Consolidation is a major consideration for NORCAL Mutual Insurance Co., “whether it’s physicians joining larger groups, agents being acquired, or companies like ours taking advantage of M&A opportunities,” according to President and CEO Scott Diener.

This article is part of a Wells Media Team report on mutual insurance company challenges.

Wells Media editors Andrew G. Simpson, Stephanie Jones, Amy O’Connor and Elizabeth Blosfield spoke with top mutual executives for their views on growth and related hard and soft issues.

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“We don’t want to grow for growth’s sake but rather when it makes good long-term business sense and ultimately is in the best

NORCAL Mutual is the eighth-largest medical malpractice liability insurance carrier, and acquisitions have been a major part of its expansion. Surplus in 2015 was $670 million, while direct written premiums were $315 million, up from 2014 ($293 million) and from 2013 ($285 million). Policyholder count went from 25,600 in 2013 to 27,736 in 2015.

Diener shared these thoughts on dealing with industry challenges:

Growth

“No question the continued soft market presents a challenging environment for premium growth opportunities. We have benefited from strategic acquisitions and partnerships in the last two years, which have strengthened our geographic expansion and supported our premium level while still allowing us to maintain our focus on our policyholder-owners.

Scott Diener

“M&A has been part of our strategy for the past several years, and we have been very fortunate to solidify partnerships with extremely strong and well-respected companies. At the end of 2015, we acquired FD Insurance and established a much stronger presence in the Southeast. We kicked off 2017 announcing our partnership with PPM, a specialty insurer in the anesthesia space, through the acquisition of PPM Services.

“We don’t want to grow for growth’s sake but rather when it makes good long-term business sense and ultimately is in the best interests of our policyholder-owners.”

Talent

Diener believes that NORCAL’s exclusive focus on policyholder-owners’ best interests is an appealing aspect of the company’s value proposition to entry-level and mid-career employees.

“No question younger talent is interested in purpose and values, and we feel strongly about our values—accountability, urgency, etc.—as the foundation of our company, as well as behaviors that support and shape our culture.”

Contributor

Amy O' Connor, Wells Publishing

O'Connor is associate editor of MyNewMarkets.com.