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Something 'Tricky' Going on In California Workers' Comp?
By John Millrany - February 22, 2001

Citing "tricky marketing and regulatory issues" associated with Workers’ Comp in California, Royal and SunAlliance Insurance Group PLC, London, and Orion Capital Corporation, Farmington, CT, aren’t looking forward to much growth in WC business in the Golden State, according to an Orion spokesperson.

Since acquiring Orion Capital in November 1999, Royal & SunAlliance bounded into the elite property/casualty insurers in the U.S., size-wise, with approximately $3 billion in premiums and $3 billion in policyholder surplus, not to mention $100 billion in assets and authority to conduct business in more than 130 countries. The merger also improved the conglomerate’s size to the 13th largest American property/casualty insurer as well as the 13th largest commercial insurer.

As a concomitant in that growth, Royal/Orion assumed EBI Companies, one of the 15th largest WC underwriters in the nation. EBI’s basic tenets are impressive.

"…we believe workplace accidents are costly, preventable, and unacceptable in today’s environment," its company brochure states. "We are committed to eliminating all workplace injuries and illnesses through a ‘Zero Accident Culture’ and to providing the highest degree of medical care and rehabilitation services when claims occur."

The brochure goes on to say that EBI/Orion has the lowest 5-year loss ratio of WC insurers. Yet it remains to be seen if the company will flex its WC underwriting muscles in California.

"We’re definitely committed to Workers’ Compensation (business) on a national basis," the spokesperson emphasized regarding the restructuring of EBI, and while the company expects to increase its auto insurance sales substantially in California, that doesn’t appear to be the case vis-a-vis WC.


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