Some of our members have contacted us with questions about the upcoming launch of Freelancers Insurance Company, Inc. (FIC). I'll be using the blog to update you on any new developments, and to address some of the points that people raise.
FIC was set up as a for-profit company because insurance companies are not eligible for tax-exempt status. But even though it is a for-profit company, FIC was created to advance Freelancers Union's mission. Freelancers Union is FIC's sole shareholder. This means that Freelancers Union can control the direction of FIC to ensure it meets our members' needs. And any profits FIC may generate will go to Freelancers Union, where the money will be used to support our programs and benefit our members. No individual will receive any FIC profits. That is why leading philanthropies such as the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations provided substantial funds to Freelancers Union for the express purpose of creating FIC.
Yes, unfortunately and unavoidably there are increases in the rates for your 2009 plans. However, rates would have increased on our existing plan as well and we believe the new premiums are significantly less than they would have been otherwise. Based on the research we've done, FIC's rates will be lower than comparable plans offered by commercial insurance carriers, and over the long haul, the trajectory for rate increases will be significantly less than if we had continued to operate at the mercy of a commercial carrier. Furthermore, this model gives us control of the features of our plans and flexibility in how we continue to operate.
While our phone lines have been significantly expanded, we appreciate your patience as we work through the large call volume to individually address your concerns over the coming days and weeks. We want to be sure we give all our members an opportunity to get answers to any questions they have, and, in the next couple of weeks, I will be hosting a conference call in which any member can participate. When we have a date and time set, we'll be sending details on how to register. In the meantime, answers to some of your concerns may be found in the FAQs on our dedicated page.