While most organisations charge membership fees, Australia’s largest motoring cooperative Capricorn Society is doing things very differently, paying its members a record AUD 71 million in the 2021 financial year.
Capricorn Society is the parent company of ICMIF member Capricorn Mutual: a non-profit mutual established to provide Capricorn Society members and their associates a competitive alternative to insurance. Capricorn Mutual offers market leading protections tailored to the motor trades industry.
For the first time, eligible members with risk protection provided through Capricorn Mutual shared in an AUD 6 million “Loyalty Rebate” in 2021. This unprecedented rebate rewarded members who have been with the mutual insurance company for three years or more.
Formed in 2003 exclusively for members of Capricorn Society, Capricorn Mutual is a discretionary mutual and unlike an insurance company, operates as a non-profit entity solely for the benefit of its members. As a discretionary mutual, the Board of Capricorn Mutual exercise a number of discretions including membership admittance, scope of protections and claims decisions.
As part of the record AUD 71 million paid back to Capricorn Society members, AUD 15 million was from the Trade Volume Rebate, distributed in proportion to members’ use of their Capricorn trade accounts.
The massive lump-sum payment represents a direct return of profits in what was another successful year for the cooperative. It is the fourth consecutive year that the Trade Volume Rebate has been paid to Capricorn members.
Capricorn Group CEO, David Fraser, said the record returns were a testament to the strength of the cooperative. “This time last year I was talking about how being part of a cooperative can help our Members persevere through the pandemic. A year later we’re still all living with COVID-19 and the uncertainty it brings, but another year of record returns makes it absolutely clear just how much better off you are as a Capricorn Member.
“With more than 2,700 new Members joining us in the last year alone, I am confident these returns will continue to grow along with Australasia’s largest automotive cooperative, Capricorn.”
Capricorn Members also received an additional AUD 38.5m throughout the year in reward points. The Capricorn Rewards program returns 1.5 points on almost every dollar spent through a Capricorn trade account, with every 100 points equal to AUD 1. This makes Capricorn Rewards one of the most generous rewards programs in Australasia. Members can choose to use their points to effectively discount their business expenses or redeem them for a range of merchandise and gift cards.
As shareholders of the cooperative, Capricorn Members also received a total AUD 17.5 million via a very healthy 7% fully franked dividend (representing a 10% return inclusive of tax benefits).