutual association providing sickness benefits, life assurance, and pensions.
- They can buy from life insurance companies, friendly societies, unit trusts, building societies, or banks.
- In contrast, a building society or a friendly society has set guidelines on the purposes for which it will lend.
- In 1997, over 12 million people were covered for medical expenses by insurers, friendly societies, and cash plan companies.
Originally the name of a particular fire-insurance company operating circa1700.
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