As MEMIC approaches its 25th anniversary, we look back with pride and satisfaction knowing what we have accomplished by working together, particularly in our home state, Maine. Our journey began in troubled times back in 1993 when the workers’ compensation system in Maine was badly broken. A new company was formed, MEMIC, and Maine’s employers and employees joined in a successful effort to turn the tide of failure into a story of success, a story that has been hailed as one of the greatest “turnarounds” in the history of American insurance.
Once we saw the results of MEMIC’s success in Maine, we expanded our operation by forming an additional company, MEMIC Indemnity Company, which is now licensed in 46 states as well as the District of Columbia. The experience of cooperation and partnership found in our Maine connections became readily transferable as we worked with new agents and policyholders, particularly along the Atlantic coastline. We learned a good lesson early on: Success in this business is achieved when all stakeholders unite in a common cause to improve workplaces, reduce injuries and bring down the cost of insurance.
Many will say that the issue is more complex than simply working together and they are correct—to an extent—but, the fundamental truth is that an unyielding commitment to a virtuous principle can be the catalyst for achieving the most challenging goals. The statistics in Maine prove that point as workplace injuries have been cut in half when we compare our current results to the mess we inherited back in ’93. It wasn’t just the MEMIC team getting the job done. It was also the employers and employees who spent countless hours in safety training workshops, investing in new and safer equipment, and creating a culture of “safety comes first!” As I’ve said before, we are all connected by the principle that safety is never an issue that can be compromised.
I offer this history knowing that I have stated my intent to retire from MEMIC later this year. In looking back, I can see clearly that we have made a difference in the lives of so many workers who have been spared the unnecessary troubles associated with an otherwise preventable workplace injury. Just in Maine alone, the numbers confirm that if we had not undertaken the change that occurred in 1993, tens of thousands of our state’s employees would have suffered a workplace injury. The numbers become even larger when we include our operations well beyond Maine which now account for nearly 60 percent of all business written by The MEMIC Group.
During 2017, we increased our new and renewal premium by 11 percent to $340 million, our asset base by 9 percent to $1.2 billion, and our net worth by 6 percent to $415 million. Impressive numbers to be sure, but they are the byproduct of the work we have done together in reducing injuries and driving down the cost of insurance. These financial results will increase in each succeeding year as our company’s commitment to safety is now firmly in place. Our efforts to increase education, awareness, and cooperation will continue and benefit our policyholders who share these same goals.
I have had the honor and privilege of serving in the role of President and CEO of MEMIC since our founding. My successor, Michael Bourque, has been my sidekick, of sorts, for the past 22 years. He is the perfect person to continue guiding this company forward in the decades to come. Mike and I have learned a lot from one another over time and share a common mindset when it comes to the value this company can bring to its policyholders. I thank those of you who have helped create this wonderful story and I promise you that MEMIC’s best years lie ahead with the leadership that Mike now rightfully inherits!
John T. Leonard, President and CEO