Since 1913, EMPLOYERS has been helping America’s small businesses with their workers’ compensation insurance needs. From our roots starting as the Nevada Insurance Fund to our coast to coast focus today, EMPLOYERS has a fascinating history. Let’s celebrate a century of EMPLOYERS’ legacy and America’s small businesses that we serve.
During the time of the industrial revolution, it was difficult for an injured worker to obtain compensation and medical treatment for workplace related injuries. Additionally, businesses were often subject to potentially devastating lawsuits. To address the concerns from businesses and to give employees the compensation they needed, workers’ compensation insurance was created in Europe.
In 1911, individual U.S. states began implementing laws requiring businesses to carry workers’ compensation coverage, Wisconsin being the first. Along with compensation and medical treatment for the employee, the new laws established limits on the obligations of businesses for workplace exposures, making costs more predictable and affordable. In 1913, Nevada started the Nevada Insurance Fund which was overseen by the Nevada Insurance Commission (NIC). As you will see, eventually the NIC evolved into EMPLOYERS.
Two years after self-insurance was legalized in Nevada, the Nevada Insurance Commission was transitioned into the State Industrial Insurance System (SIIS) which operated as the state-run workers’ compensation carrier. Throughout the 1980s, the system operated in a manner that suggested everything was working fine. Benefits were good, premiums stayed low, and claims were handled. That is until…
With benefits to workers being very generous and premiums kept inappropriately low, Nevada and the SIIS had a significant financial problem. When Governor Bob Miller came into office, Douglas D. Dirks (current CEO of EMPLOYERS) was hired as an outside contractor to analyze the system. He discovered that there was a $2.2 billion deficit – the edge of insolvency. Dirks was then appointed first as Chief Financial Officer and soon thereafter as General Manager of the fund. Over the next several years, Governor Miller and Dirks proposed and shepherded through the Nevada legislature a series of legal reforms designed to return the state fund to financial solvency.
As part of the reforms, in 1995 the Nevada legislature passed a bill to end the 86 year monopoly and to open the workers’ compensation market to competition with private insurance companies. The state had four years to prepare for the new competitive market. The market opened for business as planned on July 1, 1999, and over 250 insurance companies began writing workers’ compensation policies in Nevada on that day. Also in 1999, at the urging of then Governor Kenny Guinn, the Nevada legislature enacted legislation that ultimately transformed the state fund into a private mutual insurance company owned by its Nevada policyholders.
EMPLOYERS formed a wholly owned stock corporation incorporated in California known as Employers Compensation Insurance Company. EMPLOYERS continued its expansion efforts in July of 2002 with the acquisition of the renewal rights to the book of businesses for California-based Fremont Compensation Insurance Group. Through this purchase, EMPLOYERS doubled its premiums, doubled the number of employees and expanded into California, Idaho, Utah, Montana and Colorado.
In 2006 and 2007, EMPLOYERS continued its expansion by opening operations in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Oregon. With one product and one focus, the expertise EMPLOYERS had in writing workers’ compensation insurance was becoming known throughout the country.
In 2005, EMPLOYERS restructured into a mutual insurance holding company. In 2007, EMPLOYERS converted from a mutual insurance holding company (owned by its Nevada policyholders) to a stock corporation and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol EIG. As part of that conversion and IPO (Initial Public Offering), over $880 million in cash and stock was distributed to approximately 6,600 Nevada policyholders.
In 2008, EMPLOYERS acquired Florida based AmCOMP Incorporated. Through this acquisition, EMPLOYERS was able to expand into 17 states virtually overnight. EMPLOYERS became a coast-to-coast company, operating in 30 states plus the District of Columbia, and proving that it is truly America’s small business insurance specialist. In 2011, EMPLOYERS began writing business in New Jersey, bringing the total operating states to 31 plus the District of Columbia.
Today, EMPLOYERS is headquartered in Reno, NV and has several other offices throughout the country. EMPLOYERS is 100 years old and that means we understand the risks of workplace injury. We know how to help protect each insured business’ bottom line and help employees receive the medical care they need. Crafted to meet the needs of entrepreneurial business people, our value-added services like loss control support, anti-fraud and safety programs give our policyholders the services they need to help effectively insure and care for their businesses.
The discovery of germs lead to understanding the link between health and hygiene, which resulted in a greater emphasis being placed on cleanliness. This led to the rise of two popular hamburger chains—White Castle and White Tower. Their all-white interiors were meant to reassure customers that their food was prepared in a safe, modern, sterile environment.
With 150 million meals served per day at restaurants, the restaurant industry has become more regulated to improve cleanliness and reduce food-borne illnesses. Many health departments, from New York City to Los Angeles, are now requiring restaurants to publically display their letter grades from their health inspections to help inform customers about a restaurant’s sanitary condition. In 2010, the annual average expenditure for food away from home for Americans was $2,505, including $37 per week spent on going out to lunch.
