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OUR STORY

Freelancers Union was founded in 1995 by Sara Horowitz to help the emerging independent workforce build solutions to the challenges of the new economy. From the start, access to quality healthcare has been one of freelancers' primary concerns.

That's why, in 2008, Freelancers Union founded Freelancers Insurance Company to provide New York's independent workforce with high quality, affordable health coverage.

This social-purpose company now provides freelancer-tailored coverage to more than 25,000 New York freelancers and their families. Since Freelancers Insurance Company is owned by the nonprofit Freelancers Union, we're able to focus on long-term sustainability and care over short-term profit.

In recent years, our members began telling us that their real need is not just coverage, but high-quality care that treats them as a complete individual. That's why we started Freelancers Medical — an innovative, no-copay primary care program that also offers free yoga, meditation, wellness classes, and health coaching.

Located in the Freelancers Union Halls in Brooklyn (408 Jay Street) and Manhattan (80 Maiden Lane), Freelancers Medical offers members access to a wide array of health benefits — not to mention free wi-fi in the waiting area (perfect for quick emails to clients).

The Freelancers Medical program proved so popular with our members that it is now integrated into every plan we offer (starting in 2014).

In concert with Freelancers Union's mission to empower independent workers, Freelancers Insurance Company will continue to innovate and evolve to meet the needs of the new workforce. This is what 230,000 independents united looks like.

FIC is based in Brooklyn, New York. It's run by a unique staff that comes from the fields of insurance, business, finance, communications, and technology, as well as a team of insurance and legal advisors. Many staff members have freelanced themselves, and we come to the office every day excited to do our best work to achieve our mission: providing sustainable, affordable, and portable health insurance coverage to independent workers.

Our Board is made up of executives from the private and nonprofit sectors that have a unique understanding of the needs of independent workers, some from their own experience freelancing. Representing the fields of insurance, labor, finance, and law, it's a group of committed individuals who are proud to serve on the Board of a company that's doing something altogether new in health insurance.

Our Board members aren't compensated, and don't profit financially from their work with FIC.

Board members

Sara Horowitz  is the founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union and CEO of Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC). A MacArthur Foundation "Genius" fellow, Sara has been a leading voice for the emerging freelance economy for the past two decades, recognizing early on the vital role that independent workers would play in our networked, interconnected world. She also recognized that one of the primary challenges facing these workers was the lack of affordable health insurance. So in 2008 she launched FIC as a social-purpose insurance company with the sole mission of providing freelancers with high-quality, affordable, and portable health insurance. FIC now insures almost 25,000 freelancers and their families in New York State, and Sara is constantly exploring innovative new ways to bring quality health care to this vital population.

Sara was named one of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes in 2011, one of the Top 25 Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs by Businessweek in 2011, one of Crain's New York's "25 People to Watch" in 2010, and one of 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow at the 2002 World Economic Forum.

Before founding Freelancers Union and FIC, Sara was a private practice labor attorney and union organizer with 1199, the National Health and Human Service Employees Union. She received her bachelor's degree at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where she was awarded its labor prize, and went on to earn a law degree cum laude from the SUNY Buffalo Law School and a master's degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a life-long resident of Brooklyn, NY.

John Baackes  is Chief Executive Officer of Senior Whole Health, a senior care organization created to satisfy demands of consumers, public payers, and private insurers for new approaches to the coordination and payment of health care services for the elderly. The result is significantly less reliance on nursing homes and acute hospital care for people who are elderly and poor. SWH was cited in September 2008 as the fastest-growing private company in the USA by INC magazine. Before joining SWH, John served as Senior Vice President of Group Health Incorporated of New York, President of Kaiser Permanente Northeast Division, and President of Community Health Plan in Latham, NY, which grew to a three-state operation under his direction. Since 1997, John has served on the New York Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Review Panel and is a frequent lecturer on managed care and government health programs.

