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Zenith Insurance’s Marketing Move In California Is Pure Genius


Zenith Insurance’s Marketing Move Was Unique

Zenith Insurance’s marketing program angle involved showing how little they increased their rates. A few California Workers Compensation Insurance carriers have filed lower rates than what is recommended by California’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB).

No matter what the decision California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner issues regarding a mid-year rate increase, several workers’ comp carriers have ignored their recommended heavy increases. The new recommended number for the mid-year increases is 23.7% recommended by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.

California Zenith Insurance's Marketing emblem from web
(c) zenith insurance

Two insurance carriers increased their rates by only 10%. Zenith increased their rates by only 4%. Poizner cut 11 points off the Bureau’s after factoring out the State Fund’s results which is responsible for much of the increase in its current recommendation. As I have said in prior posts, July 1 will be a very interesting time for the Workers Comp market in California. Poizner has performed well in doing what is right without political influence.

I have read quite a few articles that questioned the very small increase by Zenith. Zenith has always had disciplined underwriting. The articles also mentioned that Zenith had poor financial results. Zenith wrote 4.26% of the California market, which was down from the 4.38% market share in 2007. The hallmark for how insurance companies are performing is A.M. Best. Zenith’s A rating was recently reaffirmed by A.M. Best. This means that Zenith knows what they are doing. An A-rated insurance carrier in this market is very solid.

Man Cupped Hand Zenith Insurance's Marketing Bar Graph

I think the articles missed one important point. The publicity around cutting their rate increases well below the market is great marketing for Zenith. They will also place themselves as an attractive carrier to place business with agents. Zenith has a very good group of underwriters, so this is not the proverbial toss at the dartboard.

Why is this so important? There are quite a few states with this same type of situation. South Carolina, for instance, had skyrocketing increases recommended for years and carriers undercut the recommended increases. West Virginia just moved from a monopolistic system to an open market. The State Fund may not be a monopolistic carrier, but it was close to one in the late 1990s. California is such a large amount of Workers Comp market that any major changes there affect the national statistics on Workers Comp more than any other state.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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