In the early 1900s, cars were not yet mass produced. In fact, many automobiles still had wooden parts that had to be custom made by teams of skilled craftsmen using common woodworking tools.
With over a century of mass auto manufacturing behind us, there are more cars on the road than ever before, and more auto body repair shops are needed to fix them. In 2011, nearly 12 million vehicles were repaired in the approximately 45,000 auto body shops in the U.S.
The early 20th century saw the rise of the very first fashionistas. The must-have styles for women at the time were the ‘Belle Époque’—a complex outfit with an hourglass shape—and the S-bend silhouette, which used an S-bend corset—all designed to accentuate women’s figures.
These days, fashion makes for big business. The U.S. retail clothing industry includes about 100,000 stores with a combined annual revenue of approximately $150 billion. Trends for the upcoming seasons are debuted each fall and spring at Fashion Week events in New York City, Milan and Paris.
“Could I get a shave and a haircut…and could you fix my back?” In the early 20th century, barbers’ unions imposed scientific standards to the profession. This included the use of chemistry, biology, anatomy and the study of chiropractics for anyone who wanted to be a licensed barber.
Hair keeps growing, and so does the hair styling industry. Unlike in the past, hair stylists’ main focus is hair alone, not other services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 712,200 barbers, hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists in the U.S. (2010).
The modern dry cleaning industry was created by accident. Literally. The first dry cleaning solvent was kerosene, the cleaning power of which was discovered when someone knocked over a lamp onto a stained tablecloth. Gasoline-based solvents were used until the 1920s, when the first chlorine-based solvent was used.
The dry cleaning industry is now helping Americans keep not only their shirts clean, but the environment as well. Many of the 40,000 dry cleaners in the U.S. are implementing new environmentally friendly cleaning methods that are less dependent on potentially dangerous chemicals.
Cutting edge medicine? Not by today’s standards. In the early 20th century, surgery wasn’t yet the advanced, technologically driven field we know today. In 1913, the American College of Surgeons was founded, which ensured the skills and knowledge base of those who were practicing in the surgical field.
Schools weren’t originally free to all, or provided by the state. It wasn’t until the late 1700’s that states began requiring free public education for families that could not afford to pay for education. The idea that education is a state function is rooted in the colonial days.
Schools are a critical part of growing up in the U.S. as all states require children to attend school to prepare them for living and competing in the modern fast-paced domestic and global market places. New technologies have led to innovative ways to educate everyone.
In the early 20th century, the workplace was pretty much a boys’ club, especially in professional industries. Only about 19% of women of working age were a part of the labor force, with most holding agriculture or clerical jobs.
With the industrial revolution came the need to store more goods that were being manufactured, and thus warehouses expanded and grew to accommodate the output from the factories.
Warehouses are a critical industry that we all use, at least indirectly. The storage of goods is important in importing and exporting, for manufactures as well as for wholesalers and retailers. They are an integral part of finished and raw goods.
America has been on the forefront of the machine shop industry since our founding. Crafting metal into tools and parts and pieces, it’s a core strength that has helped America grow its industries. Drilling, milling, grinding, cutting and turning were the main methods used.
The concept is the same, but with great strides in new technology comes more advanced methods. Water jet cutting, laser cutting, electro chemical erosion, and electrical discharge machining are newer methods used in the modern machine shop.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that grocery store chains started to pop up around the country. Before that, goods were mostly purchased through independent specialty vendors like butchers, bakers, and produce vendors. Following the success of grocery stores, the supermarket was established in the 1930s where goods like food, clothing, and household items were all sold in a single store.
Grocery stores are all around us, usually near our homes, places of work, and along major roadways. Today we even have super supermarkets with electronics, furniture, and hardware. American’s also have access to grocery outlets.
Small businesses in America have been around for hundreds of years and continue to evolve each day. From soda shops to markets, diners to hardware stores, bakeries to offices, America was the land of opportunity.
America is still the land of opportunity. From bike shops to veterinarians, dry cleaners to jewelry stores, doctors' offices to machine shops, America is still a country of diverse people doing unique things, and EMPLOYERS remains focused on keeping America’s Main Street businesses not only working, but working safely.
© 2013 EMPLOYERS. All rights reserved.
EMPLOYERS® and America's small business insurance specialist® are registered trademarks of Employers Insurance Company of Nevada. Insurance is offered through Employers Compensation Insurance Company, Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Preferred Insurance Company, and Employers Assurance Company. Not all insurers do business in all jurisdictions. A forward-looking statements disclaimer is an integral part of this website.