As we near the end of the year, and I reflect on the progress of our company, I am reminded of a quote from Daniel Burnham, the American architect and urban developer whose projects transformed cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C. He said, "Make no little plans."
For over 90 years, Ullico has pursued the idea of protecting and growing the American labor movement, with products designed to provide innovative solutions for the union workplace. That’s no little plan. Every year our goal is to find the magic that fulfills our mission. In 2018, we continued to make real progress.
Our investment platforms had another outstanding year. The Ullico Infrastructure Fund (UIF), which not that long ago was only a big idea, really took off in 2018 with over $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), and almost $1.5 billion in commitments. UIF now has 11 investments in the U.S. and Canada. It recently joined a coalition to develop the newly announced JFK Airport Terminal One Infrastructure Project in New York that will put thousands of union members to work.
In the 1970s, Union Labor Life Insurance Company had an idea to use union pension funds to build projects that would create investment returns and jobs for union members. It led to the creation of Separate Account J, also known as “J for Jobs.” Forty-one years later, J for Jobs is still a big plan. This year, the Account closed $1.1 billion in new mortgage loans that were part of total financing on commercial properties that amounted to $2.9 billion. Those projects are designed to meet our goals of creating strong investment returns, and they created thousands of jobs and millions of work hours for union members and union contractors afford or couldn’t get it. Today, we still provide affordable life insurance, and our focus will remain on promoting the idea that workers and their families should always have access to the life insurance they require and deserve. The company achieved a record in new stop loss sales of $30.4 million in 2018. Furthermore, Union Labor Life issued over $4 million in policy dividends to health and welfare funds participating in one of the International Union Group Medical Stop Loss Programs.
While we are working to grow unions, we are also fighting to protect unions. We recently hosted a webinar to educate our insureds on the Janus decision by the Supreme Court, where union opponents argued against “fair share” agency fees. We are also protecting unions with our cyber liability policies, which grew 60 percent this year by policy count, and with our professional liability coverage, which protects unions, labor leaders, joint apprenticeship training committees, and fund trustees. Our mission of protecting unions and their members is another reason why we are labor’s own insurance company.
At Ullico, our success this year and every year comes from the efforts of a great workforce, talented leadership by our board of directors, and investors, consultants and brokers who believe in our mission. I promise you that we will continue to make “Big Plans” for a bright future for our company, and the labor movement. Happy Holidays!
Edward M. Smith
President and CEO
Left to Right: UAW Secretary Treasurer Ray Curry, Ullico President and CEO Ed Smith, and UAW President Gary Jones meet in Detroit to talk about advancing workers' rights.
Ullico supports the labor movement and its drive for workers’ rights. That means driving the right vehicles. Recently, Ullico created an incentive program to encourage employees to buy union-built vehicles. The program, which raises awareness and promotes the UAW Union-Built Vehicle Guide, is just one more way we stay consistent with our mission.