Travelers West Virginia Workers Comp
The State of West Virginia added in a new major player to its workers comp market. I have read a number of recent articles concerning the loss of insureds by Brickstreet over the past few months. Brickstreet had been the monopolistic carrier for West Virginia Workers Compensation (including governmental agencies) for the last three years.
Before Brickstreet started writing policies, West Virginia was a monopolistic state for Workers Comp. Their fund was in terrible shape. After examining their fund numbers, I would say no one person or entity was to blame for their Workers Comp crisis. This same situation happened in other monopolistic states – the market needed to be a free open market.
The marketplace in West Virginia is now wide open as of July 1 for all carriers that have registered to write coverage in the state. Surprisingly, I had not picked Travelers as being one of the dominant carriers in the state. I had predicted that AIG would be the dominant carrier as of now due to the carrier’s experience with coal companies.
I had predicted they and other Workers Compensation insurance companies would take a wait and see attitude towards writing business there. I had picked two main carriers that I had thought would price coverage lower to get their foot in the door. I admit I was wrong.
Travelers is willing to write the Workers Comp coverage to almost all industries at last year’s renewal price. This is usually cheaper than all other bidders. Aggressive underwriting in a state is not necessarily a gamble. However, it can backfire on a carrier if they are just wholesale writing coverage for every business. Travelers may be heavily pursuing certain industries. I do not think they are “cherry-picking” certain accounts. See Today’s Worker’s Comp Term Of The Day for more on cherry-picking.
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West Virginia was open to all Private Carriers on July 1, 2008. On July 1, 2010 Private Carriers are allowed to write Government agencies.