Workers' Comp Reform
Maine Employers' Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) is a private mutual insurance company that opened for business in January 1993 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018. Termed “a Maine Miracle” in an editorial published in the Portland Press Herald, MEMIC was, and remains, the keystone to the landmark 1992 reforms of Maine workers' compensation law passed by the Maine Legislature and signed by then Gov. John R. McKernan Jr.
Among the reforms, this legislation called for the creation of MEMIC as a private company that would serve as the guarantor of workers' compensation insurance for Maine employers. With its private structure and policyholder governance, MEMIC serves as a competitive force within the workers' compensation insurance market.
At its formation, the company's board of incorporaters set out to form a different kind of insurance company with a mission of “workplace safety, fair treatment of all workers and a strong Maine economy.”
One of the founding board members declared that MEMIC "should be a safety company that sells insurance." And so it is. Their philosophy of injury prevention engendered the creation of a company dedicated to workplace safety as well as compassionate care for injured workers. In that vein, MEMIC's founders stressed the creation of an environment where employers and employees would work together to help reduce injuries, control costs and improve treatment. This approach was a social contract.
When MEMIC opened its doors in 1993, it was one of fewer than 10 companies who were licensed to sell workers' compensation insurance in Maine. Injury rates were high and workers' compensation costs were the nation's highest.
Safety and Compassion Cornerstone
By creating a loss control department that stressed safety training, as well as launching an ongoing "Partnership for Workplace Safety" public awareness campaign, MEMIC helped lead the way to cultural change in Maine's workplaces.
The company's treatment of injured workers is another MEMIC hallmark. By working to resolve disputes between employers and employees, assuring appropriate medical care for injured workers and making timely payments for indemnity benefits, the company has become a leader in the area of medical case management and return-to-work strategies.
Since MEMIC's formation in 1993, lost-time injuries in its home state have been reduced by 50 percent. The overall cost of insurance in Maine has been reduced by about 60 percent. And, despite the fact that more than 200 insurance companies are now licensed in the competitive Maine market, MEMIC has remained the leader, insuring more than 60 percent of the state’s insured employers.
The company is a financial success, as well. At its inception, it was allowed to collect a unique capitalization fee from its policyholders. It was given 10 years to accumulate adequate capital but ended the fee after just five years, collecting $47 million. And, while the company was under no obligation to return this capital, in 1998 it began returning this capital to its policyholders. By 2001, MEMIC had approved the return of the entire amount to all eligible policyholders and then began issuing annual dividends. By 2018, the company had issued dividends and capital return of more than $263 million to its policyholders.
Best Workers’ Compensation Company in America
MEMIC's success has earned it accolades and recognition from a host of organizations. In 2010, the company earned attention as the best commercial insurer in the nation for its customer service. In 2018, ACORD (the global standards-setting body for the insurance industry) ranked MEMIC the top workers' compensation company in the U.S. based on strong financial performance as well as measurable, superior capabilities in customer experience, employee satisfaction and brand reputation. In addition, the company’s senior management is well-known in the industry, earning frequent attention in insurance and business publications nationwide.
Far Beyond Maine...Down the Eastern Seaboard
The company continues to grow. In 2000, MEMIC formed MEMIC Indemnity Company, a subsidiary based in Manchester, New Hampshire. Today, MEMIC Indemnity Company is licensed to serve employers in 46 states with a focus on territories across the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Florida. In 2012, MEMIC acquired a Vermont-based insurer and created MEMIC Casualty Company to provide greater flexibility in pricing. Together the companies form The MEMIC Group, with assets in excess of $1.4 billion.
The MEMIC Group and its individual components, including Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC), MEMIC Indemnity and MEMIC Casualty Company are rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best. In addition to its corporate office in Portland, Maine, the group maintains offices in Manchester, NH; Glastonbury, CT; Albany, NY; Weehawken, NJ; West Conshohocken, PA; Tysons Corner, VA; and Tampa, FL.
In 2016, the premium written outside of Maine exceeded its instate writings. MEMIC remains the largest and leading workers’ compensation insurer in Maine and is among the top five carriers in New England. It also holds the distinction as the fastest growing writer of workers’ compensation in New York.
MEMIC’s reputation as an innovator in workers’ compensation also continues to grow. In 2008, MEMIC became the first company to introduce Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) as an endorsement to its workers’ compensation policies. Thousands of MEMIC policyholders have adopted MEMIC EPLI giving them protection from lawsuits such as wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to employ or promote, sexual harassment, and discrimination related to gender, age, race or disability.
In 2012, MEMIC introduced a partnership with Preferred Mutual Insurance Company and its agents as workers’ compensation partners. In addition, the company’s roll out in 2011 of Comp-As-You-Go, a payroll-based payment method, as well as online billing, have proven popular with its policyholders.
The company's innovative spirit and mission will continue to distinguish it among its many competitors as well as within the independent agency force on which it relies.
MEMIC: A Maine Miracle
By Susan Dudley Gold, this book celebrates the accomplishments of MEMIC over the past 20 years.Download