Posted on 01 Sep 09
We’re highlighting ProgramBusiness Storefront Mid-Continent General Agency, a ProAssurance Company, based in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1975 by the principals of a wholesale broker in Texas, Mid-Continent is a niche MGA that primarily began offering a program to ancillary healthcare practitioners and entities associated with different hospitals. Over the years, Mid-Continent continued its Allied Healthcare Program, and added products for a number of classes. Additionally, Mid-Continent developed new programs for Social Services, Long-Term Care (Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Personal Care Homes), Small Hospitals, Misc E&O, and a Forced Placed Property and REO program for financial institutions and real estate investors. In early 2009, ProAssurance, a publicly traded company and the fifth-largest Medical Professional Liability insurer in the country, purchased Mid-Continent. ProAssurance primarily provides coverage for physicians and hospitals throughout the U.S.
In addition to the Houston headquarters, Mid-Continent has an office in Dallas, which handles its Miscellaneous E&O program, representation in Phoenix and Chicago for its E&O program, and an office in Nashville to service its forced-placed property/REO coverage.
Mid-Continent works primarily with wholesalers, and represents most of the major wholesalers across the country. It writes in all 50 states, including DC.
We spoke with Larry Keefe, Senior Vice President of Operations, who has been with Mid-Continent for five years and was National Sales Manager for the previous owner of Mid-Continent for over two years. Throughout Larry’s 32-year insurance career, he has held various positions on the carrier, wholesale, retail and MGA side, giving him a 360º operational perspective of what is needed and expected at every level.
“Earlier this year, we became a part of the ProAssurance organization,” says Larry. “We continue to be an MGA with the pen to write our programs, primarily on ProAssurance excess and surplus lines paper. With ProAssurance, we have access to additional resources in terms of IT, accounting, and other operational activities, so we can concentrate on what we do best…working with our brokers and wholesalers around the country,” continues Larry.
“As an MGA we strive to provide a quality product at reasonable prices. What is important, especially in this soft market, is to differentiate oneself from others. People in general push price, but we market our service, which is the best in the industry,” says Larry. He explains that this might be an easy statement to make, but backing it up is what sets Mid-Continent apart. “We stress that when we get a submission in the door, our underwriters know the turnaround time is expected to be between 48-72 hours. In speaking to our brokers and wholesalers, we know that this is better than the norm and, when you are in a soft market like this where price is king, you need to offer value no one else does. We think our service is the best in the industry in the classes of business with which we deal.
“We feel strongly that we won’t play the game in terms of perpetuating a mindset of “buying” business. It just doesn’t make sense in the long run. We feel very good about where we are positioned in terms of both a soft and hard market.”
One of the ways Mid-Continent provides excellent service is by being completely paperless. “Nothing comes and goes other than via email and attachments, which also speeds up the process,” says Larry.
Mid-Continent’s largest program is its Allied Healthcare program with its two largest classes: home healthcare and nursing/staffing, followed by the Long Term Care, Social Services and Small Hospital programs. “We provide an excellent form in terms of covering all the necessary exposures for these risks as well as top-notch in-house claims handling service,” says Larry. Mid-Continent in fact has its own claims director who has been involved with these classes of business for more than 20 years, bringing her knowledge and expertise to the playing field.
In addition to its core business, Mid-Continent is always looking to expand if the right opportunity comes along. “Three years ago we began our Misc E&O program and brought in a team to handle this program and work with those classes that are in need of Professional Liability coverage other than health professionals, such as insurance agents, real estate agents, home inspectors, and consultants. We also began our forced-placed property/REO program, which is underwritten with Lloyd’s for the property.”
Larry explains that they won’t begin a new program that is not related to classes of business written with the underwriters already in place. “One of our strengths is that all of our underwriters have extensive experience in the classes of business in which they work. We don’t try to establish a program for which we don’t have experience with our current underwriters. Anytime we start a new program, we make sure we have the staff that understands the business.”
ProAssurance is a great partner whose own business philosophy is in line with Mid-Continent’s objective of vetting out opportunities and being able to write new classes of business that help them diversify.
In terms of Mid-Continent’s marketing strategy, the company’s reputation and longevity is known in the industry. They work with more than 400 wholesalers in a variety of locations across the nation.
“We spend a great deal of time on the road with our wholesalers and brokers” says Larry. He and a team of underwriters get out in front of their brokers as much as they can to discuss what is going on and any changes. Additionally, they attend most industry conferences where wholesalers and brokers will be attending, such as PLUS, NAPSLO, and others on a regional and national level.
As a storefront with ProgramBusiness for two years, Mid-Continent regularly sends out email blasts. “It is a platform where we can reach a lot more people than if we do it ourselves. We try to get our name in front of people as much as possible,” reinforces Larry.
To learn about Mid-Continent and its programs, please visit www.mid-continentga.com, or the company Storefront. You can contact Larry at 713-965-6902 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.