Union of America - Life Insurance
Union of America's History
in the last quarter of the 19th century, millions of immigrants
came to America to work in its factories and farms. Some came
for short term employment, but many stayed to raise families
and to build homes, churches, and social institutions. All
would encounter a harsh, foreign environment which was generally
unsympathetic to their needs and wants. As with many other
ethnic groups, Poles would face harsh discrimination in addition
to the challenge of living within a society having unfamiliar
language and customs. Like other ethnic groups, Poles would
also address the challenge of the environment by creating
new social networks and institutions. One such institution
is the Polish Union of America - Unia Polska w Ameryce.
Late in 1889, Reverend Dean Jan Pitass, the pastor of St.
Stanislaus Church in Buffalo, met in St. Paul, Minnesota with
Msgr. Dominik Majer and other national leaders, for the purpose
of organizing a new fraternal benefit organization. Initially,
"Unia Polska w Ameryce" joined three existing parish
societies from St. Adalbert's Church in St. Paul with the
Sons of the Queen of Poland Society in Buffalo. On September
27, 1890, the new organization elected Joseph Jarosz as its
For the first 25 years of its existence, the Polish Union
of America was an unincorporated association serving as an
umbrella for many parish societies. The location of the headquarters
of the organization was subject to change at each national
convention, and accordingly was relocated from St. Paul, Minnesota
to Buffalo, to St. Paul, Minnesota, to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania,
and then to Buffalo. At a bitter convention in Chicago in
1908, Buffalo was again chosen for the PUA's principal office
and place of business, and the officers and for the succeeding
two years were elected from members residing in Buffalo and
its vicinity. Immediately after the convention, controversy
and disagreement arose between the newly-elected officers
and many of the societies in Pennsylvania. The result was
the formation of a separate fraternal organization, which
today is known as the Polish Union of the United States of
North America. Despite efforts of nationally prominent people
to reunite both factions, the split was confirmed in 1910,
when the organization held separate conventions. Unfortunately,
questions regarding the allocation of assets between the two
organizations were resolved only after extensive litigation.
The original concept of the Polish Union of America was to
unite the many mutual benefit societies that had sprung up
at parishes throughout Polonia. Typically, a society would
impose flat dues, in exchange for which a member's family
would receive a stipend upon death to cover the cost of burial.
Dues were set on a per capita basis, and were usually not
adjusted for age. In other words, the societies did not calculate
benefits based on any actuarial standard. Such practices violated
state laws which were being implemented in the early part
of this century. In 1914, the New York State Insurance Department
advised the Polish Union of America that it was transacting
business in violation of New York law, and that unless the
association established a lawful status, the department would
proceed to prohibit its transaction of business. Thereupon,
the Polish Union of America undertook a campaign to procure
the necessary number of insured persons to establish a fraternal
benefit society under the insurance law of the State of New
York. On February 16, 1915, the Superintendent of Insurance
issued a preliminary Certificate to incorporate under the
name of the Polish Union of America. The incorporation of
the organization was completed on July 16, 1917.
its first three decades, the Polish Union of America encountered
many challenges in establishing itself as a viable fraternal
organization. Even amidst the trauma of a major schism and
the challenge of compliance with new requirements of New York
law, the early leaders of the organization nonetheless took
steps to establish a sound foundation for the future of the
organization. Once such activity was the construction of a
new home office in 1914 at 761-765 Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo,
construction of the Polish Union Hall represented a significant
development not only for the Polish Union of America, but
also for all of Polonia. Wladyslaw Zawadzki was commissioned
to design this handsome building in the heart of Buffalo's
Polish community. The significance of this development was
not lost on the residents of Buffalo. As reported by the Catholic
Union and Times for May 14, 1914, the groundbreaking for this
facility was marked by a civic ceremony and a grand parade.
it's opening in 1915, the Polish Union of America has housed
professional and business offices, the inter-war Polish Consulate,
WHLD Polonia Varieties Radio studios, a library, a restaurant,
the first headquarters of the Adam Plewacki American Legion
Post, a printing company, a typesetting graphic art establishment,
a large balconied auditorium, and the PUA general offices.
