After two decades of offering insurance to UCC churches and institutions through other insurance companies and brokers, the UCC Insurance Board now has formed its own subsidiary insurance company, United Church Insurance Company.
"Now we can serve the church better," says Michael A. Downs, UCC-IB executive director. "We can expand our presence in a deliberate way to include church institutions such as retirement housing and educational institutions."
Downs says that as of Jan. 1, the UCC-IB will be able to offer broader coverage at the best possible cost "because we can go directly to insurance markets and effect savings. That will allow the church to have more money for mission."
All this became possible when the state of Hawaii licensed the UCC Insurance Board as a "captive" insurance company, that is, one licensed to provide insurance in all 50 states only to UCC- and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)-affiliated churches and institutions. The UCC-IB board of directors selected Hawaii as the "domicile" for its captive insurance company after a comprehensive feasibility study.
"This has been my dream since the early '80s, to have our own insurance company," says the Rev. Ralph Qhellhorst, Ohio Conference Minister and President of the UCC-IB board. "We can control our own destiny, not working at the whims of for-profit companies, but working to help our congregations as our first objective."