Recently, I read an article that asked the question: What will be the legacy of your company? For Ullico, that answer is simple. We were born out of a specific need for the American union worker. We were created to provide life insurance to the union workers who were being denied access.
To this day, we are unlike any other company in America due to our ownership and the marketplace we still serve. Every product that we develop, and every product that we sell still has to meet the objective of that storied beginning. Our proud legacy is one that values workers. That instinct to value working people and the partnering employers who hire them comes naturally for us, because putting good people with good employers that provide fair wages, on safe worksites, with quality health insurance and retirement security is what the labor movement is all about.
Unfortunately, in today’s world where too often it seems like a race to the bottom, valuing the labor/management partnership is the exception rather than the rule. For us, valuing the union workplace is our core mission, and we do it in a variety of ways.
Today, Ullico is an incubator to find innovative solutions to the problems we face every day. For example, when the problem was responding to the need for Stop Loss coverage for Health & Welfare Funds under the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, we developed a unique approach to purchasing Stop Loss that rewarded purchasing power, while protecting the financial integrity of the funds. Now our challenge is to keep Health & Welfare funds strong and relevant, as the Affordable Care Act rollout continues to evolve. Along with responding to the legislative challenges we face as an industry, we also strive to mitigate the risks you endure every day when opening your union hall, opening your fund office or opening your place of business. At Ullico, our professional liability products are designed to protect unions, employer representatives and union leaders from the potential financial devastation caused by liability issues.
You see how we strive to respond and to protect; now we must grow. On the issue of job creation, we understand that putting union members and union contractors to work not only allows them to earn a fair wage to support their families, but construction projects also provide new opportunities for bringing new members, new contractors and new owners into the industry, thereby growing the labor movement.
At Ullico, as part of our legacy, we try hard to play a meaningful role in growing the union workplace. In just the last two years, Separate Account J (J for Jobs) and Separate Account W (WorkAmerica Fund) have participated in over $1 billion of transactions that will generate over 9 million hours of work—for example, projects like Pearl West in Portland, which we highlight in this issue. These investments help strengthen the economy for union members and partnering employers while providing a competitive fixed income return to our investors.
Additionally, Ullico Infrastructure Fund (UIF) just closed on an approximately $75 million investment in the Neptune Regional Transmission System (NRTS). The NRTS is a 65-mile transmission cable connecting New Jersey and Long Island, New York. This is another example of how pension fund assets can be used to solve the infrastructure challenges that we face. When investing in these types of infrastructure projects, it is our goal to generate a steady stream of cash returns over the long term horizon of these investments. Those types of returns are essential to matching the pension liabilities of our investors and ultimately meeting the pension obligations of these funds. We are excited about what the future holds for those investment vehicles and we know it is just the beginning of the impact we will have in the months and years ahead.
For over 85 years, the guiding philosophy of this Company has been to value the union workplace. That is our legacy and I promise you that every day we are working hard to honor that commitment.
Edward M. Smith
President and CEO