UNA National Secretary Yuriy Symczyk was unanimously elected to the position on November 18, 2016, due to the unexpected passing of Christine Kozak, national secretary of the Ukrainian National Association since 2002. The following annual report prepared by Mr. Symczyk outlines the status of operations and highlights various initiatives that have been taken on throughout the report period, January 1, 2016, to December 31, 201,6 which includes Ms. Kozak’s tenure.
UNA Champions Clubs
Lubov Streletsky was the champion of the 2016 “Club of UNA Builders.” Mrs. Streletsky is an advisor on the UNA General Assembly, a fraternal agent, Philadelphia District chairperson and secretary of UNA Branch 10. During 2016 she brought in 17 new members and sold life insurance with face value of $865,500.
The top three branch secretaries/organizers who brought in the most new members were Mrs. Streletsky (Branch 10) with 17 policies, Eugene Serba (Branch 173) with four policies, and George Fedorijczuk (Branch 162) with four policies.
The top three districts that brought in the most new members were Philadelphia with 31 members, New Jersey with 29 members and Chicago with 16 new members.
The top three independent agents who sold the most life insurance in face amount were as follows: Caron Clausen-Cohol ($400,000), Daniel R. Marcelain ($240,000) and John T. Wike ($167,500).
New life business sold during 2016 totaled 125 policies with a face amount of $4,520,154 and $122,033 in annual premiums. Of that amount, 41 life insurance policies were sold by branch secretaries for $1,578,000 in face amount and $26,981 in premiums. UNA Home Office employees sold 51 policies with a face value of $1,637,654 and $74,649 in premiums. Lastly, independent field agents sold 33 policies with a face value of $1,304,500 and premiums of $20,403.
As in past years, the UNA organized a membership drive. The 2016 drive started on April 1 and lasted through December 23. Only life insurance sales were taken into consideration. The competition is open to branch secretaries/organizers of UNA branches in states where the UNA is licensed to do business.
The following are winners of the drive:
• Lubov Streletsky, UNA advisor, Philadelphia District chairperson, secretary of Branch 10 – 2nd Level winner.
• Eugene Serba, UNA auditor, assistant secretary of Branch 173 – 1st Level winner.
• George Fedorijczuk, secretary of Branch 162, Philadelphia District treasurer – 1st Level winner.
Annuity business during 2016 totaled 56 policies with premiums (cash with applications) of $2,342,162. Of that amount, four annuities were sold by branch secretaries for a total of $8,000 in premiums. UNA Home Office employees sold 17 annuities with premiums of $1,129,593. Lastly, independent field agents sold 35 annuities with premiums of $1,204,569.
The UNA witnessed two significant changes to its annuity portfolio in the first three quarters of 2016. As planned, with the start of the new year on January 1, 2016, the UNA resumed operations in the annuity market after taking a planned hiatus in 2014 that continued through 2015. The approach to resuming operations was measured and cautiously planned. In order to manage a balanced annuity relaunch, the UNA designed the following annuity parameters.
• Annuity sales were capped at $5 million per quarter.
• A $75,000 cap was instituted on individual five-, seven- and nine-year annuities.
• The guaranteed rate on all new business decreased to 1 percent.
• The crediting rate on new business was set at 2.5 percent (five-year), 2.75 percent (seven-year) and 3 percent (nine-year).
• Crediting rates on existing five-, seven- and nine-year products were increased from the “minimum guarantee” rates to 2.5 percent (five-year), 2.75 percent (seven-year) and 3 percent (nine-year).
• Commission rates were decreased as follows: from 3.75 percent to 3 percent (five-year), from 4 percent to 3.75 percent (seven-year) and from 4.5 percent to 4 percent (nine-year).
The increased crediting rate on new business and existing five-, seven- and nine-year products could not overcome the negative aspect of lowering the minimum guaranteed rate on all new business to 1 percent and decreasing commission rates, as well as the two-year pause the UNA took from promoting new annuity business. Annuity sales were stagnant, and it was clear that revitalizing the once-thriving relationship with our independent field agents would take longer than initially anticipated.
