The national setting of the UCC as well as some conferences and affiliated colleges are enjoying an unexpected windfall. According to UCC Chief Financial Officer William Morgan, it's money from the same stroke of good fortune that allowed the covenanted ministries to pay for a portion of the restructure of the church and amounts to $1.8 million.
It comes through stock shares issued to those ministries and associated groups when MetLife, the insurance company, changed its structure from a mutual company to a public company in 2000. For 50 years the church had been a policy holder of MetLife, offering long term disability and dental insurance to national setting employees, and employees and staff of other affiliated institutions that chose to participate in the plan.
Under provisions of a mutual structure, all those premiums resulted in part ownership of the company. When MetLife switched to a public company, it converted those mutual shares to public stock. In late 2000, 60,512 shares of stock were issued to those UCC institutions that had been policy holders. Each share was valued at $14.25.
The stock was placed in trust until its per-share value rose to $29.47, more than double its issue price, then was sold for the $1.8 million.
In total, the four covenanted ministries earmarked $839,311 of their stock sale for restructure costs.
For other bodies, the stock sale is like free money. Had MetLife remained a mutual company, no stock would have been issued. The Pension Boards is a big winner. Its 9,083 shares reaped $267,636 with the stock sale. Among the other various groups sharing in the windfall are the Florida, Massachusetts and New York Conferences; Huston-Tillotson, Lemoyne-Owen, Talladega and Tougaloo Colleges; and the Amistad Research Center.
Says Morgan, "It's nice to see folks benefitting from their relationship with the national setting, simply for being a partner with us in the insurance plan for all those years."
Lee Foley is director for administration with the UCC's Proclamation, Identity and Communication Ministry.