Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ask a Former FBC

In the July 2014 issue of Viking magazine, we talked with former Sons of Norway Financial Benefits Counselor Sverre Aasgaarden. After nearly 30 years of working with members, Aasgaarden hung up his FBC hat in January 2014. But as a member of Bernt Balchen lodge in Pennsylvania, the Norway native still has plenty of advice to offer. Check out the article on page 10 of Viking’s July issue. Here is more from the interview.

Q: Tell us a little about your background. How did you come to the United States?
A: I was born in Norway—just outside of Tønsberg, which is 70 miles south of Oslo. I moved to New Orleans in 1978. I was working at that time for the Norwegian government Seamans service. I spent a couple of years in New Orleans, then ended up in Vancouver, BC. Sons of Norway then approached me. I’d been moving around the world for the past 20 years with postings in places such as Kuwait, Singapore, London, Rotterdam and Liverpool. I then ended up in New Orleans and Vancouver. I was looking forward to trying to settle down a little bit. It was a great experience moving around. Sons of Norway was an interesting proposition. I finally said yes and jumped right in.
No regrets.

Q: How old were you when you first came to the United States? 
A: 38 years old.

Q: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in Sons of Norway during your career? 
A: One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is actually in Viking magazine. It has taken a dramatic change over the years to become a very, very good magazine. The articles every month on the financial benefits are excellent. As an organization, I think we’ve become more structured, more all-inclusive. Today, we manage to reach a far bigger audience than we did in the past.

Q: Have you noticed a difference in what members request or need from you as a FBC? 
A: Members are more aware of what we do. We still have quite a ways to go there. We need more benefits counselors throughout the country to cover the lodges better. The counselors today do an excellent job of keeping the membership informed. But there are still some gaps in coverage throughout the country. Home office is doing a great job. One of the things we’ve always been very good at sons of Norway is to update insurance programs, and we are very competitive out there.

Q: Now that you’re retired will you continue to be active in your lodge? 
A: I’ll be active. I hold a couple positions in the lodge. I’m auditor, and I’m involved in the lodge’s scholarship program.

Q: Do you return to Norway very often? 
A: Every second year I try to make a trip. I have two brothers there.

For more information on Sons of Norway’s financial products, check out the Finance section in Viking magazine monthly and visit the “Financial Products” page of the Sons of Norway website.

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