In a second effort to improve our position in generating more annuity sales, on June 1, 2016, the UNA introduced new increased crediting rates.
• A $150,000 cap was installed on individual five-, seven- and nine-year annuities.
• The crediting rate on new business was set at 3 percent (five-year), 3.75 percent (seven-year) and 4 percent (nine-year).
During this report period, annual district meetings were held in Parsippany, N.J., on April 2, 2016, for the New Jersey District; in Warren, Mich., on April 10, 2016, for the Detroit District; and in New Haven, Conn., on April 23, 2016, for the Connecticut District.
Fall organizing meetings were held in New Jersey and Connecticut.
“Guide to Life”
To better market the UNA and its products, an informative publication, “Guide to Life” was prepared. It not only provides facts and figures about the UNA, as well as its benefits, but also provides concise explanations of insurance products and their value in establishing financial well-being.
In the guide, each UNA life insurance product is featured on a two-page spread that includes descriptions in Ukrainian and English, as well as a user-friendly rate chart. Using the chart, readers are able to easily calculate premiums for each UNA product. Additionally, since the UNA has received numerous requests for bilingual product descriptions, these can be especially valuable.
Besides reviewing life insurance and annuities in general, the “Guide to Life” is a comprehensive explanation of the value and benefits of turning to the UNA in particular for these products.
Single-Premium Whole Life
To mark Life Insurance Awareness Month, the UNA waived the $25 fee for all Single-Premium Whole Life policies sold from September 1, 2016, to December 20, 2016. The Single-Premium Whole Life policy is a simple product that can suit all ages, and waiving the $25 fee was an effort to help promote more sales. The promotion was advertised in the UNA’s publications, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, as well as Clifton Magazine, and was included in the monthly memo sent to all branch secretaries.
Lost policy locator
The State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance released order No. A16-116 requiring all companies that are currently authorized to issue life insurance policies and/or annuity contracts in the state to create and provide the department with a generic e-mail address specifically designated for receipt of missing policy or contract search requests from the department and/or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The UNA has created and provided the State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance with such an e-mail address and receives several lost policy requests on a weekly basis. The UNA follows the same procedure for several other states that have presented similar requirements, including New York and Illinois.
Paid-Up policy mailing
The UNA has conducted several mailings, specifically to paid-up policy holders, in an effort to update their contact information, as well as the contact information of their beneficiaries. Oftentimes, UNA staffers spend countless hours searching for beneficiaries or family members because the contact information was never updated through the years by the insured or the policy owner. When members call in to update their information, this also allows the professional staff to answer other questions they may have and potentially sell new policies.
American Fraternal Alliance
The Ukrainian National Association is a member of the American Fraternal Alliance. UNA Treasurer Roma Lisovich and National Secretary Yuriy Symczyk attended the 2016 American Fraternal Alliance annual meeting on September 8-10, 2016, which was held at the Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Both also attended the Board Institute Master Class on September 8, 2016, where they were able to engage in discussions on topics such as the board’s role in shaping the strategic direction of a fraternal society, strategic planning sessions, collaboration (between boards of other societies), and enhancing profitability and member service.
New Jersey/New York Fraternal Alliance
The New Jersey/New York Fraternal Alliance annual meeting was held on October 13-14, 2016, at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. As part of the annual meeting, elections were held for the board of directors. In an effort to further promote the UNA, Yuriy Symczyk was elected to serve on the board of directors. He has attended both board meetings since the annual meeting, the first being held on December 8, 2016, when he was asked to serve on the Youth Awards Committee.
The UNA mourns
The UNA mourns the following individuals.
• Christine E. Kozak, national secretary of the Ukrainian National Association since 2002, passed away on June 27, 2016, at the age of 62. She was the UNA’s top life insurance professional and one of three full-time executive officers.
• Stephan Chorney, secretary of Branch 401, who served our organization as branch secretary for 38 years, passed away on May 25, 2016, at the age of 92.
• Eugene Gulycz, secretary of Branch 12, who served our organization as branch secretary for 15 years passed away on November 5, 2016, at the age of 67.
May they rest in peace! Вічна Їм пам’ять!