As a keystone in Western New York's Polonia, the PUA building
has hosted presidents, top government officials of America
and Poland, and many distinguished personalities in various
multi-million dollar non-profit fraternal benefit society,
the PUA today is the foremost society for Americans of Polish
Heritage in the Northeast. Thousands of men, women, and children
-- students, mechanics, Democrats, Republicans, physicians,
printers, teachers, clergy, farmers, etc. -have shared in
the programs and fraternal protection of the Polish Union
of America for the last 100 plus years.
thirty-five years, President Stanley E. Czaster guided the
PUA to its incorporation, and through two World Wars, Korea,
and the Great Depression. Before his death in 1953, he had
served on the Buffalo Common Council, became the first of
three PUA presidents to also head the half-million member
New York Fraternal Congress, and was the first PolishAmerican
on the Buffalo Board of Education. He was very instrumental
in helping found several great Polonian organizations; the
Catholic League for Religious Assistance to Poland, American
Relief for Poland, Inc. and the Polish American Congress.
of the City of Lackawanna, New York, Walter J. Lohr, treasurer
and president for a total of 39 years, led the PUA through
the years that marked Christian Poland's Millennium, the consecration
of our member Bishop Stanislaus J. Brzana as Ordinary of Ogdensburg,
the founding of Villa Maria College, and the Issuance of a
Millennium stamp by the U.S. Post Office in 1966.
the 1970's -- the decade of John Paul, II, Muskie, and Brzezinski
-- the PUA embarked on new programs and undertakings. The
Polish Union of America has established itself as a leader
in the defense of the rights of Polish Americans. It has promoted
the cause of freedom in Poland and the preservation of Polish
culture and heritage within our American pluralistic society.
Highlights include new insurance and savings plans, the new
PUA Parade publication, and an Educational Assistance program
with thousands of dollars in scholarship aid to members. A
Bicentennial poster series for schools and libraries featured
contributions by those of Polish Heritage to America's growth.
A no-charge Fraternal Orphan Benefit aids parentless children
of PUA members with payments until each child reaches 18.
members provided leadership support and functioned in a myriad
of ways during the "Solidarnosc" movement for civil
and religious freedom in Poland. Among the activities were
trips and visits to Poland, media promotions, and various
support drives including bonds, clothing, and food. PUA hosted
numerous Polish lay and religious leaders and visitors to
offered pro bono its Home Office at 761 Fillmore Avenue in
Buffalo, New York to the Polish Community Center, Inc. (Dom
Polski) to house their operation during a prolonged federally
funded reconstruction of Dom Polski at 1081 Broadway in Buffalo,
New York. PUA officers and directors contributed extensive
time, leadership, and financial support for the success of
the PCCB (Dom Polski) project.
Polish Union of America stands in the forefront of combating
the defamation of and discrimination against the 12 million
Americans of Polish descent. The PUA organization has also
worked tirelessly to advance the education of their members
and to promote a greater appreciation of Polish Culture. The
Polish Union of America's Scholarship Program has provided
thousands of dollars of assistance to needy college students.
The Polish Union of America has been the sponsor of numerous
cultural programs. The PUA was a recipient of a grant from
the New York State Bicentennial Commission, under which it
conducted a series of lectures on the American constitution
from a Polish ethnic perspective.
1990's provided PUA with an opportunity to conclude a full
century of successful fraternal service to its members of
Polish and Catholic heritage and to its Polish American heritage.
The 1990's also provided PUA with opportunity for improvement
and progress, and assuring the future for its members. In
1993 PUA's old home office at 761 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo,
New York, where generations of PUA members grew and developed,
was passed on to a responsible religious organization and
it continues to function as a community service center where
God, Country, and Fellow Man continue to be honored, respected,
and cared for.
in 1993, PUA opened a new Home Office at 4191 North Buffalo
Street in the Village of Orchard Park, New York, in a marvelous
former bank building in a prestigious Western New York location.
