The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

January 29, 2013

Don't have health insurance? Start your own insurance company

NEW YORK — Sara Horowitz was born into a proud union family. Her father worked as a labor lawyer, her grandfather as a vice president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. So it felt like kismet when, on the first day of a new law firm job, Horowitz discovered that she and several other recent hires had been classified as independent contractors. "We weren't given retirement or health insurance benefits. We called ourselves 'the transient workers union,' and I was made president. We joked about it, but for me it was a significant aha! moment. I started realizing there was this whole new way that workers were being treated."

This was the inception of what has since turned into Horowitz's all-encompassing calling. Freelance contractors made up 31 percent of the American workforce in 2005, according to a GAO report, and that ratio is almost surely even higher today. As the freelance trend began to accelerate, in Horowitz's recounting, labor activists at first tried to cajole corporations into hiring all those independent contractors as full-time staff with benefits. But to Horowitz, it was clear this was a losing battle. "It would never make sense from the company's perspective," she says, "and we'd never have enough leverage." Instead, she envisioned a new strategy: She'd find ways to organize and protect freelance workers — in all sorts of fields — in the same way that classic trade unions provide safety nets for corporate employees.

This ongoing quest led to Horowitz's creation of the Freelancers Insurance Company, which now provides health coverage for close to 25,000 New Yorkers and is approaching $100 million in revenues. Along the way, Horowitz has received countless personal accolades. She was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 1999, and in December was named to the New York Federal Reserve Bank board of directors. What's her secret — how did she transform a goal into a successful battle plan?

Text Only
Top News
  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (with VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clinton Community School District 2013-2014 Wages

    Clinton Community School District 2013-2014 Wages

    July 24, 2014

  • techel.jpg Iowa man convicted of killing pregnant wife

    A jury convicted an Iowa man Thursday of killing his pregnant wife in 2012, rejecting his claims of innocence after the third trial in the case.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • RAGBRAI rider from Sioux City dies in Mason City

    A RAGBRAI participant from Sioux City has been found dead in his tent in Mason City in the second death during the weeklong bicycling event.

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Deliberations resume at Iowa man's murder trial

    Jurors will be allowed to review the video, but not the transcript, of an Iowa man being interrogated as they consider whether he's guilty of murder in the death of his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the iPad lost its swag?

    The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year.

    CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace.

    July 24, 2014

  • Health insurers owe Iowans nearly $1.8M in refunds

    The federal government says insurers owe Iowans nearly $1.8 million in refunds because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act.

    July 24, 2014

AP Video