FUND History

In the mid-1970’s, the Florida market for workers’ compensation insurance was going through a very hard cycle. Many insurers were withdrawing from the market during this time, including the Florida Farm Bureau. Florida agricultural producers relied heavily on the Farm Bureau for their workers compensation coverage and the citrus industry was a major player in these coverage requirements. With the Florida Farm Bureau exiting the marketplace, a significant void was created for this mandated coverage.

In 1977 the Citrus industry was thriving and carrying the banner for the state of Florida as they marketed to the world, Florida Orange Juice and “the Sunshine State”. The industry’s need to find a solution for ecient and economical workers compensation insurance was a top priority. Under the auspices of the Florida Citrus Packers (a trade association representing the ‘fresh market’ segment of the industry) a study committee was commissioned to research options to address this challenge.

The outcome of the committee’s efforts was the recommendation to start-up a group self-insurance fund to meet theworker compensation insurance needs for citrus packers and those associated with the industry. The Fund would be based on the model successfully used by other business and industry sectors in the state.

“These innovative, Florida business leaders went into action and charted a path to solve the challenge of finding effective and reasonable workers compensation insurance by forming the Citrus Self-Insurers Fund.(CSIF)” stated FCBI CEO, Debra Cerre-Ruedisili. “The ongoing success of the Fund has fulfilled their vision”

In the mid-1970’s, the Florida market for workers’ compensation insurance was going through a very hard cycle. Many insurers were withdrawing from the market during this time, including the Florida Farm Bureau. Florida agricultural producers relied heavily on the Farm Bureau for their workers compensation coverage and the citrus industry was a major player in these coverage requirements. With the Florida Farm Bureau exiting the marketplace, a significant void was created for this mandated coverage.

In 1977 the Citrus industry was thriving and carrying the banner for the state of Florida as they marketed to the world, Florida Orange Juice and “the Sunshine State”. The industry’s need to find a solution for ecient and economical workers compensation insurance was a top priority. Under the auspices of the Florida Citrus Packers (a trade association representing the ‘fresh market’ segment of the industry) a study committee was commissioned to research options to address this challenge.

The outcome of the committee’s efforts was the recommendation to start-up a group self-insurance fund to meet theworker compensation insurance needs for citrus packers and those associated with the industry. The Fund would be based on the model successfully used by other business and industry sectors in the state.

“These innovative, Florida business leaders went into action and charted a path to solve the challenge of finding effective and reasonable workers compensation insurance by forming the Citrus Self-Insurers Fund.(CSIF)” stated FCBI CEO, Debra Cerre-Ruedisili. “The ongoing success of the Fund has fulfilled their vision”

The First Meeting Of The Fund Took Place At The Offices Of The Florida Citrus Packers, In Lakeland, Florida In The Spring Of 1977.

FCBI Fund Founding Board of Trustees

Edgar S. Beeland, Chairman – (Affiliation – Winter Haven Citrus Growers Association)
R.V. ‘Red’ Phillips, Secretary – (Affiliation – Haines City Citrus Growers Association)
Wilbur E. Barnes – (Affiliation – Dundee Citrus Growers Association)
Copeland D. Newbern – (Affiliation – Newbern Groves)
Frank E. Sullivan, III – (Affiliation – Sullivan/Victory Groves)

“As a third generation citrus grower, I watched as my father served the industry in a multitude of ways. His involvement as a founder of this Fund was just one example of the many vertically integrated services these early pioneers championed to solve a challenge in the variety of different businesses they were involved in building, said John Minton, Board Member and 40 Year FCBI policy holder. Their tenacity and internal fortitude to create a life for their families and the next generation are the foundation of Florida’s economy.”

In its early years, the Fund filled a very important need for the citrus industry by providing access to this mandated insurance product while other carriers were fleeing the marketplace. With the discovery of citrus canker in Florida in the early 80’s in combination with a series of three devastating freezes (in ’83, ’85, and ’89), the dynamic structure and broad based foundation of the Florida citrus industry was unalterably changed. Many of the companies that represented the base of the Fund’s membership are no longer in business.

