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Despite the softening of rates and the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the Insurance Journal reports that one Midwest-based workers’ compensation insurance provider that opened its doors just over three years ago reports that it not only has experienced significant growth during that time, it simultaneously has managed to maintain a loss ratio that is one of the lowest in the industry.

Since its launch in October 2017, Omaha National, based in Omaha, Nebraska, has gone from $0 to $100 million of in-force premium and grown from a six-person operation to one with more than 150 employees.

That brisk pace of growth is expected to continue, says Reagan Pufall, president and CEO of the managing general agent (MGA) / insurance carrier. The company will move into a new office building this summer “because we’ve run out of room where we are,” he said. “Five years from now, we expect to be well over $400 million in-force premium.”

Omaha National launched as an MGA with California as its initial target market. It is now offering coverage in 14 states and will continue to expand into other states, including New York this year, Pufall said. It also established Omaha National Insurance Co., which currently “acts as a reinsurer for a portion of the risk that we write. So even as an MGA, we are already on the risk, which is what we like.”

However, “the intention has always been to become a direct writer. And we’re now approaching the time when it looks like we will be able to initiate that transition to becoming a carrier,” he said.

A complementary division of the company is its payroll service. “It’s an optional part of what we offer. Any company that is insured by us, if they choose, they can also make use of us as their payroll service,” Pufall said.

Small- to mid-size companies operating in industries where employees work with their hands are Omaha National’s core customers – landscapers, framers, electricians, plumbers, parcel delivery services, for example. “We like to say that we insure the companies that build America,” Pufall said.

The falling rates in the workers’ compensation line are a challenge as they are for any insurer, Pufall said. “But we designed this company to prosper throughout the market cycle, in hard markets and soft markets. None of what we’re encountering or anything we see in the future causes us substantial concern. Of course, we will look forward to the day when the market cycle changes, and the rates are rising again. But until then, we’re doing just fine, even during this soft market.”