On September 1, 2015 KEMI celebrated twenty years of “making workers’ comp work” for Kentucky businesses.
KEMI employees volunteered extensively throughout the community thanks in part to the KEMI Volunteer Hours program which provides each employee with paid leave to serve local charities. In 2015, 146 KEMI employees served 1,519 hours with 71 charitable organizations in our community.
Roger J. Fries, a highly respected veteran in the workers’ compensation insurance industry, announced his retirement from his current position as President and CEO of Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) after 17 years leading the organization.
In December 2012, the Board of Directors for KEMI announced the selection of Jon E. Stewart as the next President & CEO of KEMI.
Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance hosted its annual KEMI Mine Safety & Training Competition in Pikeville, Kentucky on July 12-14, 2011. The event was free of charge for all coal companies to attend and featured more than 500 coal miners competing in events for Mine Rescue, Pre-Shift, Bench and First-Aid.
Over 50 coal companies from Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia were in attendance, and more than 200 officials from the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) and the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL) served as judges for the three-day safety training event.
In only its fourth year, the KEMI Mine Safety & Training Competition grew to be the largest annual mine safety event in the nation, rivaling the National competition which takes place every two years.
Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) was honored by Business Insurance magazine and the Best Companies Group as a first-place winner in the 2010 Best Places to Work in Insurance competition. KEMI ranked highest amongst other small-sized property and casualty insurers from across the nation. The selection was based on an in-depth analysis of KEMI’s leadership, business practices, corporate culture, workplace benefits, employee engagement and satisfaction.
Additionally in 2010, KEMI was named to the prestigious list of Ward’s top 50 performing property and casualty insurers, was honored nationally with the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Workplace Flexibility, and received the 2010 We CARE Award by Republic Bank for service to the community.
The board of directors for Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) approved a total dividend of $30.8 million which impacted more than 66,000 employers. Although KEMI distributed more than $30 million in rate reductions over the previous three years, this marked the first time KEMI has issued a dividend payment to current and former policyholders in KEMI’s history.
KEMI announced a partnership with a national workers’ compensation insurer to provide “Other States” coverage to policyholders with secondary operations located outside Kentucky.
“Being able to provide our policyholders with an option to obtain other states coverage is a customer service benefit which allows them the security of knowing they will receive the same high quality service KEMI provides for all their Kentucky locations in every state in which they operate,” said Roger Fries, KEMI President & CEO.
KEMI was selected as one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky. The competition was managed by Best Companies Group. KEMI would also earn this recognition again in 2008 and 2010.
KEMI was recognized in a study of underwriting discipline conducted by National Underwriter, a property and casualty insurance publication. In an article titled “Walking the Walk on Underwriting Discipline,” KEMI was ranked No. 4 among the top 50 profit leaders and No. 3 among commercial lines insurance writers.
KEMI also received recognition from National Underwriter as one of the top 50 workers’ compensation insurance companies in 2007.
In May 2004, KEMI received the Top Business for Women Award from Women Leading Kentucky. The award recognized the state’s most noteworthy business giving economic and professional opportunities to women.
In March 2001, A.M. Best issued KEMI’s first financial strength rating, A- (Excellent), which would be one of the most significant events in KEMI’s first five years of business.
With the “Excellent” rating from A.M. Best, KEMI was keenly positioned to compete with the other insurance companies in the state to provide workers’ comp insurance for large, highly-respected Kentucky operations, many of which are restricted to obtain coverage from insurance carriers rated “A-” or better by A.M. Best.
After just three years in business, the state’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance revealed in their annual financial statement an underwriting gain of almost $500,000.
Underwriting gain or loss is just one measure of an insurance company’s financial condition and efficiency, but it’s a significant one,” said Roger Fries, President & CEO of KEMI. “There were some who said a few years ago that comp reform just couldn’t be done in Kentucky. If these trends continue, our policyholders will continue to reap the benefits.”
The 1997 KEMI annual statement also reported written premium of $58.5 million and invested assets of more than $92 million.
In the spring of 1996, KEMI repaid the $7 million start-up loan that was provided by the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Funding Commission. The loan was not due until 2001, however the early payment saved KEMI over $2.2 million in interest payments.
On January 4, 1995, Roger J. Fries was hired as the President & CEO of KEMI. By July of the same year, operating systems were in place, employee training was completed and customer service values were established. KEMI was fully operational and by August 1, the first applications for coverage were coming through the door. KEMI wrote it’s first policies on September 1, 1995.
Kentucky’s economy was booming but businesses were struggling to find a reliable source for their workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The “Pool” (also known as the “market of last resort”) offered nothing more than a certificate of insurance and guarantee of coverage to employers who were paying for workers’ compensation insurance, but there was no coordinated effort between the administrators of the program and its participants to address workplace safety concerns or manage the steady increase of claims due to the growing economy.