CSIF had a solid dividend history year-to-year for its participants. The market was growing more challenging however and in the mid-90’s as more and more of the traditional self-insurance funds in Florida converted to insurance companies with the ability to offer non-assessable products, the Fund was witnessing an erosion of its base of business. Many of the Fund’s early and long standing members went searching for what they believed to be a more financially secure product for the companies.
they represented.

In The Late 90’S, As The Fund’s Premium Base Continued To Diminish And As The Board Looked Strategically To The Future, They Were Faced With Challenging Decisions That Would Impact The Future Of The Fund.

An opportunity presented itself to the board at this time to contract with FUBA. FUBA, a member based association which had previously been affiliated with a group fund for a number of years, had sold their book of business to a carrier/TPA and closed down their fund several years earlier. They did so with the assurance that their small-companies base of members would continue to have access to worker compensation insurance from this acquiring carrier. However, after a couple of years, the commitment from the acquiring carrier was no longer being honored and FUBA was facing the loss of its market to provide for its members’ workers compensation needs.

FCBI was looking for an opportunity for additional premium and the ability to expand to other industries. FUBA needed a source of workers compensation coverage in order to retain its association membership.

In 1999, the Fund changed its name to the Florida Citrus, Business & Industries Fund (“FCBI”) and through an agreement with FUBA, expanded its underwriting guidelines to encompass a broader range of general business, including retail establishments, the construction industry, service industry businesses and others. The agreement served both entities and with the help of a very favorably-timed legislative revision of the workers compensation laws in Florida in 2004, the Fund was able to grow the premium base significantly in the mid-2000 decade.

While the Funds demise was predicted by many because of the Board’s decision several decades earlier to continue operations in Florida as a group fund (rather than seeking to convert or closing down the fund), FCBI has not only survived, but has successfully grown its membership, built strong premiums, maintained a strong surplus and paid good dividends in a very competitive marketplace.

“As the construction industry in Florida continued to ourish and expand its need for the various size contracting companies to fulfill the demand in the workforce, the opportunity for these smaller core construction firms that met the thorough underwriting standards of the Fund was a win for both the companies and the Fund.” said Jeff Jennings, FCBI board member reecting on the expansion of the Fund’s client base.

Through the agreement with FUBA, they have marketed the FCBI Fund to their agent partners as FUBA Workers Comp. Effective April 1, 2018 FCBI will bring the marketing and underwriting functions in house and will utilize the strong reputation of the Funds 40 year history to transition the marketing of their product going forward under the FCBI name. “Our companies, Riverfront Packing Co., and Gulfstream Harvesting have been working with FCBI for the past 30 years. We have always been extremely well served by them. They have great financial stability and a focus on providing the best coverage and service in the industry.” Said Dan Richey, Managing Partner, Riverfront Packing Co. “They make the effort to understand our industry and stand by us at all times.” A pioneering spirit, independence and commitment to success, along with a can do attitude, have been the hallmark of the Florida citrus industry for well over a century. These same characteristics drove the development of the Fund and through tenacity and dedication to individuals in the work place, the Fund has flourished and protected thousands of Florida citizens.

“The business operations of the FCBI Fund stand solid on the strong foundation built by our founders and we move to the next 40 years with great excitement and anticipation of broadening our reach while we continue to protect individuals in the work place throughout the state of Florida”Said Gap Kovach, FCBI Board Chairman.

The past growth and success of the Fund, as well as plans for the future, encompass many other leading business sectors in our state, that include, but are not limited to, the construction industry, service industry, automotive industry, retail industry and agricultural production.

FCBI Fund Board of Trustees and Executive Team

Front L to R: John Minton – Vice Chairman, Dan Richey – Trustee

Back L to R: Jeff Jennings – Trustee, Sam Oswald – Chief Financial Officer, Debra Ruedisili – Chief Executive Officer,
Gap Kovach – Chairman, Jim Emerson – Trustee

Your workers' compensation solution

FCBI Celebrates 40 Years!

Under Construction

THE NEW BUSINESS SUBMISSION PORTAL HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY DISABLED.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. But, all new business should now be sent to submissions@fcbifund.com. 

Kindly remember to include the loss runs and a completed Construction Operations Supplemental, if applicable, with your new business email. We look forward to receiving your submission and thank you for your business!