Louisiana-based LUBA Workers’ Comp is expanding in the Texas market.
The Baton Rouge company already provides workers’ compensation coverage to businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
“Steady, measured growth is important to us and diversifying geographically ensures long-term strength and stability for the businesses, agencies and communities we serve,” said Trent Bondy, vice president, director of sales.
While close to 280 insurers write workers’ comp coverage in Texas, the 25 largest firms account for more than 90 percent of the total, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. Total direct premium written for the Texas market was $765 million in the first quarter, and $2.9 billion for the 12 months ending March 31.
LUBA has moved cautiously to establish its Texas business. The company received a license in March 2013. Its first year, the company had close to $31,000 in premiums. In 2014, that number grew to about $159,000. By contrast, the company’s total 2014 premiums were $79.8 million.
Bondy said LUBA started in the Houston area but is also looking to add coverage in the Dallas and San Antonio areas. This would put LUBA in three of the 10 largest metro areas in the country.
LUBA wanted to make sure it found the right independent brokers and agents, people who fit with the company and its way of doing business, Bondy said. The company has purposely limited the number of agents and brokers it is working with. At present the company is offering coverage through nine agencies with 14 locations.
In Louisiana, LUBA has 70 agencies and more than 100 brokers. In Mississippi, the company has 15 agencies with about 40 brokers. In Arkansas, the company has about five locations.
LUBA is supporting its Texas agents and its customers by bringing in a complete claims department, with a comprehensive loss control team. The loss control team will help customers implement safety standards and procedures.
Bondy said the company expects its Texas numbers will increase as brokers and agents become more familiar with LUBA. But the company doesn’t expect Texas will overtake its Louisiana business any time in the near future.
Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter @tedgriggsbr.