History of the Accident Benefit Association

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The Accident Benefit Association was organized in 1891 and incorporated on December 12, 1898. A final name change to American Postal Workers Accident Benefit Association occurred on September 5, 1972.

Imagine spending your working hours speeding through the countryside in a box-car sorting mail, trying to read the addresses while being jostled from side to side with the motion of the train. Then you hear the series of blasts on the whistle which lets you know you're approaching the depot where the train will slow down and you must reach out of the box-car doorway and hang the sack of mail on a hook. Hopefully you will get it right on the first try and avoid hooking your thumb, finger, arm or your sleeve and get pulled out the door onto the tracks.

This is what the Railway Mail Clerks faced daily. There were not many insurance companies willing to insure workers with such high accident risk. Postal Workers decided to get together and each gave $5 (which in the late 1800's was a considerable amount of money) and set up their own corporation. The National Association of Railway Postal Clerks was incorporated under the laws and statutes of New Hampshire on December 12, 1898 and formally opened for business on December 14, 1898 insuring members and potential members for accidents.

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Today, members can also enroll their spouse in the ABA. While benefits have continued to increase, ABA dues have not increased since 1979. Membership in the Accident Benefit Association numbers over 83,000.

"The object of the ABA is to provide a fraternal association for the benefit of its members and their beneficiaries, and not for profit; to make provision for the payment of benefits to its members and their beneficiaries in case of accidental death, or disability as a result of a covered accident; to promote closer relationship among its members and to aid and assist the officers and members of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, wherever and whenever possible."