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General Laws

Section 23. Every society authorized to do business in the commonwealth shall issue to each benefit member a certificate specifying the amount of benefits provided thereby. The certificate, together with any riders or endorsements attached thereto, the charter or articles of incorporation, the constitution and by-laws of the society, the application for membership, and declaration of insurability, if any, signed by the applicant, and all amendments to each thereof, shall constitute the agreement, as of the date of issuance, between the society and the member, and the certificate shall so state. A copy of the application for membership and of the declaration of insurability, if any, shall be endorsed upon or attached to the certificate.

All statements purporting to be made by the member shall be representations and not warranties. Any waiver of this provision shall be void.

Any changes, additions or amendments to the charter or articles of incorporation, constitution or by-laws duly made or enacted subsequent to the issuance of the certificate, shall bind the member and the beneficiaries, and shall govern and control the agreement in all respects the same as though such changes, additions or amendments had been made prior to and were in force at the time of the application for membership, except that no change, addition or amendment shall destroy or diminish benefits which the society contracted to give the member as of the date of issuance.

Copies of any of the documents mentioned in this section, certified by the secretary or corresponding officer of the society shall be received as evidence of the terms and conditions thereof.

A society shall provide in its constitution or by-laws that if its reserves as to all or any class of certificates become impaired, its board of directors or corresponding body may require that there shall be paid by the member to the society the amount of the member’s equitable proportion of such deficiency as ascertained by its board, and that if the payment be not made it shall stand as an indebtedness against the certificate and draw interest not to exceed five per cent per annum compounded annually.

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