There are many reasons to join a trade union if you qualify for membership – but one which may not always readily spring to mind is for the potential discounts they bring – particularly via insurance premiums.

What’s more, qualifying for discounted insurance via a trade union shouldn’t really prick the consciences of those who believe in the trade union movement for purely altruistic, collective reasons. That’s because the insurers offering discounts to trade union members are mutual societies whereby there are no dividends paid to private shareholders. Instead, all proceeds are reinvested into the collective pot for the mutual benefit of all society members – which is where the term mutual society comes from. In other words, this is exactly in keeping with the philosophy behind trade unions.

For example, NASUWT, Unite, Usdaw, CWU and RMT members are just some of the trade union members who qualify for deeply discounted home, car, pet, and travel insurance via UIA Insurance. UIA is a mutual insurer with over a century’s worth of experience in providing insurance to members of qualifying trade unions and certain other not for profit organisations.

This creed is also carried through to the way the company tries to do business. Its customer service representatives give clients the time they need on the phone as there is absolutely no pressure placed on them to keep phone call times short, for example.

Similarly, UIA will only work with insurance partners or suppliers who share similar values rooted in the trade union / mutual society movement.

If all insurers were run this way (and many other organisations for that matter) the world would be a happier and much calmer place to be and to do business in. But until that happens, trade union members may as well benefit from cheaper insurance and if you’re thinking about joining a union for which you qualify, but haven’t yet taken the plunge – this may be the only final encouragement you’ll need.

And it’s surprising just how many people do qualify for membership. Unison, for example, is the UK’s largest public-sector trade union and has over 1.3 million members; all of whom qualify for discounted insurance via UIA. And as part of the deal with Unison and other unions, UIA has to agree to encourage union membership for its own staff – and to support the unions’ branch networks and campaigns etc., so it really is all about mutual benefit.