But within one year of opening the new Home Office in Orchard
Park, several banks exerted efforts to influence PUA management
to sell that building while at the same time increasing their
offers to a point where it was un-economical to refuse, and
the PUA National Board agreed to sell and the National Officers
negotiated a price slightly three times more than what PUA
paid for it less than two years earlier. Polish Union of America
consider this to be a providential blessing and a reward to
all PUA members. PUA National Board, through the efforts of
a search committee of dedicated PUA board and non-board members,
found their current location in West Seneca, New York and
again, the real estate transaction proved to be not only an
economic blessing but a more suitably functional business
office building in the center of present Western New York
Polonia into which PUA moved in May 1995.
Polska w Ameryce -- is a story of PEOPLE helping PEOPLE. It
is a story of fraternalism of thousands upon thousand of religious
Americans, born here, in Europe, and elsewhere, joining hands
to improve lives, and at the same time greatly contributing
to the wealth and success of our Free Nation by adhering to
and fostering the proud and rich Polish heritage and traditions.
Polish Union of America Products
Solution for Your Needs . . .
Because of inflation, statistics show your need for life insurance
protection has about doubled in the last ten years.
Presenting The PUA's New . . . Single Premium Ordinary
[Issue Ages 0-80]. Pay one premium only once and own this
plan for life!
enable you to get your money's worth and not be saddled with
a long period of premium payments, the Polish Union of America
presents the S-POL. A modern program based on the latest mortality
tables, PUA's Single Premium Ordinary Life is a cash value
insurance plan you can purchase with only one lump sum payment.
are no future premiums necessary.
permanent insurance you OWN for life.
the entire premium is available for cash or loan at the
end of the first year.
guaranteed cash value continues to increase each year
even though you pay no more premiums.
that may be issued after the 10th year can automatically
purchase additional paid-up insurance.
Polish Union of America, founded in 1890, is a Fraternal Life
Insurance and Benefits Society nationally headquartered in
West Seneca, New York. The PUA provides its members a full
array of current and competitive Life Insurance Plans, Annuities,
IRA's Orphan's Income Benefits, College Scholarships, and
Fraternal Activities - these include educational, cultural,
civic, sporting, religious, and social events.
of the PUA's programs are . . .
Life. The Standard Whole Life contract which provides
permanent protection, TAX-FREE CASH VALUE and dividends.
Minimum issue is $5,000 coverage. Ages 0-80.
Term. Maximum protection at LOWEST COST. Ideal for
those who would like a lot of coverage and who want to
save money. This plan has no cash value. Minimum issue
is $10,000 coverage. Ages 15-65.
An interest-sensitive program that combines Ordinary Life
Insurance and an Annuity Rider to build a solid retirement
fund which you cannot outlive. Minimum premium is $20
per month. Ages 0-55.
These plans, both single premium and flexible premium,
are always tax-deferred. They may also be tax sheltered
when used as an IRA and can help supplement income with
PUA's interest only product. Polish Union of America offer
annual yields which are periodically reviewed. These plans
provide Retirement Income which cannot be outlived. No
age limits. Minimum deposit is $50.00.
Term. Useful as a mortgage protection plan since coverage
decreases as the mortgage principal decreases. $5,000
minimum. Ages 0-65.
Payment Life. Ordinary Life payable for 20 years,
providing protection, cash value and dividends. Minimum
$5,000 coverage or $150 annual premium. Ages 0-75.
25. Juvenile Expanding Term to age 25 is perfect for
children, providing LOWEST-COST life insurance, guaranteed
insurability and eligibility for scholarship benefits.
$10,000 coverage for only $20 per year for males, $19
per year for females. Ages 0-23.
scholarships and home mortgages are available to members.
For further information, contact the Scholarship Committee
or the Treasurer.
about these or other new plans by calling your representative
or Lodge Secretary today, or call the home office at: 1-800-724-2782
P.O. Box 288,