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FEATURE: Manchester Specialty Offers Integrated Approach to Home Health Care & Medical Staffing Industry

By Annie George

Posted on 16 Mar 2011

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Google's storefront Manchester Specialty Programs (MSP) was formed in early 2009 by experienced industry professionals to create a national platform for the administration, underwriting, and marketing of specialty insurance programs.  MSP’s first release was in early 2010 with a comprehensive national Home Health Care and Medical Staffing product written with an A+XV Best’s rated carrier Everest National Insurance. We spoke with President and CEO Bill Thompson about the company, its goals, and how it differentiates itself in the market.

Bill is responsible for overall program operations, development and carrier relationships. He’s been involved in the Home Health Care and Medical Staffing industry and specialty insurance programs area for over 25 years, and has actively developed national programs generating over 200 million in premium volume, working with carriers, brokers, prospects and associations. Lynn Vallee, Vice President Marketing and Program Development, has also been involved in the agency, carrier and specialty programs sectors of the insurance marketplace for 25 years. Her background includes expertise in program research and development, target account and association marketing, and national insurance program operations.

“Our main focus in forming MSP,” explained Bill, “was to build a good, solid infrastructure to handle all the operations needed (technology, administration, underwriting, rating, marketing) and to identify and develop products and programs that are profitable and make sense. We began with the Home Health Care and Medical Staffing program, an area in which we have extensive expertise, and partnered with Everest, a highly respected specialty insurance writer with a financial strength rating that is one of the best in the industry.

“What’s more, we’re actively looking at other markets within the program business space to offer the same level of benefits and services that we do in Home Health Care. Our longer-range focus is to add additional products and programs to our portfolio. We have a broad appetite with solid carrier relationships, and the experience and knowledge to create custom-design programs for specific classes.”

The Home Health Care and Medical Staffing program is written on an admitted (and non-admitted basis) with Everest with the forms and product specifically designed for the target classes. “We have not taken a generic approach with our program,” said Bill. “It’s targeted to the classes we’re underwriting with a great deal of flexibility in terms of the forms and customized coverages. Additionally, we offer an all-lines integrated coverage program with a single carrier [Everest] for this niche market.” Available coverages include: Professional Liability, General Liability/Products Liability, Fidelity Bond (Third Party), Property/Inland Marine, Owned Auto/Non-Owned and Hired Auto, Directors’ and Officers' Liability, Umbrella/Excess, and Workers’ Compensation.

“Having an all-lines program with one carrier makes it very efficient for brokers to do business with us,” said Bill. “They don’t have to go to two or three different markets for one account which can be challenging depending on the size of the account. It is a cleaner approach and also helps to mitigate the exposure for errors and omissions.

MSP is flexible in terms of account sizes – insuring everything from start-up firms with experience in the industry to the larger publicly traded companies. Eligible classes for the program are: Home Health Care Providers, Personal Care, Companion Care and Support Services, Visiting Nurse Associations (VNAs) Hospices, Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers, Medical, Hospital, Surgical Supply stores, Oxygen Equipment Providers, Infusion Therapy Providers, Pharmacies (closed shop), Nurse Registries, Travelling Nurse Companies, and Medical Staffing Firms.

The program has been carefully designed to accommodate the wide variety of SIC exposures and the way they overlap and co-exist in the marketplace. “Oftentimes you run into firms in this class that offer a mix of health care services, but not all insurance programs address all the exposures that may exist,” explained Bill.  “For example, you may have a home health care agency that also performs supplemental staffing for hospitals. Some of the insurance programs available may not write insurance for these staffing exposures. We do, which is a significant advantage for our agents…they’re not boxed in by the inability to adequately insure exposures that fall into illegible classes.”
Another benefit of the program is its direct-bill approach. “In many ways, the program is designed like a standard market making it easy for agents to facilitate their accounts. We offer easy paying options with no finance charges, not just for Workers’ Compensation, but across every product line, with very attractive installments for clients to be able to pay their premiums over the year.”

The Home Health Care and Medical Staffing program is open access to licensed agents and brokers countrywide, with MSP providing marketing assistance to brokers that are active with them. “We will work with producers to understand our target classes, the changing competitive landscape and what our strengths and weaknesses may be on a particular account,” said Bill. “We also provide brochures that can be co-branded with the agency name and contact information, and we can provide direction in terms of finding qualified prospects.”

When discussing the economy and soft market conditions, Bill stresses that MSP is looking to establish a solid reputation of responsibility, with a commitment to the long-term market. “We have seen over the years a pattern of carriers entering a market they see as emerging or growing (i.e. health care) without really understanding the business in terms of the nature of the tail and pricing as well as the services being provided. We see carriers get in because the business looks good and then after a couple of years when the claims begin to evolve some eventually pull back. We are succeeding despite market conditions because we understand the health care industry, have a commitment to it, and make it easy for the agent or broker to do business with us. We have centralized underwriting completely focused on the program, and offer all lines rather than a fragmented product line, which often helps us overcome any price deviation.  Brokers appreciate the simplicity of our approach, the transactional efficiencies gained in working with us in a ‘paperless’ environment, and the superb security they can offer to their clients with the carrier we have partnered with on our program.”

For more information about Manchester Specialty’s Home Health Care and Medical Staffing program, please contact Bill at 603-264-5486 or via email at, or Lynn at