Posted on 07 Oct 2010
Founded in 1979 by Roy Thompson and Greg Thompson, THOMCO is a program administrator that today offers more than 20 national target programs and writes about $165 million in premiums. Headquartered in Kennesaw (metro Atlanta), Georgia, with offices in Denver and Kansas City, the company has about 108 employees. THOMCO underwrites on behalf of four major insurance companies: Zurich, Renaissance Reinsurance Company, Meadowbrook Insurance Company, and American Safety Insurance.
We spoke with Greg Thompson, Chairman and CEO of THOMCO, about the company’s history and several of its programs in key growth industries. Greg also provided insight on THOMCO’s overall philosophy and its commitment to continually develop new programs and expand the programs in niches where they already have a significant footprint. Greg joined his father Roy at THOMCO in 1979 as its first full-time employee following two years in New York with Marsh and McLennan.
“Our history in program business started with the development of a strong national Childcare Choice Insurance program we put together in the late ‘80s,” says Greg. “We’ve also been a major player in the Senior Living space and are excited about the industry’s potential as it is one of the fastest-growing sectors in America due to our aging population and the fact that the elderly of today and of the future are less likely to live with their children. Home health agencies and senior living agencies will be providing more services to more people, and we cover both these industries.”
THOMCO is also excited about the Medical Transportation arena, which entails both Ambulances and Para-Transit. “Again, because of the aging population this is a high-growth sector, especially Para-Transit where the need for transportation for the elderly and disabled is increasing.” THOMCO's Para-Transit Pro insurance program is for Non-Emergency Medical Transportation accounts that includes Para-Transit, Ambulette, Stretcher Van, Chair Car and Wheel Chair Van operations.
Additionally, THOMCO sees Medi-Spas as a growth industry, and has a program to insure the services they’re providing. “More and more spas are providing services such as Botox injections, microdermabrasion and other procedures that don’t fall under the category of plastic surgery but are way beyond what they have traditionally offered. Our plan is to be a leader in this arena and we’re well-positioned to do so,” says Greg.
Another area of growth is in the Inflatable industry, which includes moonwalks and inflatable slides for kids. “We provide cover for both indoor inflatable party centers and outdoor, which includes a wide range of exposures, such as mobile climbing walls. We believe that this industry, both the indoor and outdoor, will have real growth opportunities.”
Greg stresses that THOMCO always positions itself to be in growth industries and, if possible, those that are relatively new and not well known by the rest of the insurance community. “We want to make a splash in the industries we choose,” says Greg. Additionally, the company’s focus is on developing national programs as there are more opportunities and less risk involved than those that are regional. “With national markets you’re able to spread the risk and increase the ability to hit the premium goals that the program carriers are expecting from you.”
The diversity and the number of programs THOMCO has in different niches as well as the number of carriers with which it does business also provides a level of stability for the firm and its agency customers. “If something happens to one of our programs, whether it’s a significant spike in competition or an industry that has been negatively impacted because of the economy (for example, construction), we have multiple relationships, multiple programs, and the ability to spread the risk,” says Greg. “If one of our carriers decides to pull out of a market, we have other avenues with the rest of the companies with which we work. This makes us uniquely stable.”
Additionally, THOMCO is one of a few Program Administrators that has an actuarial firm [Milliman] conduct an annual external study of all its programs. “We do this in order to make sure that we’re making money for our company,” says Greg, “and to have all data in actuarial format accessible should we need to move the business. Providing this level of statistical sophistication today makes us very portable if we have to move a program.”
What also sets THOMCO apart is that it is 100% paperless. “We are highly automated with excellent state-of-the-art systems,” explains Greg. “All our files can be accessed via the Internet. We’re very efficient, and have a high revenue per employee. And because of our efficiency, we can provide better service than our competitors.”
THOMCO’s motto when it come to its people is “to be an employer of choice”, offering a package with excellent pay and benefits to our people, including paying non-senior management quarterly profit-sharing. “We set aside 15% of operating profits for them,” says Greg. “We expect a lot from our folks but we also try and give them a lot. We have people at all levels of the company with us for 10, 15, 20 and, in some cases, 25 years. This gives us a level of consistency and stability in this volatile industry, which frequently sees a lot of turnover at the insurance company level.”
When it comes to marketing, THOMCO does a great deal in this area. In addition to “being a big fan” of ProgramBusiness.com, the company has implemented SEO optimization and a cost-per-click strategy on the Internet.
“We also travel a great deal around the country to visit the bigger agencies and our better producers to develop and enhance our relationships,” says Greg. “Our underwriters have close ties with the producers and frequently get on a plane to visit our agency customers.”
For more information about THOMCO’s programs, please call Bob Scaglione, Senior Vice President of Business Development, at 678.327.5398 or email him at email@example.com.