In the construction trades, what do you do when there is no work? The answer for Ullico, 40 years ago, was to create your own work. It started out as a way to earn sound, risk- adjusted returns on union pension dollars, with the significant benefit of putting union members and union contractors to work via labor language requiring a 100% union workforce. The program was launched in the 70s, when unemployment in the trades was running in the double digits.
This year, we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ullico's flagship product, Separate Account J (J for Jobs). Since its inception, Separate Account J has closed over 500 loans, in excess of $16.5 billion.
We estimate that this activity created over 600 million hours of work, and 300,000 jobs for union members. Many thanks to all our investors and consultants who made this idea a reality, and to our portfolio management team who make it all work so well.
Looking back, Separate Account J was the groundbreaking idea that has paved the way for other investment products, such as, the Ullico Infrastructure Fund, all representing great vehicles to leverage the vast economic power of the labor movement by investing in itself. Happy Anniversary, J for Jobs! Let's have 40 more.
The best part is, while we are celebrating Separate Account J, our 90th anniversary, and all our legacy products that have stood the test of time, our success is founded in our ability to consistently bring new products to market. Products like our cyber liability insurance, which has tripled its policy count over the last year, meet the changing insurance needs of the union marketplace. All our products must meet our continuing standard of protecting, growing, and solving problems in the union workplace.
I want to personally thank President James Boland of the Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers, and a Ullico board member, for presenting Resolution 27 at the recently concluded AFL-CIO Convention in St. Louis. The Resolution, celebrating Ullico's 90th Anniversary, recalled its establishment in 1927 by the American Federation of Labor, with the express purpose to help provide financial security to working men and women and their families. It acknowledged the growth in the Ullico family of companies to include insurance products that serve to protect labor organizations, unionized employers, institutional investors and union members, and provide the investment platforms that are helping to sustain the labor movement. The Resolution also highlighted that two-thirds of the directors of Ullico are presidents or other senior officials of labor organizations affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and that we are the only labor-owned insurance and investment company. We are so proud to be labor's company.
The convention also provided a great opportunity for us to showcase our product line during a Lunch and Learn session we sponsored that was widely attended by delegates of the various unions represented at the convention.
Attending the convention, and seeing firsthand the energy and commitment of the delegates in attendance, reminded me once again of the incredible power of people coming together for a common purpose. The labor movement is alive and well, and we at Ullico are proud to be a part of it.
Edward M. Smith
President and CEO