Life insurance has been sold in the U.S. since the 1760s, but not until 1927 was a solution created specifically for union members, by union members. Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor, and Matthew Woll, then president of the Photo Engravers Union, worked to create this solution – The Union Labor Life Insurance Company (Union Labor Life). Their mission was to create an insurance company to offer life insurance to union members.
For organized labor workers, employee life insurance was not a common benefit offered by employers at the time, particularly in riskier, more hazardous union occupations. Union Labor Life successfully provided American union workers a new level of protection.
A life insurance policy has long been a valuable asset to working families seeking to protect themselves against financial strain in the event that a family's income provider passes away. In fact, Matthew Woll, who served as the first president of Union Labor Life, wrote in the company’s 1930s annual report: "There is nothing new in the statement that if I put $10 in a bank and die tomorrow my family will get $10, while if I put the same money in a life insurance company and die tomorrow my family may get as much as $2,000."
In 2017, a member who pays $100 yearly toward a 10-year term life insurance policy may receive a death benefit as large as $25,000 to $50,000, depending on their age and other factors. Times have certainly changed since 1927, but the need for family and financial protection has not.
Health benefits provided by union Health and Welfare plans remain strong and take care of many of the medical expenses faced by members. While group or employer-paid life insurance is a welcome benefit, it may only be enough to cover the expenses of a funeral, with little money left over to go to the family. Many workers require additional individual or group life insurance coverage. Past and present, Union Labor Life has been the insurance company that is there to protect union members.
Today Union Labor Life offers life insurance directly to union members. On www.unioncare.com, the physical presence of a licensed agent is not required. Union members can visit the site, at their convenience, to access member-paid group plans or individual policies for life insurance coverage.
In times of economic upheaval, Ullico has been a steady hand that focuses on labor’s needs. Over the years, the company has responded to those needs and developed the products to fill them. When the labor market found itself without viable solutions for life and health insurance, workers’ compensation, fiduciary and union liability insurance and investment products, Ullico stepped in to help fill the void.
Celebrating 90 years of providing life insurance to union members, Union Labor Life looks forward to meeting to the future of providing financial security and stability for unions, union members and their families to rely on.