Nancy Biberman  is co-founder and president of the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDCo). Since 1986 Ms. Biberman has been developing distinctively stylish public housing units for thousands of New Yorkers based on her belief that  “uplifting spaces transform; horrific environments degrade,” an operating principle that has evolved from years of representing indigent clients into a mission to achieve social change by creating structures that combine community support programs with high design standards.    Before co-founding WHEDCO, Nancy managed a $60 million, city-financed housing rehabilitation project with Catholic Charities. Prior to joining Catholic Charities, Nancy attended Columbia University’s School of Architecture and Planning with the help of a Revson Fellowship, during which time she developed a multigenerational housing plan for low-income tenants. Nancy began her career as a Legal Aid lawyer, and is a frequent contributor to publications on housing law and policy. Ms. Biberman has taught at Harvard University, NYU, and the City University of New York.

Ohad Folman  is the former founding Chief Information Officer for Freelancers Insurance Company and founding Chief Technology Officer of Freelancers Union. He has lived and worked in Israel, the United States, Africa, and France, with experience ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies such as BabyFirst TV and VIACOM/MTV Networks. In 2004, Ohad initiated Ghana's first government subsidized open-source certification program for software engineers. Ohad holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from the City University of New York, a Master in Interactive Communications from New York University (ITP), and Master of Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Hanan Kolko  is a union side labor and employee benefits lawyer, and a Shareholder and Director at the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. He represents clients before federal and state courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, and in arbitrations and negotiations.  He has served on the Board of Directors of the Freelancers Union since 2001 and as chairperson of the Freelancers Union Board since 2005. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and received a B.S. from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

David Landis  is a writer, editor and journalist specializing in finance and investing topics. He has been freelancing full time since 2001. A contributing editor to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, David has also written for The New York Times, BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal Online. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of the CFA Institute's Council of Examiners. Previously, David was a business and technology reporter at USA Today, a website developer for IBM, and an editor at TheStreet.com. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

Megan Mardiney  has been a member of Freelancers Union since 2002. She is Principal and Creative Director of The Mardiney Group, Inc., a boutique design agency located in downtown Brooklyn. The Mardiney Group specializes in corporate identity, branding systems, promotional materials, packaging and publication designs for a wide array of clients including American Express, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Condé Nast, and New York University. Prior to founding The Mardiney Group in 2001, Megan worked for: ENK International, a renowned fashion trade show producer as Art Director, establishing ENK’s first in-house design department; Vanity Fair Magazine as Art Director of the Promotions Department; and Element, an internet marketing research company serving as Creative Director. Megan holds a BFA from the Parsons School of Design, has served as an Honorary Judge for Billboard Magazine's "Billie Awards," and has received numerous design awards, including Folio Magazine’s prestigious “Folio Award.” Megan is also an active member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

Andrea Phillips  is a Vice President in the Urban Investment Group of Goldman Sachs with a focus on developing CDFI partnerships around access to capital for small businesses and economic development investing. She has over 20 years of experience in developing small business, workforce and community development programs. Most recently, she was a consultant providing strategic and operational planning services to a variety of public and private sector clients. Previously, Ms. Phillips was President of Seedco Financial, a $54 million Community Development Financial Institution(CDFI) which provides affordable capital to small businesses and non-profits in disadvantaged communities.

Prior to that she was Executive Vice President for Programs at Seedco, where she was responsible for developing strategies for and overseeing the implementation of all Seedco programs, totaling nearly $50 million in funding annually. Prior to her time at Seedco, she served as Deputy Director for Research and Evaluation for New York City’s Victim Services Agency and as a Program Director at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

Ms. Phillips holds a BA from Tufts University and a MA in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Freelancers Insurance Company is a for-profit insurance company owned wholly by Freelancers Union, a nonprofit membership organization. It launched with the help of $17 million in loans and grants from leading philanthropic organizations and socially-conscious investors.

Funders include the Rockefeller Foundation, the New York State Health Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Partnership Fund for New York City, the Prudential Social Investments Program, and the Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Our biggest investor and sole shareholder is Freelancers Union.

ford-foundation         nyshffreelancers-union-logopfnycRobert Wood Johnson FoundationPrudential

              

Rockefeller Foundation